Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why is as popular as it is controversial, and Katherine Langford opened up about one of the most difficult scenes for her to film.
The series, based on the popular book by Jay Asher, deals with several different issues that teens face today in a blunt and honest manner. Among these are suicide, alcohol abuse, drinking and driving, sexual assault, and rape. The series has been blasted by mental health professionals as glorifying suicide or not expressing the finality of it well enough. However, its popularity is undeniable, so much so that it has earned a second season.
Katherine Langford, who plays Hannah Baker in the series, opened up about what it was like to film the scene in which her character commits suicide, and why it was one of the hardest scenes for her to portray on camera.
The actress revealed that the scene was physically difficult for her because she had gotten a cold the night before and was required to sit in a bathtub full of water for several hours while they got the shot right.
But Langford revealed that the scene wasn’t difficult for the 13 Reasons Why actress due to the nature of it, but because she didn’t want to let Hannah go. Originally, the series was supposed to be a one-off and a second season was not planned. Therefore, the Australian actress thought this would be the last time she would be playing her beloved character, as it was the last scene she filmed for the series.
“I was sick and I had to let her go and I was crying in my trailer, because I’m like, ‘I don’t want to let her go.'”
13 Reasons Why was the Perth-based actress’ first major role, but there is no doubt that she has a long future ahead of her in Hollywood.
Although the scene was emotionally difficult to film, the producers of the show were also sure it would be difficult for many people watching the series. Therefore, they put a trigger warning before the episode. But according to some, it wasn’t enough.
The Washington Post, for example, was extremely critical of the show’s message and how it was executed.
“[The show is] remarkably, even dangerously, naive in its understanding of suicide, up to and including a gruesome, penultimate scene of Hannah opening her wrists in a bathtub. Whatever Thirteen Reasons Why gets right about teen tendencies toward melodrama fades as the series fumbles around with tone and emotional accuracy. The characters very rarely come across as real, perhaps because the story itself is so contrived,” TV critic Hank Stuever wrote.
Several of the producers and actors in the series responded to the controversy before Katherine Langford did. She finally opened up about it when she was a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. She concluded that everyone’s experiences and realities are different, and that not everyone was on set during the planning stages of the show.
“And I’m like everyone’s feelings are valid, so I’m not going to tell anyone to feel anything differently, but personally being directly involved in the show and seeing the thought and consideration that went into it.
“Also being a young adult, playing a young adult and covering issues that are relevant, I feel really proud of the way we covered it and the way we showed things.
“The other cool thing is, when Netflix says, ‘Yes we made this piece of entertainment’, and there was a focus on trying to show it in a way that served justice to message in the book.”
[Featured Image by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]