Tom McCarthy to Follow Oscar Nominee ‘Spotlight’ with Netflix Series
Spotlight director Tom McCarthy has something of a spotty record. While balancing a robust career as an actor, McCarthy got started directing such fine dramas as The Station Agent and The Visitor, and earned his first Oscar nomination for co-writing the script for Up. His 2011 feature Win Win was solid, and Spotlight currently has six Academy Award nominations pending (including a Best Director citation for McCarthy himself), and yet there remains a stain on his filmography. McCarthy also helmed 2015’s The Cobbler, a ridiculous, risible Adam Sandler vehicle that felt like a deranged parody of a formulaic studio comedy. If the director was capable of putting his name on that radioactive pile of waste, then nothing’s beyond his reach, awards-season prestige be damned.
So Deadline's news that McCarthy will be following his critical-darling smash Spotlight with a gig directing a YA Netflix series for Selena Gomez comes as a dark omen. Perhaps McCarthy has already returned to his Cobbler days, or maybe, just maybe, we should refrain from immediately writing this project off after one sentence. A little background: the miniseries will adapt the novel 13 Reasons Why, a three-hankie drama about a young woman named Hannah who takes her own life, leaving behind a box of tapes for her classmate Clay and instructions on who needs to see each one. As Clay relays this news to 12 of his peers, Hannah’s tapes elucidate 13 rationales for her suicide. Also, naturally, Clay has a crush on Hannah.
Gomez will produce the new series with McCarthy set to direct, though whether Gomez will also appear on the other side of the camera in the role of Hannah has yet to be seen. The pedigree gets better, too — Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Brian Yorkey, author of the shattering musical Next to Normal, has written the script for this adaptation. The adolescent-soap-opera angle seems a little sticky, but hey, with the right creative team, Netflix could finally get on the teenage-drama gravy train.