Chris Mason is best known for his role on Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists. (Check out our interview with him from last year here.) Now, he can be seen opposite Camila Mendes on season 5 of Riverdale. Chris plays Veronica’s husband Chad Gekko who works on Wall Street. YEM spoke with Chris Mason about joining the already established show and what it was like working with Camila Mendes.
Young Entertainment Mag: It’s been about a year since we last spoke with you during your role on Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists. Now you’re on Riverdale – you have a great track record when it comes to murder mystery series! What do you like most about this genre?
Chris Mason: A lot of interesting characters come out of that genre. I also did a show called Broadchurch in the UK which is a crime-based mystery. A little higher on the reality-drama side. I think we all watch a lot of true crime documentaries now. Netflix is full of them, every streaming service has got them. And I think there’s a reason for that. Humans in general are interested in why some people do things different and why people think differently. And I think the good thing about these shows is that whether it be a murder or someone doing something behind people’s backs, we watch it with intrigue. It’s something a lot of us don’t quite understand and we want to. So there’s a lot of fun in researching those characters and finding what it is that ails them.
YEM: Has playing several roles in this genre helped expand your capabilities as an actor?
Chris: Yeah, the one certain thing that sticks out is the mystery that even the actors have. You have to approach these as if you’re innocent but deep down as if you’re guilty whether you know it or not. Sometimes we don’t get the scripts too far in advance so we don’t know what our character’s endgame is. And we won’t know what our character is plotting completely. But sometimes that can help. You always have to play it as honestly as you can in the moment and trust that the storytellers are doing their job in making it all fit together in the end.
YEM: We just met your character Chad on the most recent episode of Riverdale. Will we be seeing more of him?
Chris: There will definitely be more of Chad. He will be making a trip to Riverdale. Which will definitely bring a few interesting interactions. It’s all very exciting so far.
YEM: What kind of guy is Chad? What makes him a solid match for Veronica?
Chris: Chad and Veronica met on Wall Street. Veronica is a very strong headed woman who was known as the “She-Wolf of Wall Street.” She was dominant and I think that’s what attracted Chad to her. I think they both had this powerful Wall Street power-couple feel. But when we meet them this season, things are a little frayed. They had a serious accident that happened and that tested their relationship. That’s where we meet them.
YEM: Chad told Veronica how the accident affected him. Will we see how the accident affected her as well?
Chris: I think so. I think what we’ll see more of is how it’s played on Chad’s mind and how his insecurity has doubled and tripled since that moment for one reason or another. I think we’re going to see him ramp up his over doubting husband role through his own insecurities.
YEM: The viewers know Veronica’s backstory in Riverdale. Will we learn more about Chad’s upbringing?
Chris: I think we’ll spend a lot more time on their relationship now instead of Chad’s past. People will piece together Chad’s past as the season goes along. But we’ll see a lot more into their relationship and the last few years that they’ve known each other.
YEM: Do you have your own backstory about Chad’s upbringing?
Chris: I definitely do. He’s working Wall Street, I have a vague idea of what it takes to be someone like that. I feel like he comes from a family that works in that field. Therefore he probably grew up in and around the city of New York, summers in the Hamptons. He’s probably used to a very opulent lifestyle growing up. And that definitely affects a person in a certain way. We’ll see things like that come out once he gets to Riverdale.
YEM: We see Chad give Veronica a Fabergé egg as a gift, and that makes her think of her turbulent past with her father. But she accepts the gift from Chad before trying to get rid of it. Does that mean Chad doesn’t know about Veronica’s past in Riverdale? Has she been hiding details of her past from him?
Chris: I think that’s definitely the case. He knows the Veronica he met on Wall Street. I think he knows some bullet points of Veronica’s past but… let’s put it this way – Chad hasn’t had the benefit of watching all the seasons of Riverdale. I think there’s definitely things Veronica doesn’t want him to know and has kept from him. There are definitely things for him to find out.
YEM: All of your scenes so far have been with Veronica. So, what is it like working with Camila Mendes? How did you two establish that chemistry so quickly?
Chris: It’s been great! The majority of my scenes are with Camila and she made it real easy for me. You know, it can be a strange thing for an actor to show up on a show that’s already so established. These guys have been doing it for five years now and they know their roles inside out. The crew is the same crew, so sometimes you can come in and it could be hard to establish yourself.
I was lucky that we had some really juicy, meaty scenes to get into. And I think it was exciting for Camila. Since there was the time jump, there was an energy to her where she was thinking about her character in a different light. She was really hospitable to me. We got along really well, we had a good laugh on set. And she’s made it really easy for me to come in and to do my work as best as possible. Hopefully the chemistry shows and comes across well on screen.
YEM: Chad made it clear that he really wants to start a family. But Veronica isn’t ready to have kids yet. Will we see more of that topic come up as the season goes on?
Chris: I think for Chad, it’s less so about the actual hammock of a family. Maybe Chad feels a little threatened by her. She’s ambitious and he’s kind of looking after his own ego. And that’s what brings attention to their marriage. She’s a powerhouse and he wants to reign her and have a little more control over her. His insecurities come from a certain place. I think eventually we’ll find out where that place is.
YEM: Can you give us a tease of what we can expect in the next episode? Last week we saw Veronica go back to Riverdale, but Chad stayed in New York. Will we see more of Chad soon?
Chris: Yes, Veronica has gone to Riverdale and Chad is a little put out by that decision. I think things are going to come to a head when Veronica realizes that Chad is having her followed. That obviously isn’t a great move from Chad. Veronica doesn’t take that too well. In terms of the future, we’re going to see things get more tense between them. As I said, Chad’s going to come to Riverdale so we’ll see when he gets to meet Archie, which will be the more interesting interaction of all the people he gets to meet.
YEM: During these times, so many productions have shut down but luckily Riverdale is still being filmed. As an actor, how have you kept up your craft while so many productions have had to shut down? What would you recommend to other actors who may be out of work but want to keep up with their craft?
Chris: It’s been a very difficult time for everyone. First and foremost, I’m hugely grateful to Roberto (Aguirre-Sacasa, creator of Riverdale) and everyone at Riverdale for letting me have a job. I realize how rare these jobs are to come by right now for actors. I think for me, it was about being as creative as possible. Especially during the height of the pandemic when everyone was at home and itching to do something and there’s no work out there to do so you have to get creative.
I’m lucky I have an interest in writing so I kind of took up a little bit more of that and be busy doing my own things and staying active. And then when Riverdale came along I was very lucky obviously to have a job at all and very grateful. You come out and do the quarantine in Vancouver for two weeks in your hotel and then once you’re out you have to keep yourself as quarantined as possible just to make sure you don’t catch anything and bring it to set. We get tested three times a week, maybe more if we’re doing intimate scenes.
But I have to give a big hand to the crew. Everyone has been really professional and really looked after themselves. Its a very strange thing – I’ve met all of the crew and I know their names but I’ve never seen them without masks! But everyone has been really great and accommodating. But its’ tough on the cast and crew. they have to work long hours and then go home and stay home. They’re minimizing their contact with other people. It’s a strange situation but they’re doing very well.
And the longer this goes on, the more productions will get back to work. Riverdale has proven if you follow the protocols, it works. They haven’t really had any stops (in production) since I’ve been there. I think productions will start to realize how it has to be done at least over the next year. And hopefully more things will get made because actors want to be creative, writers want to be creative, producers want to produce. Everyone wants to be working. And hopefully this leads to an influx of work over the next couple years for every body.