Barbara Wallace, who plays Nana Rose since season 1 of Riverdale, discussed her not-so-innocent character and gave us an inside look on the show!
We at Survived The Shows had the great pleasure of discussing Nana Rose ‘s journey on Riverdale with actress Barbara Wallace!
What’s the main element in the character of Nana Rose and the show in general that fascinates you the most and drew you to join Riverdale?
BARBARA WALLACE: Well, I have absolutely no idea, and it would turn into such a lengthy thing. They said recurring role, which I thought would be maybe 2-3-4 episodes. And here I am. I think we’ve filmed 43 episodes so far, so that was wonderful. But to me, for an actor of my age, there aren’t very many parts that have got much depths. They tend to sort of ‘Granny wanders in and Granny wanders out’. So this has been extremely rewarding and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.
You’ve starred in Riverdale since the first season. What’s your favorite season, or your favorite storyline?
Well, there have been several. Because I get a lot of scenes where I have no dialogue or very little dialogue, I love it when I go get what I call a “zinger”, a one-liner, which surprises everyone because they didn’t think Rose would come out with that. But I do admit the very first scene I ever shot in season 1. I think that was my favorite because it established her as this creepy old lady and that she’s not as dim as some people would like to think. I think she’s still got quite a lot going on up here and has a lot more surprises in store.
Which was the most fun scene for you to film?
Oh, goodness. I think there was a scene – I think it was 503 or something – where she’s been isolated by her evil daughter-in-law Penelope, and decide she has to call for the phone and so they wanted to give me a stunt double which was very nice of them and I said ‘no, I want to do it myself’, and so I did this marine crawl. I thought that was a lot of fun.
Riverdale recently embraced its supernatural side once and for all. What do you think about this twist? Did you see it coming?
Oh yes, I think Nana Rose is properly manipulating a lot more than they’ve given her credit for. So hopefully maybe I’ll come into my own in season 7. Cheryl keeps saying, ‘I’m demented’, and ‘I’m senile’. But I think she only chooses to be a bit loopy when she feels like it. I think she’s still very much with the program, and so I very much look forward to getting some twists and turns and being evil, I like being evil.
Considering Nana Rose has always practiced witchcraft even before the show embraced the supernatural, will your character have any power? If so, what can you tease?
Oh yes, I think basically I’m running the whole show. I would like to. So I want to have a big comeback and seek my revenge on all the people who have wronged or dismissed me. We will have to see, fingers crossed!
If Jason wasn’t dead, do you think he’d be playing with magic too, or do you think this is a specific trait of the Blossom women?
I think it seems to be more the women. Jason was really, you know, faded out in season one. He’s come back a few times, but they haven’t really fleshed him out a lot. So I think it’s the ladies who’ve got the control here.
Most of your character’ scenes are with Cheryl. How is it like to work with Madelaine Petsch?
Oh, it’s great. She is a total professional. She’s always very well prepared. She has a lot of scenes and a lot of dialogue and she’s always right on top of it, so she’s a pleasure to work with.
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Talking about the environment on set, how can you describe your experience with the cast and crew while filming Riverdale and with whom did you grow stronger friendships?
First of all, everyone has been absolutely wonderful to me. I’m probably the oldest actor. Well, definitely the oldest actor in the cast as far as I’m aware, and they treat me really, really well. My vision isn’t that great, so they walk me around on the set where I could be tripping over cables and things.
But because my scenes are quite isolated, I don’t spend a lot of time with most of the other cast. So I think my friendships such as I have formed are largely with my makeup lady, my hair lady and my favorite driver because I get to spend an hour or so with them on each day of shooting and we have time to relax and chat and get to know each other.
If you could choose one character on Riverdale, apart from Nana Rose, that you would have loved to play, which one would it be?
Well, obviously since I’m so much older than the rest of the cast, I don’t have options. But if age weren’t a factor, I would love to do Penelope because she has had such twists and turns and such evil angles gone off in strange directions. I like Natalie a lot anyway, and she’s such a great actress so if I could have stepped back in time I would have loved to have done Penelope. She’s very multifaceted, but she’s a wonderful person. I like her a lot and I wish we had some more scenes, but at the moment she’s out, but with the Blossoms, you never know who’s coming back.
Have you ever took anything from set? Any piece of costume to remember your experience as Nana Rose?
Yes, I have stolen one of the hair streaks. The red hair streaks that they put in each time. And in the first few seasons I had a contact lens which really bugged me and so I asked about her. ‘Could I have an eye patch?’ Which I did for one episode but it was very much. Too big, too black, too everything. So I did. I must confess that I took one of them. They got another one anyway, I’ve never used it, but I’ve got it.
We learned that season 7 will be the last season. Did you see it coming? Do you have anything you’d like to see before the show ends?
I don’t think it’s a surprise to many people that the 7th will be the last. I’m sorry to see it end, of course, but you know, nothing goes on forever. I’d be very interested to see what twists and turns they will come up with on the plot because we’ve gone through so many weird and wonderful things. I’m not quite sure what’s left, but I know they’ll come up with something.
One thing I would love to do before we finally wrap it up is I would like Nana Rose to whip up Aretta out from below her lap robe and shoot someone. I’ve asked for several seasons. We’re not upgrading my wheelchair, I want motorized power steering and I want to drink soda but I never get it.
We recently met Heather. Why is Nana Rosa so against this relationship? Why didn’t she want Cheryl to meet her?
Well. I don’t know how to answer that question because most of the things they’ve done with Heather have not yet been aired, so I haven’t seen them. I’m not very familiar with the relationship, so I can’t really answer that.
Are you a fan of Choni?
Initially not, but the character seems to warm to her, and obviously I want Cheryl to be happy. It’s a shame it didn’t work out on the longer term, but life goes on.
If you had to give an advice to young actors or people in general that wants to pursue an acting career, which kind of advice would you give them?
Well, I’ve been in community theater for years before I managed luckily to get into commercial work. So I would say a great training ground is community theatre because you will learn a lot and you cannot be discouraged by the total rejections. The best actor doesn’t always get apart. It may be a question of balance or timing, or who knows what, and so it’s just not a job for the thin skinned. Because I did, I think. 40 auditions last year: I got one. So if it is not an easy role, but if it’s something you love, keep trying and you will get something. And it’s hugely rewarding.
Watch the full interview above to discover more on what Barbara Wallace said, including more of her passion for acting.
We at Survived the Show are glad we got the chance to talk to Barbara Wallace and thank heronce again for her kindness and her time!
We hope you all enjoyed our interview with Barbara Wallace, aka Nana Rose on Riverdale!
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