weather icon Clear

Charles Melton talks about ‘The Sun Is Also a Star,’ ‘Riverdale’

Updated May 19, 2019 - 8:01 pm

He was walking through TSA when it happened. A 50-something white man stopped hunky, young actor Charles Melton and asked to take a selfie.

“He said, ‘You’re that “Riverdale” dude. Can I get a picture with you?’ ” the Korean American actor who plays Reggie recalled. “Soon, I’m putting my shoes back on and the same man comes up again to introduce me to his wife who is Filipino. Then he says, ‘This is our son, Justice.’

“His wife leans down to this 14-year-old kid and goes, ‘Look, Justice, he looks like you and you look like him. He’s doing big things … and so can you.’

“For me, that was a moment of being very proud of who I am,” said Melton. “I always tell kids that M&Ms are all different colors, but they’re still M&Ms.”

Melton stars in one of the most anticipated films of summer, “The Sun Is Also a Star,” based on the best-selling Young Adult book by Nicola Soon.

Review-Journal: Tell us your idea of a perfect Sunday.

Charles Melton: A perfect Sunday for me would be waking up without an alarm. Best day possible means the sun is out. Maybe I Facetime my mom and talk to her for a little bit. Then I’ll listen to music, drink a lot of water and some OJ. Above all, a beautiful Sunday is connecting with my family and loved ones. I’m really close with both of my parents. My mother is a Korean immigrant who came to this country with my father and (she was) pregnant with me. She was the first one I called when I was cast as Reggie on “Riverdale.” Mom went around her town of Manhattan, Kansas, and told everyone that I was going to be a hit on a hit show. She told people she never met in her life. She told the cashier at the local grocery store. She told strangers in the street. To this day, my mom will trap you and fill you in on everything I’m doing.

And your dad?

My father does his own thing. If you’re a fan coming up for a photo, he will literally trap you into watching the entire trailer for “The Sun Is Also a Star.” So, if you really want that selfie, you better have an extra five minutes.

In the movie, you play Korean American Daniel Bae who has a chance meeting with Natasha Kingsley (Yara Shahidi). You tell her: “What if I told you that I could get you to fall in love with me. Just give me an hour.” Bold!

It’s a romance that must happen against so many odds, with her family being deported the next day. So much of it is based on the idea of fate. The question is: Are you meant to be with someone despite everything? Despite all the odds, the script was very hopeful and very timely. It’s about destiny and this deep care people have for each other that transcends circumstances. Ultimately, it says that true love always conquers.

That’s a hopeful message in 2019.

We lived in jaded times. People can become jaded with love. I love how Daniel aspires to embrace love. There is no fear. He doesn’t guard his heart. He loves like it’s his last day and his last moment. It’s a very pure and honest look at love — and I aspire to be more like Daniel in my own personal life.

Do you believe in love at first sight?

I do believe you can fall in love in the snap of a finger. Blame the fact that my head is in the clouds. I’m a dreamer.

Aren’t your millions of fans one of the reasons you got this movie role?

The book’s author, Nicola, went online to ask her fans who should play Daniel. The fans suggested me as one of the top choices. Thank God for this day and age of social media. I woke up one day and I was being tagged by hundreds of people. I guess that was fate playing its own game. All I know is I ran out and bought the book that day and started reading.

How did you connect with the character?

I’m also first-generation Korean American on my mother’s side. He’s a poet. I’m an avid reader of poetry and I write poetry as well. I always have a little notebook on me and I write down goals. I write letters to people — real letters on paper. It’s not a text that’s so fleeting. There is something great about a real letter that you can keep. I also carry around a book of Maya Angelou’s poems and just randomly open it and read a poem or two when I have the time.

There was a time when you did not see a young Asian American man as the lead in a major studio summer release.

It’s beyond amazing to be an Asian American lead in a big romantic film released by one of the major studios. It makes me a little emotional. I’m playing what is considered a traditional Caucasian character of Reggie in the comics on a great show and now there is this big studio movie. That might not have happened a few years ago.

