From the interview archive.
You started acting really young! Did you ever at some point think, “Hey, maybe I don’t want to act?” or have you just been going with the flow?
Actually, I was a bit hesitant at first to pursue acting due to the constant amount of ridicule I received from the other kids in high school. Acting kind of fell into my lap from an early age and you know what… I’m so glad it did. I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people, share stories and make new friends. Acting has been my escape, my saving grace.
13 Reasons Why has been the subject of a whole lot of controversy since its release, are you bothered by some of the critique it has gotten regarding its portrayal of suicide and depression?
Bothered, not at all. Surprised a bit? Yes. Our sole purpose of bringing 13RY to the screen was to bring awareness and start conversation about issues happening on a daily basis that are too often overlooked. However, I do feel there is much more good than bad. There is no better feeling than meeting someone who is a fan of the show and hearing how much the show has impacted their life in a positive way.
You mentioned being ridiculed in high school, how did you handle bullying?
Growing up was tough. I was so worried about what others thought of me that I was consistently pretending to be someone I wasn’t just to “fit in.” Luckily, I had a very strong relationship with my parents. They were my shoulder to lean on. Regardless of what I was going through, they were always there to listen.
What do you ultimately hope viewers take away from the series?
Something I’ve learned from being a part of 13RY is words are so powerful. Once they leave your mouth, there’s no taking them back. So I encourage everyone to be more cognizant of what they say to others, because you never know the impact it might have on someone else.
Rumor has it there will be a second season, which, much to our disappointment when your character Jeff Atkins was killed (which I was so not expecting!), we gather you might not be a part of it. If that’s how it plays out, what will you miss most about this cast?
Yes, the rumors are true. There WILL be a second season. Now, whether or not we get to see Jeff again is something we’re all going to have to wait and see. I would love nothing more than to work alongside everyone once again.
Since Jeff wasn’t an original character in the novel, how much of a heads up did you have about his passing?
The creator of 13RY, Brian Yorkey, broke the news to me extremely early on that my character would be the victim of an unfortunate accident.
Jeff was such a great friend to Clay in the series, would you say you and him are alike in the way you show compassion for others?
After working alongside Dylan and getting to know him as a human being and as a friend, I would say, absolutely. He is one of the most unselfish, kind hearted human beings I’ve ever had the chance to work with.
What’s your favorite way to brighten somebody’s day?
It’s extremely easy to make someone else’s day. The smallest acts of kindness go such a long way. From asking someone about their day to simply holding the door open for the person walking in behind you. It’s that easy and it doesn’t cost you a thing.
Without including Jeff, out of all the characters in the series, who would you say you’re most alike?
I would have to say Tony. Throughout the series, Tony stays loyal to Clay, looking out for his well being regardless of what everyone else thought of him. He stood up for what he believed in and never allowed anyone to hinder his decision.
Upcoming, you’re starring in Bright with Will Smith, can you tell us about your role and working with Will?
Working on Bright was an unforgettable experience. Working alongside some of the most well respected actors in Hollywood, including Will was a dream come true. Growing up as a child, I’ve always looked up to him not only as an artist, but as a human being.
Will Smith is obviously quite the legend in the action world, did he have any advice for you as a rising star?
We didn’t get a chance to talk too much but the one thing he said that stuck with me was, “Keep on going.”
You’ve become a bit of a Netflix craze with how many of your films debut there, what are you currently watching these days? Any series you’re embarrassed about binging on?
I’m currently waiting for Season 2 of Stranger Things to air so I can just vegetate all day in bed watching. I actually just finished watching Narcos, which I must say, was phenomenal. Okay and I just binge watched Big Little Lies…