(Spoilers ahead for Seasons 1 and 2 of “13 Reasons Why”)
Justin Prentice is nothing like the rapist he plays on Netflix’s teen drama “13 Reasons Why.” In fact, he’s just as angry as you are about his character’s light sentence of three months probation.
Prentice is well aware of all the controversy surrounding “13 Reasons.” Critics say that the show, which was based on Jay Asher’s novel of the same name in Season 1 but ventures beyond the source material for the second season, too realistically depicts the suicide of its main character, Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford). In Season 2, there is a graphic sexual assault scene that caused an uproar online, and the show’s LA premiere was canceled after a recent school shooting in Texas because of a thwarted school shooting storyline at the end of the sophomore run.
But Prentice wants viewers to start conversations of their own and “change the world.”
“I think that people like Bryce can change,” Prentice said. “The way that they see other human beings, the way they view women, I think that’s all subject to change if we challenge the way they see things.”
“I didn’t know to what extent of evil he was,” Prentice said of his character, Bryce Walker. “For the callback, they added the scene which almost word for word, funny enough, ended up being the scene with Clay in Season 1 where he comes to confront me and get me on mic. So that’s when I knew, at that point, like ‘oh, he like actually rapes people and this is really intense and dark.”
Prentice said that during that audition process, the Brock Turner case was in the news, “so that was very fresh in my mind.”
In Season 2, Bryce gets arrested for raping Jessica (Alisha Boe), but he’s only sentenced to three months probation. Brock Turner was sentenced to six months in jail after being convicted of sexual assault of an unconscious person, sexual assault of an intoxicated person and sexual assault with intent to commit rape, according to the New York Times. (The California judge who gave Turner that sentence was recalled on Tuesday).
“Fair? No. Realistic? Very much so,” Prentice said of Bryce’s punishment. “I think we all knew it was coming, those who work on the show … And that pisses people off, and you should be pissed off. But yeah, it’s a light slap on the wrist and it sucks, but he’s a white straight guy and he comes from a power family, and they have money and they have ways of making things go away.”
Watch the full interview above.
“13 Reasons Why” Season 2 is now streaming on Netflix.