KJ Apa is still processing Luke Perry’s death. In an interview with MR PORTER’s The Journal, the 22-year-old actor opens up about losing Perry, who died last year after a stroke. Perry played Apa’s father on Riverdale.
“Last year was probably the hardest year of my life,” Apa says. “It made me really think, ‘What kind of man do I want to be?’ And I’m still figuring it out.”
Perry’s death “changed everything” for Apa, who says that he “had never gone through anything like that before.”
“I’ve never lost anyone close to me, so it was a really hard time. It’s still hard,” he admits. “Going to work, I can just feel that he’s not there any more.”
Apa goes on to recall the “really, really, really good relationship” he had with Perry. “He was just kind of a guy that kept us, especially me, grounded because he’d been through all of this stuff,” he explains. “I was so blessed to have him in my life to say, ‘Maybe don’t do that,’ or, ‘This is a good idea.’ Just giving me advice.”
“I miss him,” Apa adds. “I just miss talking to him. I miss listening to him.”
One of the pieces of advice Perry imparted on Apa was about keeping his personal life out of the spotlight. “I think privacy is everything. I really do work hard on protecting my privacy, my home, my family, the people I love,” he says. “Luke taught me that.”
In terms of his career, Apa is set to star in I Still Believe, a role that he was “scared s**tless” to take on, due to the emotional stakes of the film, which revolves around a real-life Christian singer whose wife is dying.
“I’m just proud of myself for doing it and, watching it back, I feel proud of the work that I did,” he says.
As for what’s next for him, Apa says he plans to “just go with the flow.”
“I want to work on things that inspire me and that challenge me, but at the end of the day, I don’t really have a plan,” he says.
I Still Believe will hit theaters March 13.
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