Tommy Dorfman is a name you’re going to be hearing a lot of in the near future.
In his debut role, Tommy will be appearing as Ryan Shaver in the highly anticipated Netflix original series, 13 Reasons Why. The series, adapted from the bestselling novel by Jay Asher, is already creating a huge buzz online, partly down to the involvement of Selena Gomez, who is the Executive Producer. She is joined by Brian Yorkey (Creator/EP) and Tom McCarthy (Director/EP).
Tommy stars alongside Katherine Langford, Dylan Minnette, Kate Walsh, Brian D’Arcy James, Derek Luke, Brandon Flynn, Justin Prentice, Alisha Boe, and Christian Navarro.
We recently caught up with Tommy for a quick chat to get the lowdown on his role in 13 Reasons Why. Check it out below.
Hi Tommy, thank you for talking to us today! You’re starring as Ryan Shaver in the new Netflix series, ‘13 Reason Why’. What can you tell us about your character?
Ryan, on the surface, is a passionate poet and intellectual snob. Deep down, I think he has a lot of compassion and love – he just struggles with showing it. He’s the kid that will call people out on their bullshit.
What attracted you to this role?
His tenacity, intellect, and forwardness. I’m more of a non-confrontational person, and Ryan is the opposite. I also felt for him as an ostracized kid in high school, which definitely mirrored my experience. I always felt like an outside – especially if I was in a big group of people.
How was the filming experience?
Fantastic. It was my first job, and I can’t imagine better people to be with. The world in which the story takes place is dark at times given the circumstances, but we found ways to lift each other up in those moments.
The show is an adaptation of the book written by Jay Asher. Had you read the book beforehand or were you already aware of it before you were cast?
I read the book at some point during casting.
There’s a big hype around the Netflix series as it was such a popular book. Does that fill you with excitement or make you feel under pressure?
Excitement for sure. I think the writers and producers kept the bones of the book and expanded the story for screen in a way that only supports what readers loved most about it. I can’t wait to see how fans of the book react.
The project was executive produced by Selena Gomez, Brian Yorkey and Tom McCarthy. What were they like to work with?
Selena is inspiring – she balances work and play very well, all with the most humility. Brian is a dream – I’ve been a fan of his since middle-school and it was amazing getting to work with him on set every day; he fosters such a collaborative and creative environment. I met Tom once during casting and he was super sweet and supportive.
We stumbled across a debate online, about whether or not the character of Ryan actually deserved to receive the tapes. Having played the character, what’s your opinion on this?
Ha! Yes, I’ve seen those. And yes, I think it was deserved.
As well as being an actor, you’re passionate about speaking out for LGBT rights. How do you hope to use your voice as an actor to raise awareness and bring guidance to others?
For one, playing a gay character on TV, as a gay person. Secondly, remaining as true to myself and not hiding who I am publicly. Lastly, working with organizations, showing up to rallies, and learning from those who came before me. I had an opportunity to work with, and get to know, Wilson Cruz (My So-Called Life) on our show and it was a blessing.
What does the rest of 2017 have in store for Tommy Dorfman?
You’ll have to wait and see!
Thanks to Tommy for his time! 13 Reasons Why premieres on Netflix on March 31.