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K.J. Apa, the star of The CW’s Riverdale, will replace disgraced actor Kian Lawley in Fox 2000’s The Hate U Give.
In February, Lawley was cut from the film after a video of him making racially charged jokes and using racist slurs surfaced online.
The project wrapped filming in November, but the studio decided to undergo reshoots in order to remove Lawley from the movie. The choice was compared to the removal of Kevin Spacey from Sony’s Getty drama All the Money in the World following allegations of sexual misconduct and assault. A release date has yet to be set for the feature.
The Hate U Give is based on the young adult novel by Angie Thomas. The story follows Starr, a young woman drawn to activism after she witnesses the police shooting of her unarmed friend. The project was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.
Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg leads a cast that also includes Regina Hall, Common, Issa Rae and Anthony Mackie. In the feature, Apa will now play Starr’s white boyfriend.
“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,” Lawley said in a statement in February after the news broke that the studio would be recasting his role. Lawley was later dropped by his agency, CAA.
Apa became a breakout playing Archie Andrews on Riverdale, which was just renewed for a third season. The New Zealand-born actor is beginning a burgeoning film career. After a small role in last year’s A Dog’s Purpose, he is set to topline the indie comedy The Last Summer.
Apa is repped by UTA, Luber Roklin and Jackoway Tyerman.
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