Netflix’s ’13 Reasons Why’ will quickly hook you — just as the book did. And on Feb. 8, the cast and crew, including executive producer, Selena Gomez, revealed the deep connection they have to the show.
Selena Gomez took the stage along with stars of the show Dylan Minnette and Katherine Langford, creator Brian Yorkey, director Tom McCarthy, consulting producer Jay Asher and her mother and fellow executive producer, Mandy Teefey.
“It started out as a transitional piece for her coming out of the [Disney] Channel and it became so personal,” Mandy said during the panel in New York City. Selena revealed that when she was young, her mother brought the book home from Barnes and Noble and they fell in love with it. At first, she was going to be the star. “I was doing my TV series at the time [Wizards of Waverly Place], I was maybe 16 or 17 also, so it made sense. I just believed in what it as. I thought I could relate to my fans in particular… As the project went on, I can’t picture anybody else being Hannah, but Katherine. On screen she is captivating.”
In the show, the main character Clay finds cassette tapes recorded by his crush, Hannah Baker, who took her own life two weeks before. On tape, she revealed there were thirteen reasons she decided to commit suicide. Following the panel, Selena was asked about being able to relate to the character and how being a teen star helped that.
“My high school experience may have been a little amplified, so I wouldn’t say it was worse, but it definitely made it harder,” Selena revealed. “To be frank with you, I actually was going through a really difficult time when they started production; I went away for 90 days, and and I actually met a ton of kids in this place that were talking about issues that these characters are experiencing.”
“I would say yes, I’ve had to deal with it on a different scale. Whether it was just kids or growing up in the biggest high school in the world, which was Disney Channel, it was also adults that had the audacity to kind of tell me how I should live my life,” she continued. “It was very confusing for me. I had no idea who I was going to be, what I’m still going to become.”
She added that those reasons are why she stayed connected to the project as an executive producer. “It definitely hits home,” she said. “It hits a very important part in me… I would do anything to be able to have a good influence on this generation, and it’s hard, but I definitely relate to everything that was going on. I was there for the last episode, I was a mess just seeing it all come to life, because I’ve experienced just that for sure.”
“Whether I like it or not, a lot of people have watched me grow up, and I do feel like, I have these conversations with my fans. I’ve never really wanted to be the kind of unapproachable person. I never wanted to seem that I had it all together, ever,” she added. “Whether I like it or not, people have seen a lot of my mistakes and I had to use that as a good thing, because then they’re able to trust me. I want to be a part of this this because I think this is what they want, this is what they need.”
Tune in to 13 Reasons Why when all 13 episodes hit Netflix on March 31.