The news of “Riverdale” star K.J. Apa’s early morning car accident after driving home from long hours on set has caused a stir in Hollywood over cast safety and it turns out the issue is nothing new.
In an appearance on Michael Rosebaum’s podcast Inside of You earlier this month, before Apa’s crash, “Smallville” actor Tom Welling talked to his fellow co-star about a very similar situation on set.
WBTV, which produces “Riverdale” and also produced “Smallville”, has a policy that actors are responsible for their own transportation to and from the set on international productions. Both shows filmed in Vancouver.
“All of us are driving an hour to the location at 4:30 in the morning with one eye open, and you’re in every scene,” Rosenbaum said to Welling on the podcast. “I think it got to a point where we all signed a letter for you because we were like ‘You’re going to kill Superman.'”
Welling responded that he was only made aware of the letter, by Rosenbaum and co-star John Schneider, after it had been written.
“Unbeknownst to me,” Welling explained, “because I was just told it was already done, but you all signed something, because we weren’t allowed to have drivers for some reason. But yeah, I was getting up at 4:30 [a.m.], driving an hour and a half, working an 18-hour day then driving back, sleeping five hours. And you guys were like, ‘Well, he’s gonna die. He’s gonna run into a tree and the show’s gonna be over.’”
Welling says the rest of the cast actually gave up their own rights to a driver in order to secure one for Welling. “So you guys kind of gave up, you waived your rights to ‘If one had a driver, everybody had a driver.’ So, I got a driver and it was a big difference,” he said.
“There was so much going on that early, and I had no idea what I was doing,” Welling continued. “There were things that happened on that show, and because I had zero experience, I just accepted them for reality. Whether it was the hours or the locations we were shooting in… and I remember you being like ‘Dude, it’s not supposed to be like this.'”
Warner Bros. disputed the claims surrounding Apa’s crash that the actor had worked 16 hours the day of the accident. In a statement, a studio spokesperson said, “On the day of the accident, KJ worked 14.2 hours. The previous day he worked 2.5 hours, and the day before that he worked 7.7 hours. KJ has repeatedly been informed about making production aware if he is tired or feels unsafe, and if so, either a ride or hotel room will be provided for him.”
The studio also clarified other details, explaining, “The accident occurred last Thursday. Additionally, it is untrue that KJ was taken to the hospital. He was treated by first responders on the scene and released by them. We also sent a doctor to his home later that same day for a follow-up to confirm his well-being.”