There’s no sugar-coating it: Riverdale's Hiram Lodge is one mean mofo. As played by Mark Consuelos, he’s a charismatic multi-billionaire and the CEO/president of Lodge Industries. To the general public, he’s a saintly pillar of the community. However, Hiram is actually a crime lord with dealings in the mafia and drug trade. Furthermore, he excels at scheming, intimidating, and pulling people’s strings. In other words, do not get on his bad side... as Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) has unfortunately discovered.
Hiram disapproves of Archie dating his daughter Veronica, and that’s put the two at odds. Hiram consequently framed Archie for murder, imprisoned him, and then ordered him to be killed. As if all that weren't enough, some viewers have pegged him as the ominous Gargoyle King, an imposing creature responsible for a series of mysterious deaths across town.
During a Riverdale set visit last month, Consuelos spoke to SYFY WIRE and other members of the press about Hiram’s hatred for Archie, his power struggle with Hermione, whether Hiram is the Gargoyle King, and why Riverdale has become a family affair.
Do you believe Hiram has any redeeming qualities?
He really, really cares about his daughter. He has a very strange way of going about it, but he really cares about her. I think you’ll see along the way that he is trying to set her up to succeed, even though it might equal failure, but he’s getting Veronica to prove herself in many ways. I think that he realizes that, whether she likes it or not, she’s very much like him.
He also has really good suits.
Does Hiram find out about Veronica and Archie's break up? How does he feel about it?
He loves it. Archie left Veronica alone. He abandoned her. What could be better than that? I guess him finding Archie and taking care of him would be better. And Hiram capitalizes on the fact that she’s so upset. So, there’s a lot of fun stuff, really fun stuff, coming up in the next few episodes.
Hiram is getting a mistress played by your real-world wife Kelly Ripa. What's that like?
Aw, man. I’m very excited about that. Kelly said, “Are you sure? You should have a really young…” I’m like, “No, you are perfect.” But she was joking.
I’m really excited about her coming on the show and she’s great. She’s always great to work with. It’s been quite a while since we’ve had a chance to work together, but I’m looking forward to it.
After Archie escapes, we sort of see Hermione step up to Hiram and Veronica. Are we going to see her be a little more assertive with Hiram?
Yeah, I think that he knows exactly who she is. When he was in prison, she had an affair with another guy. I think he’s calculating… very, very, calculating. He’s a Machiavellian guy. And I think the best scenes are yet to come. There’s a little bit of a push back.
I love working with Marisol [Nichols]. She’s fantastic. She’s so good. Such a treat to work with. I do think the dynamic has become very interesting between them.
The two most recent episodes really paint Hiram as the Gargoyle King. Do you have any idea about the Gargoyle King’s identity and do you believe it could be Hiram?
On this show, you never know. The only thing I figured out last year when I read the episode of the FBI agent coming to town to follow Archie, I was like, “I know that’s not a real FBI agent. She’s working for me.” And [showrunner] Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa was like, “You’re not that smart. You don’t know anything.”
So, no, we don’t know anything on this show. We’re literally figuring it out, script to script.
Do you think it could be Hiram now?
It could be anybody. It could be anybody. I love the fact that it flashes back to the '90s, which is such a compliment because all of us were in the '80s when we were in high school. I think that page, sort of going back to that time period, really opens up a lot. There’s a lot of suspects. So, I still don’t know.
Hiram has done a lot to get Archie out of his way. He brought him into the mafia. He’s framed Archie for murder. Hiram physically wrestled him. Is there a length Hiram won’t go to just to get rid of the pest that is Archie Andrews?
He represents a lot to Hiram. I think he probably represents a threat to him, who did a lot, as far as he’s concerned, while he was in prison. That really hasn’t been figured out, so maybe there’s a little bit of that. I think he will go to any length. I mean, it gets darker. It gets really, really dark. It’s going to be interesting to see how these guys can co-exist in the same town, so again there’s a lot of real estate.
It seems like you and the young cast of the show are close off-screen. Does that change how you get into being the villain around them?
No, it makes it so much fun. We laugh so much. I mean, the stuff is pretty heavy sometimes, especially the stuff with KJ and me, there’s some really heavy stuff. We have to sometimes stop and go, “That’s really funny,” because we’re such good friends.
What’s Hiram’s take on Gryphons and Gargoyles in the present day? It’s kind of infiltrated prison and he had some control there.
That’s yet to be revealed and it’s super interesting.
Obviously, it’s a way of controlling. I think anything he does is a way of controlling the outcome for him. I remember talking to a reporter about that and we were talking about Dungeons & Dragons. He looked at me and goes, “You played Dungeons & Dragons?” And I go, “I did.” He goes, “Really?” I go, “I did.” Then, video games came out and nobody plays that stuff as much anymore.
Might we see your son on the show again playing a young Hiram?
Funny you mentioned that. I don’t know. I haven’t been spoken to about any plans for that, but my son does check in from time to time and he says, “How are things going up there? Because we have a lot at stake here." I go, “What’s this ‘we’ stuff?” He goes, “I want to come back.” I go, “OK.”
He says it really funny, but he loved it. I would love to see him come back. It was such a thrill.