It’s no secret that 13 Reasons Why is the most talked about show at the moment. While the Netflix series gets positive attention it also gets negative attention as well. It deals with many topics in today’s culture that are considered taboo to talk about such as suicide and sexual assault. However, it’s important to bring them up because unfortunately, they both do happen.
Justin Prentice, the actor who plays Bryce on the series, sat down with Prune magazine and talked about his experience and what it was like playing a character who raped a young woman. For those who haven’t seen 13 Reasons Why, Bryce comes from a wealthy family where he always got what he wanted. From that stems a personality where Bryce feels like he is entitled to everything.
Justin not only gives a very candid interview about these tough issues but also spills some secrets about the series in general that all fans will want to get a glimpse at.
Justin knows Bryce doesn’t think what he did was wrong.
Justin believes there is a lot of factors that make Bryce the way he is. He said, “I think it’s a lot of environmental circumstance. I think it’s probably his upbringing. For me building back story, in my mind, his father is very similar if not worse than Bryce is. He’s grown up taking notes from his father and what not mentally, so it’s natural for him to see women as sexual conquests and something that he deserves for being part of the Walker family.”
“He doesn’t see what he’s doing as rape, which it 100% is, but he doesn’t see it as that. In his mind, these women should feel lucky for being with him because he’s Bryce and Bryce is awesome. It’s very interesting and unfortunate because it’s very relevant to what a lot of people go through in this day and age. It’s relevant to the lack of educating and understanding that kids have in terms of sexual assault and what is consent. It raises some pretty good talking points.”
Justin was uncomfortable at times while playing Bryce.
When asked if it was uncomfortable to film the tense senses, Justin said, “Very much so, yes. We all got really close. I was really close to both Katherine (Langford) and Alisha (Boe), they’re like my little sisters. We had kind of a trust built up already, which helped tremendously with filming them, but of course, it’s uncomfortable and emotional. We powered through it. Our producers, writers, directors were phenomenal in making sure we felt comfortable and walking us through everything. We talked about camera angles in terms of what would be shot and how it would be shot, so it was a wonderful experience overall.”
Justin gets hate on social media because of who he is in the show.
People recognize Justin on the street and he gets a positive response but online it is much different. Justin revealed, “Everyone that has come up to me has been super sweet and a big fan of the show. On social media though, yes. You have that barrier to hide behind so people are super vocal of “rot in hell you rapist” and that type of thing, which is encouraging. That means I did my job. I take them all as compliments. My fans will often defend me, so a lot of my comment section is mass warfare of people going back and forth, which is amazing.”
Justin was drawn to the script because it addresses a lot of important issues.
“It’s a very important story. It runs a gambit of relevant issues, there are a lot of key points that can be addressed and hopefully get people talking about these issues more. From suicide to rape to cyber bullying, it addresses a lot of key issues and that was really cool for me. Also, playing a role that’s not me in person is rewarding as an actor, so there was that. Brian Yorkey, Tom McCarthy, and Selena Gomez all being attached was a huge selling point. I was stoked from the get-go, even to audition for it.”
Justin originally auditioned for Bryce which he says doesn’t happen often.
When asked if he auditioned for Bryce and only Bryce, Justin spilled, “I did, which I think is uncommon in the cast. A lot of the cast started out with a different role than they ended up booking. My representation read the breakdown for Bryce and they were like “yup, Justin”. Not sure how I feel about that, but I went in for Bryce and I booked Bryce.”
Justin relates the most to the characters, Clay and Tony.
He said he can relate to Jeff Atkins as well but originally responded with, “I fall somewhere in between Clay and Tony. I’m a little more outgoing than Clay, but I’m not super suave and cool like Tony, nor do I have a sick Mustang.”
Justin had no idea 13 Reasons Why would get the reaction that it did.
When asked if he figured that the show would blow up as much as it did, Justin said, “No, I had no idea. Knowing that Selena Gomez was behind it I hoped it would have at least a little bit of traction and at least a few people would watch it and response positively. I had no idea it would have this level of success. I’m a bit of a hermit, I go out for interviews and functions, but aside from that I’m usually in my house studying. I didn’t know how big of a deal it really was until doing some on-camera interviews and being asked if I could believe how much the show had taken off. They told me it was huge and I had no idea. I’m ecstatic though, I’m thrilled and it’s amazing. It totally supersedes the graphic we were intending.”
Justin hopes that people who watch the show realize there is hope out there.
Justin has a specific message for the viewers of the show. “I hope that they realize that there is hope out there. There is help and help does help. Be it through a guidance counselor or a medical professional, or even just a friend or family member. We hope that some of these issues are brought to light in a different way to hopefully prevent these incidents from happening.
For example, a lot of people have in their mind that rape is a super brutal act that happens to someone who is kidnapped, which does happen, but there are many facets to it that manifest themselves in different ways. If someone’s had too much to drink or the person doesn’t say no, but they don’t say yes, and you continue anyways it raises the question of consent and what it is. We hope that we can prevent some of these things from happening.”