'Riverdale's Nathalie Boltt Talks Penelope and Cheryl's "Complex" Relationship

In a matter of days, Riverdale's second season will be back from hiatus, and it sounds like that could involve more from the Blossom family.

In a recent interview with Seat42F, Nathalie Boltt was asked about the current dynamic between her character, Penelope Blossom, and her daughter Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch). While the pair have undergone quite a lot of changes in recent months, it sounds their complicated relationship - and the unique amount of love between them - will be explored further.

"Well, it’s bad, for sure." Boltt explained. "It’s also really complex because everybody wants to be loved by a parent — everybody wants to be acknowledged. And if you look at Cheryl and Penelope’s relationship so far, there’s only been a little bit of sweetness between them. But even that tiny bit of sweetness is enough to keep Cheryl hanging on. I don’t know how, but I feel the audience believes that Penelope does love her daughter in this really complicated way. She just has no way to show it, and that’s quite tragic. And hopefully that tragedy will unravel itself in increments as we go along, and I think that’ll be fascinating to watch."

As fans have seen this season (and even in the tail end of last season), Penelope and Cheryl have undergone quite a lot, from the death of Clifford Blossom, to the Thornhill fire, to various financial woes the pair have experienced. And as Bolt explains, that sort of uneven ground the pair are on has an effect on their relationship.

"Also the Penelope and Cheryl relationship is all about power play." Boltt added. "So it’s fun to watch one get the upper hand and then the other one swing around and get the upper hand again. For instance, in the beginning of Season 2 when Cheryl cut off Penelope’s air in the hospital after Penelope was burnt so badly in the fire, I think that was one of those scenes where people just did not see it coming. So that’s always exciting."

But behind the scenes, the duo have a much stronger relationship, one that is fostered by their shared family experiences.

"Madelaine is incredibly talented, beautiful, very smart, and funny." Boltt mentioned. "Thing is is that we actually both come from Africa. These two pale skinned redheads, would you believe it? Which we did not know to begin with, and then discovered not only that we both come from Africa, where she lived when she was six, and I lived there about 10-12 years ago. But we discovered that her family and my family are actually intertwined in a very sort of synchronistic and spiritual way — one of my absolute favorite places to go to was in her family heritage. Isn’t that interesting? Because the Blossom story is all about family heritage as well."


"And when we have these hideous scenes together, we make fun of them." Boltt revealed. "We have a good laugh because there’s so much tension, and you actually have to just have a good giggle about it. I think we quite enjoy them now, and like I said, they’re therapeutic. Because after everything is said and done, we’re completely different. I mean, I’m certainly quite opposite to my character. Madelaine shows a lot of vulnerability as Cheryl. And Nathalie Boltt never does. I mean, I’m just a playful hippie, with a really sick sense of humor. So I get to be that, I’m kind of rock-and-roll, really and that’s certainly not what Penelope Blossom is."

Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.