Devin Druid is a name you’re going to want to remember. The actor wows with his performance as Tyler in ’13 Reasons Why.’ HollywoodLife.com chatted EXCLUSIVELY with the actor about his surprising first audition, whether he thinks the story could continue in a season 2, and more!
Tyler Down, played by Devin Druid, 19, is one of the most important characters in Jay Asher’s best-selling book and in the Netflix series, which was released on March 31. The show dives deeper into the book and allows viewers to see additional layers to these characters, including Tyler. Tyler is one of the people Hannah (Katherine Langford) dedicates a tape to before she ends her life. He made her feel unsafe and violated when he took pictures of her without her permission. The character, who was in love with Hannah, is bullied relentlessly throughout the show, before and after Hannah’s suicide. This mistreatment sends him on a potentially dangerous downward spiral.
HollywoodLife.com talked to Devin about the show, including the audition process. He actually didn’t audition for Tyler first! Here’s our interview with Devin:
Talk about the audition process and what that was like.
Actually, this is kind of interesting. My first audition was a taped audition. I grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and my agents are in New York City, so I audition out of New York and I would usually drive up 6 or 7 hours to New York every month to audition, but whenever I could stay at home and tape myself, I would because I was saving so much time. My first audition, I actually taped for Clay. It was really cool. I loved the script and the people attached. I knew I had to be a part of this, so I taped for Clay. I thought I did a pretty good job. A little bit later I got called back up to come in to the New York casting office to meet director Tom McCarthy and our writers. I auditioned for Clay in front of them again, and then afterwards they called me in for Tyler. I was like, “Oh, I don’t really know too much about this character but let me find out about it.” I didn’t read the book before auditioning because I’ve auditioned for a number of projects that are adapted into film, and I have read the source material for those other auditions, and what I’ve learned from that is sometimes you can get confused in your own headspace about which version of the character you’re supposed to be portraying. There’s always differences in adaptations. You want to give those who are casting and directors the version of the character that they’ve written for this adaptation. But to figure out things about Tyler I actually went online and looked up middle school and high school English projects about the book where people have written biographies about the characters. I was able to see Tyler through the reader’s perspective. I thought that was really cool. I have an acting coach out of Richmond that I work with a lot and I worked with him on this audition for Tyler and one of the scenes with Tyler is the dark room scene with Clay. I remember very vividly that Mark [his acting coach] basically told me to bring everything from my life that I have to this character.
In those projects, how did the students respond to Tyler?
A lot of people tried to justify and say that it wasn’t Tyler who took the pictures. Kids said, “How could you know?” I was actually kind of confused. So did he? Because in the scene that I’m reading for the show, he definitely is and then people who’ve read the book say he’s not. Other people thought he was a creep. I see a lot of fans on Twitter who are excited for the show and read the book, and a lot of them say Tyler is one of the scarier characters in the book just because of what he does and how creepy it is. He just makes them unsafe in their own space. Tyler’s not a physically imposing person, and he’s not a mentally disturbing person — yet. But the act of knowing that you’re never safe in your own space and somebody’s always watching is just terrifying.
Would you consider doing a season 2 or do you think the story should be complete once the show is finished?
I think that what we’ve made here, you get a full story about the tapes. You get a full adaptation of the book, but I also think that we started a story where we could continue on, I guess, given the opportunity. I think there are some questions we could still answer. I think that our writers worked really hard to deliver something that is a complete package with the bow on top that the fans can enjoy, but also leave something open so that there is room if we were given the opportunity. And if so, I’d love to come back. I love this character. I love this story. I think it’s very important. And I think the questions that we have left, I think the answers that we could provide for those could also help the stigma of mental illness even more than we already have.
HollywoodLifers, have you watched 13 Reasons Why? If so, what do you think?