Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why” was a labor of love years in the making for superstar Selena Gomez. But that emotional investment, she said, only fueled her passion for the project.
“I was very loyal to the project for 7 years,” Gomez, an executive producer of the series, told CNN at the show’s Hollywood premiere. “I got a little controlling.”
Gomez’s mother, Mandy Teefey, is also an executive producer, having first discovered the book back in 2009.
“13 Reasons Why” follows the story of a young girl named Hannah (Katherine Langford), who leaves behind a series of audio recordings that explain why she committed suicide.
While Gomez claimed she was “not a boss” on set, she did take a firm hand in the making of the show.
“When we first started working on this, I told my mom that I’m definitely harder at being a producer. I was a little more defensive,” she said.
It stemmed from a desire to do the source material – and the book’s author Jay Asher – justice, Gomez said.
“You get nervous, you don’t know if people are going to like something,” she said.
Thus far, the reviews have been largely positive for the teen drama, which is streaming now on Netflix.
Gomez said the importance of the show’s subject matter – about bullying, depression and suicide – is what helped her stay the development course for seven years.
“People – no matter what age – you can relate to this story,” she said. “Everyone has gone through this. And more than ever, this should be talked about today.”
Dylan Minnette, who played President Grant’s (Tony Goldwyn) ill-fated son Jerry on “Scandal,” takes on the role of shy Clay Jensen in “13 Reasons Why.” He’s one of Hannah’s classmates and the recipient of the audio recordings that put the viewers in Hannah’s shoes.
Minnette, who interacted with Gomez on set, called her “the warmest, nicest person ever” and praised her skills as a producer.
“If she keeps producing, she’s going to be a favorite producer for everyone, I’m sure,” he told CNN.
Topher Gauk-Roger and Jessica Iavazzi contributed to this report.