Cole Sprouse Explains 5-Year Acting Break As He Heads Back To TV To Play Jughead On ‘Riverdale’

Cole Sprouse is headed back to television after a five-year break from acting. The former Suite Life of Zack and Cody star told Entertainment Weekly that he needed the break from the spotlight after spending much of his childhood working on the Disney Channel franchise.

“There was a feeling of machination; I felt like an automaton,” Sprouse, 23, said of his long run with his twin brother, Dylan, on the Disney Channel. “I needed to take a break and step outside myself… I needed a dose of reality and I needed to see myself in a more objective point of view. And now I think I can enjoy [acting], which is a really fundamental part about being an actor.”

Dylan and Cole Sprouse stepped away from acting in 2011 to attend NYU, and Cole says he credits his childhood acting career for giving him the opportunity to attend the prestigious school.

“I’m not saying that we didn’t enjoy that time, but it was work,” Cole told EW of his time on the show. “It’s a career and a business, and it got me to college, which is one of the most fantastic gifts I could’ve been given. But I’m glad to be [acting] on my own accord now.”

Cole Sprouse’s comments about acting on his “own accord” clearly stem from his past remarks on the subject. In 2013, Cole Sprouse posted a Tumblr audio post and said acting was never his choice when he was a child. At the time, Cole was explaining why he didn’t major in acting in college.

“My brother and I were put into acting when we were eight months old by our mother because we needed the money,” Cole Sprouse said. “I never made the decision to join the arts, or acting specifically. It was really never my passion.”

Cole Sprouse’s upcoming role on the CW’s live-action Archie Comics’ adaption Riverdale will mark his first time as a regular in a TV series without his brother by his side. For five years, the Sprouse brothers shared the role of baby Patrick on the sitcom Grace Under Fire, starting when they were just 6-months old. Cole Sprouse went on to a recurring stint as Ben Gellar (Ross’s son) on Friends before the brothers teamed up to play twins Zack and Cody Martin on Suite Life and its spinoff Suite Life on Deck.

For Riverdale, Cole Sprouse will pay Jughead Jones, but he’ll be much more of a hipster than the character was in the original Archie Comics series.

Riverdale will give a darker, more dramatic look at the famous comic characters, and Cole Sprouse is practically unrecognizable based on photos that have surfaced from the set of the pilot. Cole’s once light locks are now dyed jet black.

And while Jughead isn’t known to have a twin, Cole said he thinks his brother would consider making a cameo on the show.

“I’m sure he’d entertain that idea,” Cole said.

While Cole and his brother are just getting back into acting, they did do a little improv at their NYU graduation last year. In an interview with Teen Vogue, Cole and Dylan Sprouse admitted they switched places when their names were called at graduation, and they swapped places on stage and accepted each other’s diplomas.

Both Sprouse brothers graduated with honors from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, and neither of them studied acting. Dylan completed studies with a concentration in video game design while Cole was an archaeology major.

[Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Entertainment Weekly & People ]