INTERVIEW: Mark Consuelos Chats All Things ‘Riverdale,’ From Hiram, Veronica, Archie, Teasers, and Fans, to Self-Love, Family, His Love of Acting, and More
Riverdale’s favorite super-villain Hiram Lodge, may not be quite so sinister after all; well, in his mind anyway. Mark Consuelos has been thrilling fans with the complex role of the power-hungry father of Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes) on The CW’s hit drama Riverdale, and he’s sharing more on what makes Hiram tick.
Mark has been a staple of television, film, and theater and is best known for his role as Mateo Santos on the long-running soap series, All My Children, for which he received a Daytime Emmy Award nomination in 2002. In 2012 he took a different turn playing the dark role of Spivey, a patient at Briarcliff Manor, the mental institution at the center of American Horror Story: Asylum. Mark has also had roles in Ugly Betty, Guys with Kids, Pitch, Hope & Faith, Third Watch, American Family, Law & Order: SVU, The New Normal, and Friends. He also won ‘Choice TV Villain’ at the 2018 Teen Choice Awards for his role on Riverdale.
Consuelos starred in such films as the comedy Nine Lives, opposite Jennifer Garner and Christopher Walken; The Great Raid, co-starring Benjamin Bratt, and James Franco; Katie Holmes’ All We Had, and A Walk Among the Tombstones, opposite Liam Neeson. Other credits include My Super Ex-Girlfriend, opposite Uma Thurman, and Luke Wilson; Wedding Daze; and Cop Out, opposite Bruce Willis.
His stage work includes Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays, a collection of short plays on marriage equality, and off-Broadway productions of Boy’s Life, Orphans, One Shot, One Kill, and An Oak Tree.
Consuelos, and his wife Kelly Ripa, have been keeping very busy with the creation of Milojo Productions. Under Milojo, they have developed and produced for networks such as E!, VH1, Bravo, Logo, WeTV, CMT, HGTV, Discovery, and TLC. Milojo also produced the Emmy-nominated documentary The Streak for ESPN and Off the Rez for TLC, amongst many other projects. They have also worked on numerous web series, including YouTube’s AwesomenessTV’s Joffrey Elite, a docuseries that follows dancers’ lives at the Joffrey Ballet School.
Glitter chatted with Mark on how he got his start in acting, what attracted him to The CW’s series Riverdale, and an in-depth look at his role as Hiram Lodge, as well as what drives him to make not-so-great decisions. Conseulos also discussed his love for the show’s fans, what could be next for his character, and how his wife Kelly, and their children Michael, Lola, and Joaquin, were a shining light during the days of isolation during the global pandemic. Read on to find out more.
GLITTER: What first inspired you to pursue acting, and when did you realize your passion for it?
MARK: Great question. The first time I thought about acting as something that I wanted to do, was when I was in a movie theater with my dad. He took me to see a movie called Kramer vs. Kramer, with Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep and just a great cast. I fell in love with the idea; it showed New York in the ’70s. I was living in a small town in southern Illinois at the time. My world couldn’t have been any further away from what New York was being shown to be. Right? So I fell in love with New York. I fell in love with the idea of being able to make people forget what they were doing for a couple of hours. I was completely transported to this world of his father and his son and this relationship. That was the impetus for me. I always recalled that movie; I became such a fan of the craft of acting.
GLITTER: What originally attracted you to the Riverdale series.
MARK: Gosh, it’s been, I guess, four years now; I remember having a conversation with Roberto, the creator, and we talked about the character. I knew that it was surrounding the core of Archie and Veronica, Jughead, and Betty. I wanted to hear where Hiram fit into the picture. He essentially said, “You’re going to be causing trouble for everyone all the time.” (laughing) But you really, really, really love your family; like you really love your daughter and your wife. Everything that happens was born from a need to protect them. You just go about it in really, really the wrong way. I can totally relate. (laughing) So as a father, sometimes you do and say things, and you think they are coming from an intent that is good. But, you know, sometimes you mess up. So that’s relatable. It was mainly that conversation I had with Roberto prior to me starting the show or being part of the show. We just talked about the character. We talked about the clothes that he wore, you know—stuff like that.
GITTER: Do you think Hiram is the ultimate super-villain or is there someone else that’s worse out there?
MARK: Oh, um, let’s see. I don’t know. What do you think?
GLITTER: I think you do a pretty good job being the ultimate super-villain, but other people might have a different opinion. I think that Betty’s mom can be a little supervillain-ish, but that’s just my opinion. I don’t think she’s the ultimate super-villain.
MARK: I think on the show, I think there are some rivals for him being the worst, but I think he pretty much wins most of the time.
GLITTER: What do you think drives him on a daily basis?
MARK: I think that there are a few things. His love and protection of his family drives him. There are a few things that, you know, based on how he grew up; he definitely has a chip on his shoulder. I think that he never can stop moving or moving forward. I think when you think, doesn’t he have enough? He’s kind of like a shark that way, but if he stops, I think he thinks that he’ll die or drown. So it’s kind of a curse. He’s never just quite satisfied with what he has. He has to get more. In many ways, we know a lot of people like that. I mean, there’s always somebody in our life that has that characteristic. Sometimes you would wish or I would wish that he would just sit back, relax and enjoy the moments, but there’s something that is always driving him. There’s going to be some story-line coming up relatively soon, maybe after the midseason break. An episode that’s going to explain a lot more about what actually makes him tick, and it’s those types of stories and those types of scripts or episodes that are pretty important to a character like Hiram. I think you start wondering, like, “Why is he doing this?” “Why is he behaving this way?” Any time you take a closer look at, you know, why someone, whether you agree with them or not, you kind of take a look at the genesis of where they’re coming from. You don’t necessarily agree with it, but you can kind of understand, like, “Oh, OK, now this makes sense.” Now it doesn’t sound like it’s coming out of left field. Why does he have to go to that extreme? I think the episode that will be coming up, you’ll figure that out.