You just wrapped “Bad Boys 3” opposite Will Smith and Martin Lawrence — a lead in next summer’s big thing.

It was very exciting. Will Smith was one of my movie star idols when I was growing up. To be able to work alongside of him was very surreal. Every single day, I’d show up for work to play this former cop/DEA agent and I couldn’t really believe it. But there was Will and Martin taking me in and telling me stories about life and cinema. I am so grateful. I’ve had a really great year.

What’s next? Total Hollywood domination? A call to Mom?

Directing and producing are both things I will do in the future. Right now, I’m just focused on being a good actor and doing things I’m passionate about. In life, you just want to do something you believe in. And yes, later today I will call my mom. She’s amazing.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
The Hangover is served at The Crack Shack in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Khine Moore, executive chef at The Crack Shack at Park MGM in Las Vegas, makes The Hangover with a fried chicken breast or thigh dipped in honey-butter, sprinkled with Crack Seasoning and topped with an egg. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dessert Before Dinner winner Becky Quan
Nine of Las Vegas’ top women pastry chefs offered original creations built around Girl Scouts Trefoils shortbread cookies Saturday night at Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada’s annual Desserts Before Dinner Gala. The top dessert, as voted on by the audience, was an homage to Good Humor’s old-fashioned Strawberry Shortcake ice cream bars created by NoMad’s Becky Quan. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Chef Sammy D is cooking again in Las Vegas
Sam DeMarco served his first public meal since returning to Las Vegas on Sunday, with a pop-up brunch at 7th & Carson. And the veteran of the First Food & Bar, Rattlecan and Sam’s American has more in store for the downtown spot. The chef, known as Sammy D. to his friends, is taking on a consulting chef role with restaurant that will see some of Sunday’s offerings added to the regular menu. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Carl’s Donuts in Las Vegas celebrates National Cream-Filled Doughnut Day
Carl’s Donuts, a Las Vegas-based company that’s been serving the city since 1966, celebrates National Cream-Filled Doughnut Day with specialties themed to fall. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rick Harrison of "Pawn Stars" has a new store - VIDEO
Rick Harrison, the Pawn Stars co-star and owner of Gold & Silver Pawn, talks to the Review-Journal’s John Katsilometes about his soon-to-open Rick’s Collection retail outlet of mostly mid-century masterworks at the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pok Pok Wing at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas serves Pad Thai Thamadaa - VIDEO
Because of popular request, the 1-year-old Pok Pok Wing at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas serves Pad Thai Thamadaa, with shrimp, ground pork, neither or both. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trial by Fire cocktail at the Golden Tiki in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Adam Rains, head bartender (also Grand Poobah and a few other things) at The Golden Tiki in Las Vegas, makes one of the bar’s tiki drinks, (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gordon Ramsay renovating Las Vegas steakhouse - VIDEO
Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is preparing to re-launch his Paris Las Vegas restaurant, Gordon Ramsay Steak. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cats owners compete for top show awards
The annual Jazzy Cats event is taking place at the Rio Convention Center this weekend attracting cats owners from around the country and the world to compete for the top show awards. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Brooklyn Bowl in Las Vegas serves blackened Cajun catfish - VIDEO
Troy Remer, sous chef at Brooklyn Bowl at The Linq Promenade in Las Vegas, blackens Cajun catfish on the grill before serving it with mashed potatoes and collard greens. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Gold Encrusted Filet Mignon at Mr. Chow - VIDEO
This just may be the gold standard for the filet mignon. Mr. Chow at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas has introduced The Gold Encrusted Filet Mignon, which is coated with real 24-karat gold. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Working as a mermaid in Las Vegas - VIDEO
McKenzie Kawano works as a mermaid at the aquarium at the Silverton in Las Vegas. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pinkbox Doughnuts opens third store in Las Vegas area
