13 Reasons Why: The Importance of Casting

The series goes to a new length to capture representation, inclusion, and real friendship.

Despite it being over two weeks since its debut on Netflix, “13 Reasons Why” is still all the buzz in the media right now. In fact, the series generated the most social media discussions in Netflix history.

Hey, @itsmehannahbaker. Live and in stereo.

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The Netflix series was adapted from Jay Asher’s best selling novel, but there were new elements added to the story line that captured life beyond the tapes.

The story follows the 13 tapes of Hannah Baker and why her life ended. We are taken on journey of love, loss, and recovery. We see character development in every episode, but we also see the cruelty and misfortune that exists in people. The main themes from the show all tie back to the real world.

The perfect choices in casting in another reason why people are buzzing over it. Selena Gomez, executive producer of the show, took to Instagram after they found the two main characters:

 

However, the praise in casting goes beyond there. Each and every character, no matter how minor, either found a way to steal the hearts of the audience or make them scream in rage. Fans were especially excited to see the amount of diversity on screen.

The representation of the Asian community is severely lacking in Hollywood, so to have two of the main characters in the show be Asian American made a mark in the movement – although we still have a long way to go. Courtney Crimson, played by Michele Selene Ang, and Zach Dempsey, played by Ross Butler, are both of Asian descent.

Been almost a week since our show @13reasonswhy came out, and I'm personally a bit overwhelmed by all of the responses to it. As I was watching, I couldn't help but think of a certain TED talk by one of my favorite writers, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, called "The Danger of a Single Story." In which she talks about how defining an experience based on one account only gives us an incomplete, fragmented understanding of other people. This is a lesson I constantly re-learn, and the latest version (fresh after finishing the 1st season) has some extra baggage, WHICH you can all help unpack by watching BEYOND THE REASONS on @netflix for a BTS look at how Team 13 handled the sensitive issues addressed in the show. I know this post is the length of a bible but I want to say for the hundredth time how grateful I am to be a part of this more open conversation we are having-also, that you are not alone and you MATTER-and to please, please visit the link in my bio if you think you or a loved one needs help. Lastly, I'd just like to say that-while I understand the reason behind all of the "Fuck off, Courtney's," one of the biggest lessons of our show is that bullying (of any kind, mental, verbal, physical, cyber) is.not.ok. And I would be happy to explain what I think is Courtney's side of the story if/when I ever end up on ELLEN one day, which would be fucking AMAZING. Ok last thing for real, I see all of you new followers, and I got love for you. But be patient if I'm not as active as I can be because I am a grandma. All I have to say. For now. Xx -M ???

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When asked on his take on Asian representation in Hollywood, Butler responds:

There are no Asian leading men in Hollywood. There’s not an Asian Ryan Gosling or an Asian Brad Pitt.

“It’s important because it’s telling the story that Asian Americans are in American culture. They’re a big part of our population. It’s a stepping stone to helping find our Asian-American leading movie stars. That’s the next step.”

The cast also spend time together beyond the set. There is a sense of real friendship from the cast members, and that is beyond admirable.

In fact, Selena Gomez, Tommy Dorfman, and Alisha Boe all went to get matching tattoos last week.

Today was a magical day. Another day to be grateful to be alive. Alisha, Selena, and I went together to get ; tattoos. The ; symbol stands for an end of one thought and a beginning of another. Instead of a period, authors use the semicolon to continue a sentence. For us, it means a beginning of another chapter in life, in lieu of ending your life. I struggled with addiction and depression issues through high school and early college. I reached out and asked for help. At the time, I thought my life was over, I thought I'd never live past the age of 21. Today I'm grateful to be alive, in this new chapter of life in recovery, standing with my colleagues and friends, making art that helps other people. If you're struggling, if you feel suicidal, I urge you to click the link in my bio. Ask for help. Start a new chapter with the support of others. ??????and RIP Amy Bleul, who started the semicolon movement.

A post shared by TOMMY DORFMAN (@tommy.dorfman) on

As of right now, Tommy Dorfman and Dylan Minnette are enjoying their time at Coachella.

Honestly though, we’ve never seen better #FriendshipGoals.

The connection between the cast members in real life definitely translated well on the camera, making the series much more “realistic” and enjoyable to watch.

If you have not gotten around to watching 13 Reasons Why on Netflix yet, we highly suggest you check it out right now. It’s never too late to join the party!

Tweet us @CelebMix what you love most about the show and the cast.

 

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Written by Laura Huynh

Born and raised in Los Angeles. Current student at UC Berkeley studying media and business. Big fan of music, and big believer in Fate.

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