This post contains spoilers for 13 Reasons Why.
1. He’s originally from Old Hickory, Tenn. “I grew up with a cabin so we’d always go out and hunt and fish and all that good stuff,” he told the Celebrity Café. “All of the cliché Southern things one would imagine.” Later, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting.
2. He connected to 13 Reasons Why because of his personal experiences with bullying. “I was on a basketball team as a kid, and there were two twins who were a little older and a little bigger than I was, and there was some bullying going on there,” he told Screener TV. “I would talk to my parents about it, which was great… This is the South, so they’re like, ‘Just stand up to ’em! Tell ’em you’re going to knock their teeth in, then you won’t have a problem anymore.’ I did that, and it worked, but that doesn’t always work in real life.”
3. He wanted to portray Bryce as more nuanced than the clichéd high school jock. “He takes care of his bros, he’s captain of the football team, the baseball team, he’s an MVP superstar, so he’s got all of that going for him,” he told the Huffington Post. “But as you get further into the depth of the series, it obviously gets more difficult. One of the things I wanted to make sure I portrayed was that [Bryce] is not the Machiavellian villain. I didn’t want Bryce to be that. He’s a teen in high school, which makes it even more terrifying. I wanted it to be a real kid in a high school setting who unfortunately is capable of some monstrous acts.”
4. He researched Bryce’s character carefully. To prep for the scene in which Bryce sexually assaults Hannah in a hot tub, he spoke to a psychiatrist to understand what his character might be thinking and feeling in the moment.
5. He hopes this isn’t the end of 13 Reasons Why. “I would love to have a second season,” he told Romper. “I myself want to see what happens to all these characters. I’m just as invested as everyone else.”
6. You might recognize him from Glee, where he played Becky’s boyfriend Darrell. The role drew controversy because Becky had Down Syndrome, whereas Darrell did not. “I was honestly very honored to play the character,” he told the Huffington Post. “With a lot of these social stigmas, they just don’t need to be in place. Just by talking about them, we can often shatter them. People with Down Syndrome are people. Human beings are human beings, regardless of what makes us different.”
7. He began acting professionally in 2009. Aside from 13 Reasons Why and Glee, you might have seen him on iCarly, Awkward, The Mindy Project, iZombie, Criminal Minds, NCIS, and CSI.
8. His girlfriend is the actress Annika Pampel. You might have spotted her on The Originals.
9. He’s an Aries. His birthday is March 25, 1994. This year, Annika threw him a surprise party.