After four seasons portraying the cunning and crafty Hermione Lodge on CW’s hit teen drama “Riverdale,” Marisol Nichols is departing the series. Fans of the show are reeling about her impending exit. Lodge, who’s trapped in a complicated cycle of love and enmity with her onscreen family Mark Consuelos and Camila Mendes, should have tied up her story this spring.
But with COVID-19 halting production, Nichols is left wondering how her long run will wrap as she prepares to film the season finale. Still, the 46-year-old is ready to pave her next course. From trying her hand in the horror genre to continuing to lay a foundation for our future generation, Nichols has a lot on the horizon.
How do you think you’ll feel when filming those final scenes as Hermione? I loved that character and the duality she has going on. She’s constantly calculating and never knows where she stands with [husband] Hiram. Hermione has a quality of being able to hide her emotions and play her cards close to the vest. I’ve never played a character like her before. I hope [the writers] do her justice and explain where she’s going or why she’s leaving. I hope it’s not just a throwaway [ending].
You’ve mentioned you had a rebellious side growing up in Chicago. How has that influenced the characters you play? I think it comes in handy whenever I play a character who’s streetwise. Hermione is kind of streetwise but on a whole other economic level than I was. It helps with other characters I’m playing. There’s a certain toughness that goes along with having a really messed-up youth, to say the least. I’ve learned from those things and I carry it with me in who I am.
You’re starring in “Spiral,” the ninth installment in the “Saw” franchise. How is this a different role for you? I play a police captain, so it’s definitely more tough and street. There are not really two sides to her [like Hermione]. What you see is what you get, and I like playing a completely different character and showing fans that side of me. I don’t want to say it was a joy because that sounds weird when talking about a horror movie, but I really liked it. You think it’d be all doom and gloom and serious [on set] … but it’s not in the least. Everyone [including costars Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson] is laughing and joking around.
What roles would you still like to tackle in your career? I think I’m a better actor now than when I was younger. I’d like to play a really complicated role — like in a Jessica Chastain film where a woman is up against a giant [challenge] to overcome, like a big company she’s taking on or people trying to kill her. I want to play something like that, where you see how a woman can shine under pressure. I love those movies.
In a time of uncertainty, people tend to feel helpless. How do you stay involved and give back? [Celebrities] have a responsibility. We have a built-in audience. I began hearing about several million kids being sold into the child sex trade. … You can’t even wrap your head around it. I founded a nonprofit called Foundation for a Slavery Free World. I’ve met with the White House under President [Barack] Obama. That’s where my passion lies; that’s our future generation.
Stay up to date on the season finale of “Riverdale” at cwtv.com and follow “Spiral: From the Book of Saw” at @saw.
Photo by Michael Blank