Netflix has just released the first photos from their upcoming drama series 13 Reasons Why.
Based on Jay Asher's young adult novel of the same name, 13 Reasons Why tells the story behind Hannah Baker's decision to commit suicide. Before her death, Hannah recorded 13 tapes, each of them explaining a reason why she decided to end her life. The tapes are then passed along to 13 of her high school classmates, each of whom played a role in Hannah's death.
Selena Gomez serves as an executive producer on the series, which premieres Friday, March 31 on Netflix. The cast includes Katherine Langford as Hannah, Kate Walsh as Hannah's mother, Dylan Minnette as her classmate Clay, and Miles Heizer as Hannah's former friend Alex.
Directed by Oscar winner Tom McCarthy (Spotlight), 13 Reasons Why is a darker tale than most people would picture when they think of a high school series. "What we were trying to do with the show [was] create something that for young people was in no way condescending or easy," McCarthy said Wednesday.
Gomez first came across the book when she was about 17 and was originally set to play Hannah in a film version. But when that didn't come to fruition, she wanted to remain involved in the project in some capacity. (Her mother, Mandy Teefey, is also an executive producer.)
"It definitely hits home. ... This show is as real as it can get," Gomez said Wednesday, noting that she "grew up in the biggest high school in the world - the Disney Channel. "I definitely relate. ... This is what [kids] need to see. ... They have to see something that's going to shake them. They have to see something that's frightening."
As for Asher, he describes Netflix's version as the "perfect adaptation" of his book. "It was very scary at times. ... It is an author's dream but at the same time, you feel so protective of it," he said Wednesday. "[But] I just trusted them so much and it turned out amazing. As an author, I could not be happier."