Netflix Adapting ‘13 Reasons Why’ Into Selena Gomez Series (EXCLUSIVE)

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Netflix is in final negotiations to adapt the best-selling young adult novel “13 Reasons Why” as a 13-episode series with Selena Gomez set to exec produce, Variety has learned exclusively.

Based on the 2007 novel of the same name from author Jay Asher, “13 Reasons Why” tells the stories of the late Hannah Baker, a high school student who committed suicide.

The story will follow a boy named Clay through an emotional night when he receives a shoe box of cassette tapes from his late classmate and crush Hannah, after she recently committed suicide. On the tapes, which are mailed with instructions to pass along from one student to another, Hannah explains to twelve peers how they each played a role in her death, by giving thirteen reasons explaining why she took her life.

The project hails from Anonymous Content and Paramount TV with a pilot penned by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Brian Yorkey.

Before landing at Netflix as a series — which has been in talks at the streaming service for over one year — “13 Reasons Why” had been in development as a feature film at Universal.

After reading the book, Gomez, along with her mother Mandy Teefey and producer Kristel Laiblin, brought the book to Anonymous Content for a screen adaptation. The trio of ladies will all exec produce, with Teefey producing through her Kicked to the Curb shingle, along with Joy Gorman Wettels of Anonymous with Michael Sugar and Steve Golin, who will also serve as non-writing exec producers.

“13 Reasons Why” marks Gomez’s first major exec producing credit, though she did serve as an EP on Disney Channel’s “Wizards of Waverly Place” TV movie, “The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex” in 2013. Gomez got her start on “Barney & Friends” and rose to fame on Disney’s “Wizards of Waverly Place,” on which she starred for its four-season run.

The multi-hyphenate social media maven, who has over 47 million Instagram followers and over 30M on Twitter, recently released her second solo album “Revival” off the heels of her platinum single “Good For You.” She lent her voice to Adam Sandler’s animated “Hotel Transylvania” and its sequel, plus had starring roles in “Rudderless,” alongside William H. Macy, “Spring Breakers” with James Franco and the 2011 rom-com “Monte Carlo.” She also joined Season 9 of “The Voice” as Gwen Stefani’s team adviser and appeared in Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” music video. Coming up, Gomez will star in “Neighbors 2,” the follow-up to Zac Efron and Seth Rogen’s 2014 hit film.

Yorkey, who will continue as writer on the full Netflix miniseries, won three Tony Awards for his 2010 rock musical “Next To Normal.”

For Paramount, “13 Reasons Why” marks a continued effort into original series, joining projects including TNT’s “The Alienist” and EPIX’s “Berlin Station.”

“13 Reasons Why” was published by Razorbill, an imprint of Penguin Group, and has been on the New York Times bestseller list for eight years straight, being printed in 35 languages. The book inspired the Thirteen Reasons Why Project, an online community where readers can share their reactions to the story, in an effort to spread the discussion on teen suicide and bullying prevention.

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  1. dan morris says:

    It was one of the top rated tv show which was voted by millions especially young viewers.

  2. Yves says:

    I believe that US children and young people are one of the most paranoid, neurotic and unhappy in the world !!! Why give so much importance to a poem, for example ?! Such a small thing, shall we say! The ruling nation of the planet presents itself as a very immature people! Help!

  3. Haedyn says:

    Are there going to be auditions?

  4. Ashleysonger says:

    When will it be realeased

  5. Simply just had to state Now i’m delighted I stumbled on your website page.|

  6. hiimalyssab says:

    I really do hope that this turns out to be good. I adore the book with all of my heart and absolutely love Jay Asher as a writer. I have seen Selena Gomez’s work in the past, and I do think that she is a good actress. I just don’t see her as Hannah Baker. Hannah’s character spoke to me in a way that no other character of any other book ever has. I understood her frustrations, and I felt the loneliness right there with her. The book is filled with all these emotions, and I really hope Gomez is able to recreate them for the screen. The fact that the book is being turned into a thirteen episode mini series is another thing that struck me as odd. This book is one of the most inspiring things I’ve ever read, and it’s made me understand the world in a way I never thought I could. I don’t want the new writers to drag it out over eleven to twelve hours worth of screen time if it will be butchered. I understand that each reason will be an episode, and that there’s still the parts where Clay is being shown, but I just don’t know if the new writers will be able to lengthen the book to make it fit twelve hours. But I get that it would be hard to fit all thirteen reasons in a two and a half hour movie. I think it could’ve been doable and still amazing, but i understand. I’m really hopeful that this turns out good– for the sake of the book.

  7. Sara says:

    I’ve been waiting forever for this.

  8. Happy says:

    Selena is the most talented young lady in this business, Cant wait to see this series. So exited! I am a faithful Netflix watcher.

  9. i do agree with that idea , just for selena gomez , good for selena gomez project ,im happy for that to

  10. DougW says:

    She’s had the option on this book for a while now. I was hoping she wouldn’t end up making it. While the novel is well written and has been praised for its anti-bullying message, it’s other more disturbing message is that you’re not responsible for your own life and sometimes it’s all THEIR fault.

    • yo! says:

      @DougW. i’m sure the Netflix execs agree with you. Hence… That’s why I think they are going to make it as a horror show. Like the Gift meets Unfriended. Because it would obviously be unwatchable otherwise. But great decision doing a project w/ Selena Gomez, Netflix. Love her!! She’s so talented & lovable. Guaranteed lots of ppl in my age / Selena’s age demographic will be tuning in just cuz she’s in it :)

    • Jay says:

      She wasn’t blaming them for what she did. They helped her realize the reality of this world. Which was, she had no control over anything. She was trapped in a world where she felt alone, scared, and useless and each of those events clarified that for her.

      • Kim says:

        I really look at it as more of an eye opener. The message is we should take more care in how we treat each other.

      • DougW says:

        Her character takes all this time before she kills herself to make these tapes to be distributed to each of the people she feels have contributed to her decision. And if you think the book is saying no one has any control of his/her life and so is therefore justified in killing him/herself, what kind of message is that for young adults or anyone else for that matter?

  11. Markus says:

    Back before the 1990’s, actors well into their 20’s played high school roles. Selena is 23 and looks and sounds young, and her role in James’ Franco’s “In Dubious Battle” James highly praised as an amazing piece “of Art”, so Selena should do well here.

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