Netflix drama 13 Reasons Why will offer an 'unflinching' look at teenage suicide
The show is an adaptation of the hit novel by Jay Asher.
A new Netflix show that tackles teenage suicide will depict the issue in an “unflinching” way that does not glamorise “beautiful depression”, its star has said.
The series 13 Reasons Why, based on the hit novel of the same name by Jay Asher, is being co-produced by singer Selena Gomez and her mother.
It tells the story of a teenage boy who is sent a box from a classmate who committed suicide, containing 13 cassette tapes explaining the reasons she ended her life.
Selena had planned to play the part of Hannah Baker, the girl who commits suicide and who appears throughout the show in flashbacks after her death, but ultimately decided to stay behind the camera.
The role instead went to Australian actress Katherine Langford, who said it was important to her the show did not appear to glamorise suicide.
She told the Press Association: “What I’m really proud of is the show respects the intellect of the audience.
“I’m young myself and I grew up watching Skins and My So Called Life but I feel like the majority of shows and media that covers this kind of content tend to glamorise it or put it in there for a plot line and what I’m really proud about is we show it in a really unflinching way and it’s ugly and it’s messy and I’ve seen it and it doesn’t feel glamorous at all.
“It’s the opposite of what you’re told on Tumblr about beautiful depression and that kind of thing. It’s not, it’s ugly and I’m proud we were able to tell it in an authentic way because I feel like it gets the message across far better.”
She added: “I definitely took a really big hit emotionally and physically but it also felt really good to be able to do that and to play that character because I felt so proud of what we were doing and I had so much faith and trust in the project and the people involved and I really felt we were going to tell the story the way it should be told.”
Goosebumps star Dylan Minnette plays Clay Jensen, the boy who receives the box of tapes.
Dylan said: “All I really knew from the book was what I read on the internet, I only knew what I looked up but as I started to find out more when I got there I realised what we were making and what we were really doing and the extremes and lengths and measures we were going to on the show.
“I was shocked but thrilled because a lot of shows or movies wouldn’t even dare to touch on the subject matter we do and in the way that we do and I think that’s pretty cool and necessary.
“By doing and showing what we do, I hope that resonates with people.”
Asked if he was worried the show would glamorise suicide, he said: “You care about Hannah so much and you’re so heartbroken, I’m not worried at all about that. They found the perfect way to tell the story.”
13 Reasons Why will stream on Netflix from March 31.