Katherine Langford (’13 Reasons Why’): ‘Hannah wasn’t a character I could just pick up and take off’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO]

“Hannah wasn’t a character I could just pick up and take off,” says Katherine Langford about her role on Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why” as Hannah Baker, a high school student who leaves behind a series of cassette tapes detailing the reasons for her suicide. “The further we went along, the more I understood about her and began to like her and care about her. She feels real and feels like she has more of a purpose than just being a character.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Langford above.

Langford hadn’t read the book prior to being cast on the series and describes the point when she realized what the role would require of her. “It wasn’t until after I had been cast, and met with [creator and writer] Brian Yorkey and [producer and director] Tom McCarthy and some of the other cast members, and had read the book, that I understood fully the story we were telling,” she explains. That came with a lot of pressure, but “we never treated it like tackling heavy content. It was always just about trying to tell a story in the most authentic way possible.”

Langford recalls working with co-star Dylan Minnette, who plays her friend and love interest Clay Jensen. He’s “the best first on-screen partner I could ever imagine working with,” she says. “I also learned a lot from him, which I’m thankful for because he is so great in what he does.” She also has high praise for Derek Luke, who plays school counselor Kevin Porter, and with whom she shares an intense scene in the season’s final episode shortly before Hannah’s suicide; she credits both Luke and the episode’s director, Kyle Patrick Alvarez, for enabling the audience to feel the intricacies of the scene.

Langford also discusses her excitement for the upcoming second season of the show, revealing that she has already begun looking at the first scripts of season two. “I think it will give us the opportunity to continue the dialogue on things that are important,” she says. “It will be a different story, but I think it will carry on the importance of what we did in the first season.”

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