GLITTER: If you had to give Hiram one piece of advice, what would it be?
MARK: Mind your own business. (laughing)
GLITTER: Same. But then he wouldn’t be as interesting as a character; I feel like he gets his nose into the right type of business.
GLITTER: Why do you think Hiram dislikes Archie so much?
MARK: I think it’s kind of a love-hate thing with Archie; I think that he treats his daughter well and, you know, is true to her. I think he actually really, really likes Archie. There’s a point where, you know, Hiram meant for him to be the only man in her life in a kind of a territorial way. Right? The only man that could protect her; that could love her. That could take care of her. Obviously, when you have a daughter, you understand that’s not reality, that there’s going to be another guy that’s going to come in there and be the husband, and then you have to move over. It’s kind of like a territorial thing; you’re really protective over your daughter. I think that was the main issue that they always had in the beginning, but I think he saw a lot of good qualities in Archie. Obviously, the issue of him cheating on his daughter with Betty and he felt betrayed; even more betrayed than the way someone else would treat it because he’s so protective over Veronica. I think they’re on polar opposites of the moral spectrum, Archie and Hiram. At the same time, I think they understand each other, and there’s a sort of respect for each other. There was a period of time where he was grooming him to be his right hand.
GLITTER: What was it like working with your wife, Kelly Ripa, when she played Hiram’s mistress on the show?
MARK: It was great. We only got to shoot a couple of scenes where we were like a seen in the hallway. The shot was someone taking photos of us. So we didn’t have actual dialogue or scenes. I love working with my wife. She’s amazing. That’s how I started my career. I hope they bring her back. That was so cool.
GLITTER: So, are there any aspects of the entertainment industry you’d like to explore in the future?
MARK: I know I probably wouldn’t want to direct. I’ve toyed with the idea, and I watched the directors on our show do what they do. When they’re on set, I realized that that’s already so much from the beginning of the day to the end of the day. Everybody depends on you to tell them what’s happening. There is also so much preproduction that goes into an episode; a couple of weeks of that and then there’s also post-production. It’s a lot of work. So, I don’t think right now, at least directing, would be something I would be interested in doing. We have a production company, and we produce various projects, so I feel like I’ve got my hands in the other aspects enough to keep me occupied and interested. But right now, acting is probably the one thing that I enjoy the most and feel the most capable of.
GLITTER: Do you have any favorite or memorable fan interactions that have stuck with you?
MARK: You know, I can’t point out just one, but I would say that this show reminded me very much of the fans that we had for All My Children when I was on a soap; it’s kind of the same kind of fervor and passion and they really love the characters on the show; like they did on a soap opera. They really are invested in the couples and the relationships on the show. God forbid you to try to break up some couples. I’m like, whoa. When people would do that on Riverdale, the fans would react in a similar way. So I don’t know. I quite enjoyed it. That’s how I started my career, to do a show that the fans are so invested in a wide range of ages, obviously. So you can go anywhere. I was in Greece, or I was in France, or I was in Italy, and people were big fans of the show. So it’s nice to be part of something that has such an international reach, a global appeal. I think that’s the nicest thing. It reminded me of the time that I was on a soap.
GLITTER: What was what was one of the ways that you stayed centered during the pandemic in isolation?
MARK: Well, I had my adult children with me; one was graduating from college, one was a freshman in college, one was a junior in high school when this all started. Since then, the eldest has graduated, my middle child is a sophomore, and my youngest is a senior in high school. So we got to spend, I’d say the better part of nine months together, straight, where I don’t know when that’s ever going to happen again. Where your adult children kind of have to stay with you. We stayed in one place, and we lived together; it was great. I think the thing that kept me centered was the family time, knowing that there wasn’t so much of anything else to do anyway or so many distractions. Everybody was essentially doing the same thing. I really, really will look back on that time, and obviously, it’s a time that for the world and our society, it was a horrific thing, for the most part. I try to look at the silver linings, and a silver lining for me has been the time, the quality time I got to spend with my kids who aren’t kids anymore. They’re young adults, and I know that it’s not going to happen again. We got to really, really cherish and take advantage of that time that we had together. We’re coming off the other side of that now, and I know everything’s going to change. I’ve got my youngest, who is going to go off to college. My oldest has got his own apartment in Brooklyn. I’ll be seeing him sparingly. So to me, it was the time that we spent together as a family during this time of the pandemic.
GLITTER: Glitter has a celebrity self-love campaign. What does self-love mean to you?
MARK: I think self-love to me means being kind to yourself. When you mess up, don’t beat yourself up too badly because, typically, nobody else will pay that much attention to it. So, to kind of treat yourself with the advice that you give a friend.
GLITTER: Where is the best place for fans to keep up with you on socials?
MARK: Oh gosh, I’m not great at socials. (laughing) I don’t post very much. You know, every now and then, I’ll go on a tear, and I’ll post a couple of things a week on Instagram. But I’m not super, super connected to one social platform if I had to pick one, Instagram.