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KJ Apa: ‘Riverdale’s COVID kissing protocol is intense’

The stars of Riverdale are taking no chances when it comes to filming kissing scenes amid the COVID-19 pandemic – the actors must rinse their mouths for a full minute before each take.

Actor KJ Apa has been filming season five of The CW series in Canada since production resumed in October (2020), following a coronavirus-related shutdown in September, and there are extra safety precautions in place when the castmembers have to lock lips onscreen.

“They have us come to set a little early,” he tells America’s Live with Kelly and Ryan, “and we have to rinse our mouths for one minute. There’s a guy standing there with a timer, counting down 60 seconds, and we have to rinse our mouths out for 60 seconds before the scene, before every take…”

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“It’s Listerine,” KJ adds, naming the mouthwash brand, and explaining that the routine “kills all the germs in your mouth”.

He’s not entirely convinced the extreme measures are really keeping him and his pals protected at work, though.

“In my mind, I’m like, by the time you’ve got your tongue in someone’s mouth, I’m not sure it even matters to be honest,” he shares.

But he admits life on set is a little sweeter thanks to the special safeguards.

“I mean, everyone’s got great breath,” he laughs.

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