Dylan Minnette (’13 Reasons Why’) reflects on gun violence storyline: ‘We’ve got to keep talking about it’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

“I was excited to not have to have the book to follow anymore,” reveals Dylan Minnette about the second season of “13 Reasons Why.” The freshman year of this Netflix series was faithfully adapted from Jay Asher‘s bestseller about high schooler Clay Jensen (Minnette), who struggles to come to terms with the suicide of his classmate Hannah (Katherine Langford) as he listens to a series of audio tapes she left behind. “It was an amazing structure for the first season, but I was excited for the show to find its own legs … without the book as a backbone.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Minnette above.

SEE ’13 Reasons Why’ renewed for season 3: Find out when controversial Netflix drama will be back

In season two Jensen is still haunted by Hannah’s spirit, but this time as an apparition that appears to him and not in flashbacks. For Minnette, “it was a really difficult plot line to navigate, acting with a person who’s not really there, who really is just part of this person’s psyche.” He had to navigate those scenes “without her seeming like a supernatural figure, or without it being too melodramatic.” But it was “really easy to collaborate” with his co-star Langford to find the right balance.

After grappling with teen suicide in season one the show tackled more hot-button topics in season two, including high school gun violence. In fact, a premiere event for the show had to be cancelled when 10 students were killed in a school shooting in Santa Fe, TX, on May 18. “We are just growing so numb,” reflects Minnette. “You hear news of it and it’s not even surprising anymore.” He doesn’t know if “13 Reasons Why” will change that, but he believes “we’ve got to keep talking about it,” so he was eager to tackle that controversial storyline.

SEE ’13 Reasons Why’ composer Brendan ‘Eskmo’ Angelides on finding the right tone for the show’s rape scenes [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

At age 21, Minnette has already been acting for well over a decade. He previously won a National Board of Review Award as part of the ensemble cast of “Prisoners” (2013). He is also known for other film work including “Let Me In” (2010), “Labor Day” (2013), and “Goosebumps” (2015). And he has been prominently featured in the TV shows “Prison Break,” “Saving Grace,” “Lost” and “Scandal.”

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