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Camila Mendes: Upgraded

So, the actor who plays your character’s love interest, Will, is named “Archie” . . .

[Laughs] I know. It’s a funny coincidence. It’s like, “Of course. I can’t escape the Archies!” Luckily, I just kind of saw him as “Will” for that period of my life. That helped separate things a bit. 

As much as you can rehearse and prep, do you ever really know if that magic rom-com chemistry is going to be there before the cameras start rolling?

You don’t. That’s the scary thing. [But] if I feel like there isn’t chemistry, I trust my ability to create it as much as possible . . . I just have to charm. I have to flirt. I just gotta find the way in . . . But I’ve been very lucky to work with actors who I naturally have chemistry with, and who are very charming and have good banter.

Upgraded on Prime Video. Pictured: Lena Olin, Anthony Head, Camila Mendes, and Archie Renaux.
Prime Video

Throughout this film, Ana is chasing a professional dream that people tell her is crazy. As an actor, can you relate?

Absolutely. I feel very lucky that I have parents that are very supportive. But every time you meet somebody, they’re like, “Oh, you’re an ‘actor.’ How’s that going for you?” There was always a little bit of judgment and suspicion there. If anything, I think I really, truly did believe so much in the fact that I could do it; I had that belief in myself. So I just had to kind of hope and pray that it would happen for me — so I could prove everyone wrong [laughs].

You’re also a producer here. On that level, what’s the process like of taking the well-worn tropes of this genre and putting your own spin on them?

Rom-coms obviously have a predictability to them. We know, sort of, what’s going to happen, and we know what the tropes are. We brought on two writers to do a pass on the script that were the last people you would expect to write a rom-com. That was our secret sauce — Justin Matthews and Luke Spencer Roberts — two young men who don’t even really watch rom-coms. Christine Lenig was the original writer; she wrote the initial script, and it was more the traditional format of a rom-com. Then we brought [Matthews and Roberts] on to do their spin on it, and they gave it a new sense of humour that I really appreciated.

Looking back on Riverdale, do you ever miss that feeling of getting a script and knowing that anything could happen? There might be a serial killer, you all might be sent back to the 1950s . . .

Of course! That was the brilliant part about being on that show. I feel like I got to do a million different shows on that show, because you just never knew what you were going to get. But also, at a certain point, I felt like we really had done everything that we could possibly do. And I was ready to try other things.

On that note, in the aftermath of the show, have you ever felt the need to escape the shadow of Riverdale?

I’ve always tried to be really positive and grateful for my experience, because if it weren’t for Riverdale, I wouldn’t be where I am. You have to be thankful for the thing that took you to success, and Riverdale was that for me. It took my career to the next level. And I’m very proud of it. I think Riverdale was a great show. People love to criticize it, but honestly I think it’s one of those things where all those people that do criticize it will look back on it in 10 years and feel really nostalgic.

Upgraded, streaming on Prime Video


After graduating from NYU’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts in 2016, this Virginia native walked straight into the iconic role of Veronica Lodge on Riverdale — The CW’s dark, soapy reimagining of Archie Comics. She spent seven seasons on the B.C.-shot hit, along the way popping up in films like Palm Springs and Do Revenge.


In this Prime original rom-com, Mendes plays Ana, an intern at a New York art auction house who, on a work trip to London, meets-cute with a wealthy, dapper Brit (Archie Renaux), and winds up accidentally posing as her high-powered boss (Marisa Tomei). It’s a little white lie that quickly snowballs, leading to unexpected opportunities and complications.

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