'Riverdale' 's Charles Melton Writes Letters to Girlfriend Camila Mendes to Keep the Romance Alive

The 28-year-old actor stars in The Sun Is Also a Star, out May 17

He plays a hopeless romantic in the upcoming film The Sun Is Also a Star, and in real life, Charles Melton is just as lovey-dovey.

“Something romantic that I do is I write letters to my girlfriend,” the actor, 28, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue of his Riverdale costar Camila Mendes.

He didn’t always embrace love, though, but has learned to over time. “I’ve been told from my loved ones growing up to always guard your heart,” Melton says. “But why do you want to guard something you want to give? It’s choosing who you want to give that to.”

Camila Mendes, Charles Melton
Mike Coppola/MG19/Getty

In the movie, Melton’s character Daniel falls in love with a girl (Yara Shahidi) he spots in New York City’s Grand Central station and feels an immediate connection with.

“I believe in love at first sight,” the former college football player says. “It’s this hopeful curiosity of seeing someone and just being in awe and not being able to explain it, but there’s something that draws you to that person. There’s something you don’t know and it’s just a matter of you being vulnerable enough to explore that.”

Atsushi Nishijima/Warner Bros.

Daniel finds out that his crush doesn’t believe in love, so he gives her 24 hours to convince her otherwise. “It’s a very vulnerable thing to do — take out your heart, metaphorically speaking, and put it all on the table for 24 hours,” Melton, who will also appear in Bad Boys for Life, says.

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Over the course of that day, Daniel must prepare for his interview with Dartmouth College, where his parents want him to study medicine. Daniel, however, would rather pursue poetry.

Meanwhile, Natasha (Shahidi) is fighting for her family to stay in New York City and not be deported back to Jamaica.

The time crunch doesn’t stop the two from connecting over karaoke, where Natasha starts to imagine a future with the boy she just met. Daniel captivates Natasha with Tommy Jane and the Shondells’ “Crimson and Clover,” but off screen, Melton usually opts for a karaoke song fit for royalty.

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“[My] go-to karaoke song: ‘Halo’ by Beyoncé,” he reveals. “My face changes, my voice changes when I sing this song. I go to different pitches that I’m never even aware of before; It’s just something that comes out of me when I sing ‘Halo’ by Beyoncé at karaoke.”

The Sun Is Also a Star, based on Nicola Yoon’s young adult novel by the same name, opens on May 17.

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