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May 22, 2017

From Ice to Nice

Maria Neuman
  • Udo Spreitzenbarth

At first, Mädchen Amick wasn’t sure about playing the overbearing, perfectionist mother Alice Cooper in the CW’s Riverdale, loosely based on the Archie comics.

But after an initial meeting with showrunner and chief creative officer of Archie Comics, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, she was sold.

“He mentioned wanting the character to be like Annette Bening in American Beauty,” says the actress, who left her Nevada home as a teenager to pursue acting. “I asked him to promise me that he would push the envelope, because the more we build her up as a bitch and villain, the farther we can make her fall.”

While the role may have little to do with the original character — in the comics, Alice Cooper is exceedingly nice — taking on iconic roles is nothing new to the actress. Prior to joining Riverdale (which has been renewed for season two), she was set to reprise the role of small- town waitress Shelly Johnson in Showtime’s remake of Twin Peaks, premiering May 21.

The reboot features many cast members from the 1990 original, along with co-creator–executive producers David Lynch and Mark Frost — even some of the original crew. But, much like the first, every element of this new production has been shrouded in secrecy; actors were only allowed on set on specific shoot days, to conceal certain plot twists and endings.

“We would go into David’s office and give our feedback, as well as ask questions,” Amick says. “Some he’d answer happily, while others he’d just remain tight-lipped.”

Amick has logged more than 25 years of credits since Lynch first cast her in the cult drama. How does she account for her longevity in a notoriously fickle business? “I’ve always been mindful of needing balance,” says the wife and mother of two. In fact, she recently started a blog on the subject.

“When I work, I work really hard,” she says, “but then I can come home and be a couch potato for a few weeks and recharge. I think that’s what’s kept me going.”

This article originally appeared in emmy magazine, Issue No. 4, 2017

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