The Casting Secrets You Need to Know About
13 Reasons Why‘s Ross Butler
May 24, 2018
is all anyone can talk about at the moment. Season 2 was released at the end of last week, and we’re fairly certain most fans of the Netflix series finished the newest 13 episodes by Sunday night. (We know we certainly did.) And, while we could certainly 13 Reasons Why pick apart each episode, piece-by-piece, today, there’s only one thing we’d like to talk about: Ross Butler.
The 28-year-old, Asian-American actor, who portrays Zach Dempsey on the drama, quickly became a fan-favorite as more and more of his character’s backstory was revealed. We’re not gonna say he wasn’t problematic, because he totally was, but you end up feeling for the guy… at least a little bit.
’cause Ross did such a great job with the part, we started wondering about all of his casting secrets. Like, we know we looked at the
casting secrets for , as a show, but we wanted to know about the 13 Reasons Why K.C. Undercover/ Teen Wolf/ Riverdale alum, specifically. NGL, these are pretty darn juicy:
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Ross was part of the OG
Mortal Instruments casting race.
Harry Shum Jr. took on the role of High Warlock of Brooklyn Magnus Bane on Shadowhunters, Godfrey Gao portrayed the character in 2013's The Mortal Instruments. However, Godfrey wasn't the only one up for the part — Ross Butler was in the running!
"Feeling particularly warlocky today. A new Magnus Bane has entered the fray, " the actor tweeted in May 2012, along with a picture of himself with Magnus-like eyeliner, contacts and a quiff.
He continued to express his appreciation for the series' fans' support in him portraying the warlock, tweeting, "@drama__queenc @TMI_Institute thanks for the love! Let's do thiiiisss. Ross Butler for Magnus Bane! #RB4MB" and "@jadakinns thank you! It's nice to know I can fashion myself after a 800 year old warlock and still look good 😉 #RB4MB !" (FYI, #RB4MB = Ross Butler for Magnus Bane.)
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The actor also tried out for the 2017
Power Rangers movie.
There were a bunch of young talents up for the part of Zack Taylor (a.k.a. the Black Ranger) in last year's
Power Rangers reboot. Ross was one, Brian 'Sene' Marc was another, as was Daniel Zovatto. However, the role ended up being filled by Ludi Lin.
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Crazy Rich Asians!
In a recent interview with
Vulture, the thicc star revealed that he auditioned to play Constance Wu's love interest, Nick Young, in the upcoming comedy Crazy Rich Asians.
"I think I was just too young," he said of not snagging the part. "I mean, I was still playing a teenager [on TV], so I can't be a professor at a college. I don't think I was anywhere close [to being cast] because I was still playing a 16-year-old! But I figured I'd read for it anyway and see what happens."
It doesn't seem like he harbors any hard feelings about
Henry Golding's casting in the role, though, as he's still excited for the flick. "I can't wait for that to come out," he continued. "It's gonna show people that there is a culture that wants to see this type of story."
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Wanna know the real reason he dropped out of
In the same Vulture interview, the 6'3" stud also explained his decision to leave
Riverdale, saying, "Before Season 2 was confirmed for 13, I had to make the decision of whether I wanted to focus on one character or split two characters and have a smaller role on both shows. Reggie's a great character, but it's a different tone. I connected with Zach on a much more real level where I didn't have to create so much of a character for him. Reggie's more outspoken, like that jock archetype. Zach is too, but Zach has more colors, at least from what I saw."
"I was in this weird floating space where the CW had recast Reggie," he continued, "but Netflix still hadn't confirmed that Season 2 of
13 had been picked up. Thankfully, it did. I had lunch with Brian Yorkey, the head writer and executive-producer, and he dropped the news of what was gonna happen with Zach."
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K.C. Undercover character was OG meant to be African-American.
Yes, Brett from
K.C. Undercover was actually meant to be portrayed by a Black actor. "The biggest thing for me was that role galvanized me to continue to go down this road of changing Asian stereotypes," Ross told Seventeen.com. "The role was originally cast as African-American and then they recast. I went in for the chemistry reads and I was the only Asian guy in the room. There were three African Americans, a caucasian guy, and me."
"I remember being really insecure, like, 'I'm the token Asian, so they can pitch it and see how it looks, but they are probably going to to go African-American again,'" Ross admitted. "But when I found out that I booked it, I was like, 'Okay, this is something.' I booked a role that wasn't written for Asians and race didn't play into the character at all except for when they showed my dad, who was Asian — which made sense. But other than that, he could have been played by anyone."
"I'm really grateful to them because it was my first sort of leading role on a Disney sitcom," he added. "The big thing was that it really gave me confidence that what I was doing wasn't for nothing."
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RB actually stopped auditioning for Asian-specific roles.
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images
"[After] I started getting auditions and seeing that all the auditions I was getting were these stereotypical roles, that's when I really first realized that there weren't any Asian-American male role models," he told
Mashable. "And it occurred to me that that’s what needed to change."
The actor told his agent not to send him out for "Asian roles," and that's when he started seeing a difference in the parts for which he got to read.
13 Reasons Why, in particular, all Ross really knew was that the production team wanted a diverse cast — that's what drew him in to the project.
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He would've loved to play the male lead in Disney's live-action
Prior to the news that Captain Li Shang would NOT be a part of Mulan's story in the 2020 live-action reboot about the famed heroine — we know, we're still just as shocked as you are — Ross Butler revealed that he would've loved to play the leading male character in the production.
Mulan is an iconic story for the Asian-American community," he told Seventeen.com last year. "I love the idea of it. Of course, I would love to read the script and everything, but I'm sure that Disney would do a great job of portraying it how it needs to be done. That's always something I'd want to do. It would be huge to represent a leading Asian man. Of course, if I ever got contacted about it, I would have to contain my excitement. That's something I'm going to keep my eye out for sure."