YOUR NEW NET­FLIX OB­SES­SION

Se­lena Gomez’s teen se­ries, ‘13 Rea­sons Why,’ could change your life, too.

Metro USA (Boston) - - FRONT PAGE - LUCÍA HERNÁN­DEZ MWN letters@metro.us

“[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.

GETTY IM­AGES

GETTY IM­AGES

Se­lena Gomez on the set of Net­flix’s new minis­eries, “13 Rea­sons Why.” BETH DUBBER/NET­FLIX

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