I’m embarrassed to admit I’m late as hell to the Riverdale party, but I’m totally getting into it now. Better late than never, and I plan to start binge-watching past seasons as soon as time permits. For now, though, I plan to tune in at the very start of the highly anticipated Riverdale spin-off series, Katy Keene. Having seen the energized pilot of the show in a press screening, I was happy that I didn’t really need to know much about Riverdale to get to know the new characters of Katy Keene. It’s a fresh start, even though the shows are related.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing the show’s cast during BroadwayCon in New York City. I’m confident this show is going to find an audience among the LGBTQ community for a whole host of identifiable reasons to which we all can relate. I’ll delve more into that in another post and overall review of the show, but for now, I want to introduce you all to the new resident hunk of Katy Keene, the brooding model turned actor, Zane Holtz.
As a newcomer to the franchise, Holtz does not disappoint, adding to the list of male hotties that have become a signature trademark of the shows. Many of you will recognize Holtz from his supporting roles in the 2003’s Holes, or as Austin Tucker, superstar gymnast in Make It Or Break It. He’s also appeared in the El Rey Channe’s Dusk Til Dawn series and even Demi Lovato’s music video for Confident.
Now, Holtz joins Katy Keene as Keene’s romantic love interest, K.O. (Knock Out), who also happens to be a bouncer and aspiring boxer.
In-person during my interview with the cast, I found Holtz to be, of course, handsome, funny, and somewhat shy with a warm side that shows as he reflects on how the Archies comics were a huge part of his childhood, growing up in Canada.
I was curious to learn more about this charismatic actor who reminded me of a mix of Elvis and James Dean, reimagined as Jake Ryan from 16 Candles.
CA: Were you a fan of the Archies Comics before landing this role, or was it all new to you, and you had to go back and discover the so-called “Archie verse?”
ZH: I was a massive Archies comics fan as a kid, and I grew up in Vancouver, Canada, and John Goldwater, the head of Archies Comics, told me that for whatever reason, Canada is a massive market for Archie. They’re in every grocery store when you check out, and everywhere.
Actually, as a kid, my sister and I – we probably had about 400 to 500 of the comics. Still, I was not as familiar with the character of Katy Keene, who dates back to 1945 or so in the comic books. But then my Grandmother told me that she collected all the Katy Keene comic books when she was a kid. So (laughs) I have a whole lot of history there.
CA: Wow talk about coming full circle, that’s amazing. So without knowing a lot about that particular character though, how did you prepare for playing Katy’s boyfriend, KO, who seems to be a big intimidating guy physically but a gentle giant at the same time?
ZH: Well, when we were getting ready to do the pilot, I began doing more research for the show, and I looked up a lot of the old Katy Keene and KO comic books and I discovered KO is always stressed, and always sweating, cause you know, it’s hard to date Katy. Then I noticed too that KO is always giving the other boyfriends a black eye or something, (laughs) so, I don’t know …but I think he’s a good guy. I think our show does a fantastic job of bringing these characters to life.
CA: So I heard through the grapevine that a friend of yours gave you an originally signed illustration cell from the Archies Comics?
ZH: Yes! A good friend of mine is a huge comic book collector, and when he found out I landed the role of KO, she sent me an original, hand-drawn cell by Bill Woggon, and it dates back to 1955. I have it framed up on my wall. And it’s such a typical KO scenario, where he’s sweating and thinking about Katy while training with Gloria BUT somehow, also being chased by a bull (laughing). It’s totally fun!
CA: You grew up loving the Archies comics as a brand, and now you have an original piece of the comic art signed by Bill Woggon, and you’re starring as one of the iconic characters Woggon created. So, my gosh, what’s that like for you as an actor?
ZH: It’s funny. I remember hearing about the casting and pilot for the original Riverdale show, and I was a litter older than those characters who were all in high school, so I was like, aw man, that would have been fun. But, then this show came up a couple of years later, and now it’s worked out. So being a part of that whole universe is very rewarding. It’s a childhood dream come true.
Don’t miss the debut of CW’s Katy Keene on February 6, 2020. Check your local listing times.