NOC Interview: Michael Consuelos on Telling Young Hiram Lodge’s Story on ‘Riverdale’

Michael Consuelos returns as Young Hiram Lodge in “Chapter Eighty-Eight: Citizen Lodge.” Riverdale is based on the characters from Archie Comics. New episodes of the hit series will continue airing on Wednesdays at 8PM ET on The CW. The show has already been renewed for a sixth season as well. This interview will discuss spoilers for episode 5×12.

MICHAEL CONSUELOS GUEST STARS AS YOUNG HIRAM LODGE — Hiram (Mark Consuelos) shares with Reggie (Charles Melton) his origin story and how he went from a young Jaime Luna (guest star Michael Consuelos) to the powerful kingpin of Riverdale. Elsewhere, Reggie reflects on his relationship with his father.

I had the pleasure of speaking with the actor about first getting the role of young Hiram, working alongside his father, the episode’s theme of family, which Riverdale storyline he thinks is the craziest, what he kept from set after wrapping, giving Riverdale‘s villain an origin story, and much more. Keep reading to find out what he shared!

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So, I want to go back a little bit to when you first got the role of young Hiram in The Midnight Club. What was your reaction?
It was a real trip. I didn’t know what to expect. I mean, I had met everyone, so I wasn’t nervous about like working with them, but it was my first time doing something like this and it left me ravenous for more. A few years later, I got finally got my second taste and I was really ready for that. It was awesome.

Seeing you take on the role this time was even more fun, at least for me as a viewer, because we saw you wok alongside your father; you and Mark really dove into the story and brought it to life. So, how did you first feel when you found out that you were not only going to be doing that, but also giving Riverdale‘s main villain his origin story?
A dream come true. I’ve always enjoyed villains in comics, video games, television, and movies. This is like a dream come true in so many ways because not only am I getting a chance to play one, but he gets an origin story, which everyone enjoys. It was really cool to get inside this guy’s head and see how he became the way he is.

What was it like to create that with your dad? Because you’re both getting to play the same character, just at different points of his life. So, it was really cool to see you do that together for this episode.
I mean, it was so cool. I can’t state enough how awesome it was to work with my dad, but there was a really great foundation already there, because we know how Hiram is, we know what point B is. The real fun was creating who he was at point A and he was similar to Archie, I think. He’s very Archie-ish at the start. It’s kind of cool because it’s just interesting seeing how the villain and the hero are similar in a lot of ways and we had a lot of fun working it out and seeing how he was going to become this guy. The script gave me so much to work with.

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When you first read the script and found out the full storyline, what was your favorite part and which aspect were you most excited to do?
Yeah, I mean, it’s such a fun tale as old as time; the guy who wants everything and basically gives everything he had for what he gets and then wonders if it’s even worth it at the end. It was really cool to just spiral, becoming this hardened gangster — at least he thinks he is — but he’s way in over his head at the start. For me, I think that big shootout was really, really, really fun to shoot and the argument with Javier was really tough. It was a really tough scene to shoot because Hiram doesn’t mean anything he’s saying to his dad and, honestly, it was good to perform that because I didn’t mean anything. It’s hard to say that stuff to your dad.

I also have to compliment you and Camila Mendes. You two did such a great job of bringing Hiram and Hermione’s story to life. We, obviously, know where that ends up, but what was it like creating that dynamic?
It was so sweet cause seeing how good everything was and how Hiram — because we usually see Hiram in this position of control and he holds his cards close to the chest, but seeing him sort of smitten and head over heels in like puppy love, it’s kind of adorable. Also, how she’s willing to back him up, like she goes to Vito to help bail him out of jail. It’s cool how into it they are at the start, it’s really sweet and kind of tragic that things ended up the way they do.

Riverdale never fails to deliver the craziness. So, do you watch the show and try to keep up with it or does your father fill you in on what’s happening? What’s the craziest plot that you’ve either seen or heard about from the show?
It’s one of those things where I watch when my mom has it on, because my dad’s away in Vancouver and we’re like, “Let’s see what Dad’s up to and what trouble he’s causing in Riverdale.” I mean, I still think the Gargoyle King, because I remember my first few days on set was the scene where they’re all tripping out. I’m getting ready for my position and when I turned the corner, I see the guy in costume and it was scary, because the guy’s giant and I think that’s some wild stuff. Also, something about aliens now, right? I mean, that’s bonkers, I never saw that happening.

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Yeah, we’re getting into The Mothmen in season five and they’re kind of like Riverdale’s aliens, I think? Not sure where it’s going yet, but I love the fact that you know about it.
Amazing. It’s so cool. It always keeps it interesting, I think. Riverdale never disappoints.

