VALLEJO (KPIX 5) — The path to stardom is usually a long one. On Sunday in downtown Vallejo, it stretched for blocks as thousands of young people showed up for an open casting call for the controversial Netflix teen drama ’13 Reasons Why.’
“They’re looking for boxers, cheerleaders, baseball players, athletes and stuff like that,” said aspiring actor Jerrod McHenry.
The popular show that has raised some concerns over its dark content surrounding teen suicide films frequently in Vallejo and was looking for extras for the upcoming second season.
Sunday morning, producers were simply collecting information and photos. They gave no indication of what they were looking for.
“Sometimes if you don’t get a part, it’s because maybe you remind them of someone you don’t like, so it’s just…you don’t know going in there,” said extra hopefully Natalie Colfescu.
’13 Reasons Why’ is a dark tale about a victimized girl who kills herself and leaves behind tapes explaining how the people in her life drove her to it. Aubry Kahalekulu and Darian Tiner are hoping for a part.
But they also experienced the suicide of a friend just two months ago.
“None of us even knew that he was in trouble. It’s because we didn’t know those warning signs and we didn’t look at those warning signs,“ said Kahalekulu. “But after watching season one, it’s like, ’Oh, OK, that’s what we should have looked out for.’”
There is also a fear that all the drama will glamorize suicide, encouraging others to do it as well. But Sharon Menefee says that’s not what she saw.
“It’s dramatic. It’s vicious. It’s sad and everybody gets affected by it. And it’s not glamorous,” said Roseville parent Sharon Menefee.
Holly Baker told KPIX 5 the controversial drama opened up new lines of communication with her 13-year old son Kyan.
“Watching it with him was one of my favorite parenting tools I’ve had to be able to talk to him about how to treat people and how it affects them,” said Baker.
It may be harsh, but the story of ’13 Reasons Why’ is also true to life. And it’s clear there is no shortage of people who want to be a part of telling it.
When the show debuted, one school district in San Mateo and Foster City reportedly sent a letter warning parents of the program’s content and encouraging them to talk with their kids before seeing it.