13 Interesting Facts About ’13 Reasons Why’

Beth Dubber/Netflix
Dylan Minnette and Katherine Langford in 13 Reasons Why

Netflix’s teen drama 13 Reasons Why, based on the YA novel of the same name by Jay Asher and executive produced by Selena Gomez, premieres March 31.

The highly anticipated series will draw a lot of attention due to its stars (Katherine Langford and Dylan Minnette), its celebrity producer, and of course, the engrossing plot. When teen Hannah (Langord) takes her life, she leaves behind tapes explaining the 13 reasons she decided to do so. Her classmate Clay (Minnette) takes it upon himself to confront the individuals that led to Hannah’s demise.

Before you sit down to binge the series, read on for 13 factoids about 13 Reasons Why—and the book that inspired it—that will impress your friends.

1. The book it was based on, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, is a bestseller.

Not only that, but since it was published by Razorbill in 2007, it has remained on the New York Times bestseller list for eight straight years.

2. Selena Gomez has been involved with this project for a long time.

The superstar and her mom Mandy Teefey first discovered the book in 2008 at a Barnes & Noble, and soon after negotiated the rights with Asher. They’re both executive producers on the series.

3. The adaptation was written by an award-winning writer.

Brian Yorkey, Pulitzer and Tony award-winning writer of Next to Normal penned the adaptation for Netflix.

4. It was originally intended to be a film starring Gomez.

Obviously the 13-episode Netflix format is perfect for 13 Reasons Why, and Gomez seems fine with staying out of the spotlight on the series, telling the New York Times, “The older I got—once I left my series, once I started to go for roles that weren’t that age range — it organically began to become a project that I knew I would be behind the scenes with.”

5. The inspiration for the novel came to Asher in pieces.

Asher told the following story to Teen Vogue:

“I had the idea for an audio tour type of book years before I came up with the idea for this. I was in Las Vegas and there was a exhibit of King Tut’s tomb, and it was an audio tour. At the very end of that, I just thought it would be a really cool structure for a novel, but I just didn’t have a story to go along with it. Just a few months later, I had a close relative who attempted suicide, who was the same age as Hannah: a junior in high school. So I had this structure and I had this issue now, which was very important to me, but it was years before those two ideas came together. That’s when I was in the car driving and I immediately felt that was the best way to tell this particular story.”

6. You’ve probably never seen Katherine Langford before.

Hannah Baker is the Aussie newcomer’s breakout role. From Perth, Australia, Langford answered the worldwide casting call with a mailed-in tape (how very ‘Hannah’ of her), which was followed by a Skype call with director Tom McCarthy, according to Yorkey. If you like her in this YA adaption, we have good news: She’s also set to play Leah Burke in the film version of Becky Albertalli’s Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda.

7. But you should definitely recognize Dylan Minnette.

No stranger to the big and small screens, Minnette has played roles in Goosebumps, Scandal and more. He even played a character who also went by Clay in TNT’s Saving Grace.


8. Kate Walsh did a lot of prep to get into her role.

The Grey’s Anatomy vet tried to make her performance as Hannah Baker’s mother as honorable as she could. “I spoke to two parents that had a child that died by suicide and I spoke to a psychiatrist, who deals with family therapists, but particularly with families that lost someone in the family to suicide,” she told E! News.

9. The series was shot in an actual high school.

Well, mostly, according to Minnette and Langford in an interview with PopSugar. They began in Northern California’s Analy High School. “We started in summer, but then the school year started, so they built the entire hallway you see in the school,” Minnette added.

10. Shooting was so difficult, they had therapy dogs visit the set.

The series covers many heavy issues, including depression, suicide, and sexual assault, to name a few, so naturally the stars would need cheering up every once in awhile. “I know there was one scene, I wasn’t around, but they had therapy dogs on set. There was a puppy per hour,” Minnette recalled in a recent interview.

11. Minnette influenced Clay’s taste in music on the show.

“I had a dialogue with Brian [Yorkey] from the get-go about what songs should be on the soundtrack,” Minnette has said. “I love that he was so open and it was very much a collaboration. There are so many artists on the soundtrack that I’m so proud of. And Clay’s room is filled with posters of my favorite bands.” Like who, you ask? Arcade Fire, The Shins and Bon Iver for starters.

12. You won’t see Gomez on screen, but you will hear her.

Speaking of music, Gomez released a snippet of herself covering 80s hit “Only You” on Twitter on March 29, which will appear on the show’s soundtrack.

13. You can listen to recordings of Hannah’s tapes.

On the Thirteen Reasons Why book website, you can listen to the entire series of recorded tapes, as written by Asher. They’re quite eerie, but they play out in an interesting (and spoiler-filled!) way.

13 Reasons Why, Streaming, March 31, Netflix