I also love the fact that the Gargoyle King was your first exposure and kind of welcome when you first came on the show.
Yeah, I’m feeling cool about myself, got my Hiram gear on, getting into character, I turn the corner, and this giant, bony freak is just standing there. I was pretty shocked.

Is there anyone on the show that you would like to work with more and create a new dynamic for young Hiram if the show does another flashback episode in the future? Because if they do, we want you back on our on screens.
Oh, man, I don’t want to get greedy here. I mean, obviously, I’ll come back if they do another one, it was a real treat. If they do another one, I would love to see Hiram and Fred interact, because the first few seasons paint them as rivals and we see a little bit in this episode when Marty is bullying Hiram, Fred kind of stands up for him. So, I would love to see where that relationship went, if they were friends at some point, and how it changed because there was the sort of dynamic with Fred and Hermione as well as Hiram and Hermione, but we never see Hiram and Fred interact. That would be cool to explore, I think.

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Have you gotten to watch the full episode yet?
No, as of this interview, I’m still waiting to see the finished version tonight. I can’t wait to see it. My whole family’s here, we’re gonna be watching together and it’ll be super fun, like a family screening.

Obviously, the father/son theme is so heavy in the episode with Hiram and his father, but also with Reggie and his father, which was such a beautiful tie in. Is there a message you hope it gives to any fathers and sons who are maybe watching together or just families in general?
I mean, yeah, it really is a tragic episode, because I think, very important, it’s treasure your family. Hiram gives up literally everything for something that I think he didn’t even really want. I mean, obviously, he wanted Hermione, but he didn’t need to be what he became and I think it haunts him. I think that’s a great deal of why he is the way he. Just treasure your family and that’s important. I think that’s the core of this episode.

Even though you haven’t gotten to watch the full episode yet, you read the script, so I wanted to ask you, what was your reaction to that end scene with Hiram watching Hermione and Veronica on Housewives and basically saying he wants his family back? Do you think this is the start of a real change considering he did just let Reggie go or is it just setting up for another one of his plans?
You know, Hiram’s always thinking about — he’s a schemer. I think he truly wants his family back, I think that’s a step in the right direction. He killed Vito and I don’t think he felt any better afterwards. I think there’s still a hole there and if he decides to go the right way about fixing that or the Hiram way, we’ll see. I don’t know anything. My dad is a vault with secrets. I don’t know anything that comes up next, your guess is as good as mine.

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When you look back at the experience, does one moment sort of stand out to you in regards to filming the episode?
I love gangster movies, crime movies and it was funny, the guy that played Vito, Louis, he and my dad worked together ages ago, so I knew him. There’s three of us that kind of worked on the dynamic because they’re both dads — Hiram’s got two dads– and they both want what’s best for him. So, I think really my favorite scene or at least one of them was the scene where they first meet Vito because I got to work with my dad and Louis. It was a great time.

That scene was definitely a standout. Did you feel like there were any particular challenges with this storyline and it being such a deep, meaningful, plot heavy episode rather than the usual Riverdale twists and turns?
We worked really hard on it and I put in the hours. One thing that is a challenge for me, as an actor, especially with this character, is even when Hiram is a dork, he’s someone who’s firm. He knows what he’s talking about and he says everything with confidence. That’s something that I have to work on. I’ll be honest here, like I’m not the most confident guy in the world. So, really working on my voice was the challenge, to make sure that I was true to the character, even at that stage in his life, someone who is willing to fight for what he believes in and I think I did a decent job.

Did you get to take anything from set? If not, was there anything you would have liked to have taken?
Well, here’s the thing, one thing was actually given to me and my dad. There was a framed photo of Hiram and Javier in a happier time, in their house, and when I wrapped, they gave it to me. So, that’s hanging up in our house and I’ll treasure it. But, on the less wholesome side, Pop’s has those disposable cups with the logo on it and I might have snagged one of those. I figured no one would miss it, it was in the trash.

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I would have wanted to keep the wardrobe, it was awesome.
They fitted this custom made, almost purple-ish, leather coat that Hiram wears when he’s like, “I’m a bad boy.” They had it custom made and I wanted it, but the performance was enough. If I ever come back, I’ll wear it again.

What was it like filming the episode during COVID?
I mean, honestly, the weird thing was the quarantine. I had two weeks of quarantine before I started, but when I got on set, they was so professional about it, you could hardly tell there was a pandemic. Everything was still well organized, taken care of, and there were so many set safety protocols. Honestly, everything was handled there, they have my props for that.

If you could create your own tagline for this episode, what would you make it?
From fizzle rocks to riches.