YOUR NEW NETFLIX OBSESSION
Selena Gomez’s teen series, ‘13 Reasons Why,’ could change your life, too.
“[Kids] do not want to see false speeches of empty optimism, because that does not matter to them. They have to see something that moves them, something that scares them. All of these people will instantly connect with the characters.”
Selena Gomez on her new Netflix series “13 Reasons Why”
The star of “13 Reason Why” could have been Selena Gomez.
Instead, the most followed person on Instagram stuck to working behind the scenes, signing on as executive producer for the Netflix drama, alongside Pulitzer-winning playwright Brian Yorkey and her mother, Mandy Teefey. The mysterious miniseries follows Hannah, a timid high school student who leaves behind 13 cassette tapes, each explaining how the person listening contributed to her suicide.
Gomez explains her decision to stay off-camera, how she related to Hannah in high school and why you won’t be able to watch just one episode when the 13part series drops today on Netflix.
At first you wanted to play the main character, right?
Yeah. Well, it was my mom who found the book. I was about 16 or 17 when I read the book, [and] I saw that I could perfectly relate to the story. And above all, my fans could connect with it. They’re incredibly authentic with me and tell me what they think and feel in a superhonest way. But now that time has passed, I think there’s no better person to play Hannah than Katherine [Langford]. I mean, you see her and it’s her. I think she works perfectly for the character.
It’s a super intense story to binge-watch.
The first episodes are really captivating. [They] clearly explain the relationship of the characters and what happened to Hannah, but it gets more and more dark. I think you’re progressively seeing a side of Clay [Dylan Minnette] where he shows that he’s a guy that’s confused, sad and maybe a little shy, who transforms into … I’m not going to reveal anything else. But I think you can see these arches and I feel it’s something that will captivate people. I don’t know, I would watch it all in one sitting. Maybe there will even be someone that will watch it more than once. Everyone will enjoy it in their own way.
Did you see yourself reflected in Hannah in any way?
I think my high school experience was, so to speak, amplified. I’m not going to say it was worse, but it definitely made it more difficult. I had to deal with [what Hannah does] on a different scale, with the guys who were my classmates in the world’s largest high school called the Disney Channel. But I also had to face adults who had the audacity to tell me how I should live my life. It was very confusing at the time. I had no idea how I should behave or how I would be when I grew up. It definitely hits you at your most vulnerable time.
That’s why I wanted to make sure I was part of this project in some way. My mother helped me because she knew that it was very important for me. That’s what kids have to see. They do not want to see false speeches of empty optimism, because that does not matter to them. They have to see something that moves them, something that scares them. All of these people will instantly connect with the characters.
I would do anything to be a good influence for this generation. It was difficult, but I did everything possible to get involved with every aspect of the series. I was there when they were shooting the last episode and it was really touching to see how everything came to life.