LATE NIGHT PATROL. His first acting gig in the controversial “13 Reasons Why” has brought unexpected fame for Tommy Dorfman. DA MAN chats with the young actor on his exciting career
One of the most talked about TV series to come out of Netflix this year is “13 Reasons Why”. The hype surrounding the show is not just because it’s produced by Selena Gomez or that it’s based on a novel by Jay Asher, but mostly due to the sensitive topic it centers on, teenage suicide. Becoming one of the most tweeted about shows since it was released has not only made it a hit, but also turned the actors involved into stars.
One of the actors involved in “13 Reasons Why” is Tommy Dorfman, who plays Ryan Shaver, a classmate of the main character that has been marked as one of the 13 reasons she committed suicide. The 24-year-old actor who only has a strew of small acting credits to his name before landing a role in the hit show discusses with us his humble beginnings and the fame that follows his new found fame.
Hat and Shirt by Guess, jeans by Frame, shoes by Common Projects
DA MAN: When did you know you wanted to be an actor?
Tommy Dorfman: I always knew, from the beginning, that I wanted to live in some world of fantasy. As a kid, I spent So much time in a day-dream like state and that followed me into adulthood to a certain degree. In high school, I decided that I would pursue acting as a career. It’s been a gift since graduating college to have a job that allows me to create characters and tell stories and play in a way like I’m a kid again.
DA MAN: How did you eventually start your career on stage?
Tommy Dorfman: I started as a classical ballet dancer and transitioned into acting in high school. I studied acting in college as well.
Outfit by Tommy Hilfiger
DA MAN: What went through your mind when you started filming for the show “13 Reasons Why”?
Tommy Dorfman: What a gift and a blessing it is to get to do what I love alongside extremely talented and experienced people.
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DA MAN: What’s your reaction towards the success of the show?
Tommy Dorfman: I’m still shocked. Shooting is a highly insulated environment, where I forget that what we’re working on might be seen by people – let alone millions of people across the globe. I’m pleased that it’s had such an impact of viewers and has started conversations about suicide and bullying an abuse amongst kids and their parents, teachers and students, news anchors and guests.
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DA MAN: Can you tell us your approach to playing your character Ryan Shaver on the show?
Tommy Dorfman: Ryan is a poet, so in my research I started reading a lot of poetry. I love creating characters because I often learn more about fields that I didn’t particularly have an interest in before. I’d never read poetry, outside of school, until I took this job. I like to make playlists with music my character would listen to. I also worked to find that balance with Ryan between being an egotistical, self-serving teenager and having heart.
Jacket by Vivienne Westwood
DA MAN: You apparently have a huge social media following, how do you feel about your response and responsibility towards teenage following?
Tommy Dorfman: I love my new fans. I feel like, almost overnight, and this is weird to say about myself, I’ve become a queer advocate without even meaning to. Just being myself publicly. Because of our show, and the stories we tell, I feel a great sense of responsibility to our fans and viewers. I’m a people pleaser, and I want to help everyone who DM’s me, so I make sure to promote organizations that fans can reach out to if they’re struggling.
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DA MAN: Following your current success, what are you future goals or plans?
Tommy Dorfman: This is my first ever acting job really. I’ve never done a move, so I want to do that. I hope for a season two. I’d love to develop a TV show as well, since I’ve always loved good TV. But basically, at the end of the day, I want to do meaningful work that I’m proud of – whether only 3 people see it or 300,000,000.
Outfit by Guess, boots by John Varvatos
Outfit by Guess, boots by John Varvatos