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‘Riverdale’ Star K.J. Apa Replaces Kian Lawley in ‘The Hate U Give’ Movie

Fox has cast “Riverdale” star K.J. Apa in its drama “The Hate U Give,” two months after the studio dropped Kian Lawley from the project over videos that surfaced in which he uttered racist slurs.

Fox 2000 has authorized more than a week of re-shoots in Atlanta. Lawley was set to play the boyfriend of the film’s star, Amandla Stenberg, in the movie based on Angela Thomas’ novel of the same name, which centers on race and police brutality. He was fired from the project on Feb. 5. 

Lawley apologized at the time, saying, “I respect Fox’s decision to recast this role for ‘The Hate U Give’ as it is an important story, and it would not be appropriate for me to be involved considering the actions of my past. I understand the impact and I have grown and learned since then. From now on I plan to use my voice for positive change.”

The role of the boyfriend is a key component of “The Hate U Give,” which also stars Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, Algee Smith, Lamar Johnson, and Common. Stenberg plays a 16-year-old girl named Starr who grew up in a poverty-stricken area, but now attends a suburban prep school. After she witnesses a police officer shoot her unarmed best friend, she’s torn between her two very different worlds as she tries to speak her truth.

Bob Teitel and Marty Bowen are producing. George Tillman Jr. is directing from Audrey Wells’ script.

Apa, a native of New Zealand, stars as Archie Andrews in the CW’s “Riverdale,” which has been renewed for a third season. He is also starring in “The Last Summer,” a drama about a group of high schoolers who spend a final summer together before college, for Gulfstream Pictures.

Apa is repped by UTA, Red11 Management, and Luber Roklin Entertainment. The news was first reported by Deadline.

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