Las Vegas-based Pinkbox Doughnuts, which opened its third store at 9435 W. Tropicana Ave., specializes in doughnuts such as the new Station Wagon, with Butterfinger; pink-velvet Pretty in Pink; and hybrid Glazed DoughCro Bites. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal, with image courtesy of Pinkbox Doughnuts
Starbucks brings back Pumpkin Spice early
Starbucks declares Aug. 27 the first day of fall as they make their pumpkin spice items available a full month early. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bachelor Party Fra Diavolo at Carmine’s in Las Vegas
Roberto Leon, a line cook at Carmine’s at The Forum Shops at Caesars in Las Vegas, makes Bachelor Party Fra Diavolo with eight pounds of lobster, a pound each of mussels, clams and shrimp, two pounds of pasta and two gallons of sauce. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
'American Idol' auditions in Las Vegas
“American Idol” was in Las Vegas Monday looking for singers to compete in its upcoming 2020 season. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegan part of the Harlem Globetrotters
Scooter Christensen, who grew up in Las Vegas, will play with the Harlem Globetrotters at The Orleans in Las Vegas Sunday, Aug. 25. (Mat Luschek / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MSG Sphere at The Venetian to cost $1.2B plus
Scheduled to open in 2021, it is expected to be busier than Madison Square Garden in New York. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Terra Rossa Returns To Red Rock. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Terra Rossa at Red Rock Resort is set to open on Aug. 26.
Hubert Keller’s Backyard Kitchen
Chef Hubert Keller of Fleur and Burger Bar shows off his backyard kitchen in Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Watermelon Mojitos and Chicken ‘N’ Watermelon ‘N’ Waffles at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar
Bartender Cassy Leedom and Chef Norberto Ortega make a Watermelon Mojito and Chicken ‘N’ Watermelon ‘N’ Waffles at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar at The Venetian in Las Vegas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Juan’s Flaming Fajitas in Las Vegas celebrates National Fajita Day
Cook Ruben Fuentes and general manager Taylor Pulliam of Juan’s Flaming Fajitas in Las Vegas prepare steak and shrimp fajitas with the restaurant’s signature fiery treatment. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pasta Shop Ristorante serves a watermelon-shrimp salad
Pasta Shop Ristorante & Art Gallery in Henderson serves a summer salad that combines watermelon with greens, feta and shrimp. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Factory Kitchen in Las Vegas makes classic affogato
Jorge Luque, pastry chef at The Factory Kitchen at The Venetian in Las Vegas, makes affogato with two simple ingredients - house-made gelato and fresh espresso. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review Journal with image from The Factory Kitchen)
The Cereal Killerz Kitchen serves over 100 cereals
Christopher Burns, owner of The Cereal Killerz Kitchen at Galleria at Sunset mall in Henderson, makes a Milk & Cookies Shake from his more than 100 varieties of cereal. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer in Las Vegas makes a State Fair CrazyShake
Bianca Zepeva, a shaker at Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer at The Venetian in Las Vegas, makes a State Fair CrazyShake with a kettle corn rim, caramel, corn-based ice cream, popcorn brittle, crushed kettle corn, sprinkles and a cherry. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
Balboa Pizza Company makes Thai peanut chicken wings
Irma Perez, kitchen manager at Balboa Pizza Company at The District at Green Valley Ranch in Henderson, near Las Vegas, brines chicken wings for 24 hours before roasting and frying them and finishing them in various styles such as Thai peanut. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
New Venetian pool deck
Final touches are currently being added to the hotel’s main tower pool deck, which consists of five pools. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who is Vegas Vic? (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada State Museum Director Dennis McBride explains the origins of the Vegas icon.
Slater’s 50/50 in Las Vegas serves a 4-pound Big Island Feast Burger
Cindy Sun, general manager of Slater’s 50/50 in Las Vegas, makes the Big Island Feast Burger with 2 1/2 pounds of the house bacon/beef blend, Napa-cilantro slaw, six slices of American cheese, a can of grilled Spam, six slices of chargrilled pineapple, four fried eggs and a drizzle of teriyaki and serves it with macaroni salad. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Renée Zellweger talks about portraying Judy Garland

“It was terrifying and wonderful,” Zellweger said. “But I was so in love with her and thought of this film as a huge celebration of her.”