Trying to wrap our heads around the idea that “13 Reasons Why” was originally going to be a movie starring Selena Gomez

By now, you’ve probably finished binge-watching every episode of the Netflix smash-hit show, 13 Reasons Why. And with all the press attached to the project, you’ve probably heard Selena Gomez’s name thrown around in connection with the title. At which point many of you probably wondered, hmmm, wait, did I miss her in it?! No, you didn’t. The 24-year-old traded in her acting credit for an executive producer’s chair instead, helping develop the book on which the series is based into a real-life passion project.

But, apparently, Selena ~was~ supposed to star in the show…originally.

In an interview with The New York Times, Selena divulged that the 13 Reasons Why adaptation initially began as a movie in which she would star. However, as happens with most Hollywood projects, the project would go on to take many twists and turns that would reshape the final packaged product. Still, Selena’s vision for the project never wavered. As a matter of fact, it was Selena’s vision for the project that held her back from acting in it of her own volition.

“The older I got — once I left [Wizards of Waverly Place], once I started to go for roles that weren’t that age range — it organically began to become a project that I knew I would be behind the scenes with,” she told the NYT.

"I actually like that I'm not in it. To be honest, this book has such a huge following. I wanted it to be credible. If I'm a part of it, that's going to cause a whole other conversation."


Seeing 13 Reasons Why come to life onscreen has been a passion project for Selena for nearly a decade. Rewind to 2008, when Selena’s mother, Mandy Teefey (who also serves as an executive producer), first introduced her daughter to the book, and the two instantly related to the Jay Asher novel. In fact, the two approached Asher soon thereafter to start negotiating rights, and in no time they began development.

As for why the series didn’t pan out as a movie? Well, that one’s a no-brainer.

“One of the reasons it didn’t work as a feature [film] was that there wasn’t enough time to tell the stories of the other characters and why they were making the decisions they were making,” she told the NYT.  “[Playwright Brian Yorkey, who wrote the adaptation] was able to make them three-dimensional so that, at some point, you felt badly for them, too. That’s why the feature [script] didn’t work. Hannah just seemed mean.”

And with more screen time, that means more binge-watching time for us!

Now, back to the matter of Selena starring in the film herself. At the end of the day, we know she would’ve killed it. However, her fingerprints are undeniable on this project, and we ~totally~ respect her decisions in staying true to the project’s vision. Clearly, it worked!

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