Dylan Minnette has played Clay Jensen, a leading character on Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why since the show premiered in 2017.
Originally, he was one of two primary characters in the series (the other being Katherine Langford’s Hannah Baker).
Since the third season, however, Clay has emerged as the sole protagonist.
13 Reasons Why was far from the first acting job on Minnette’s resumé and this was part of the reason (no pun intended) that he was the right person to play Clay.
Throughout the three seasons, Clay has gone through unimaginable emotional turmoil and while a talented newcomer could have pulled this off, Minnette’s experience helped Clay’s heartbreak feel palpable.
Prior to landing the role, Minnette had worked with actors including Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jason Isaacs, Cherry Jones, Matthew Fox, Elizabeth Mitchell and Emilie de Ravin.
Not only did Minnette have the experience of working extensively, he also got to learn from older, very talented actors.
As Minnette was 20 at the time 13 Reasons Why was released, he had experience of playing teenage boys with emotional issues. His roles on shows such as Lost, Awake and Marvel’s Agents Of Shield are examples of this.
This recognisability also worked in Minnette’s favour. Since the audience is intended to root for Clay, it is much easier to connect with someone whose face you already recognise.
Overall, Minnette’s portrayal of the character has made Clay feel complex and well-rounded rather than just a male protagonist on a teen drama.
Being the main character, Clay interacts with almost everyone else and likewise, Minnette has onscreen chemistry with everyone he works closely with on 13 Reasons Why.
This includes his onscreen mother Lainie Jensen (Amy Hargreaves), foster brother Justin Foley (Brandon Flynn) as well as his friends, Tony Padilla (Christian Navarro), Jeff Atkins (Brandon Larracuente), Jessica Davis (Alisha Boe) and Tyler Down (Devin Druid), among others.
13 Reasons Why has completed filming its fourth season, which stars Dylan Minnette, Grace Saif, Christian Navarro, Alisha Boe, Brandon Flynn, Ross Butler, Miles Heizer, Devin Druid, Amy Hargreaves and Gary Sinise.