By Samantha Simon
Updated Jan 25, 2018 @ 9:15 am
Dylan Minnette
Credit: VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images

Fans of 13 Reasons Why know Dylan Minnette as Clay Jensen, the heartbroken teen entrusted with 13 secret tapes that his crush, Hannah Baker, recorded before she took her own life. The hit Netflix drama was quickly picked up for a second season after it premiered, and while we’re still waiting to find out when the show will return, Minnette is already back on Netflix with a brand new project, available to view now. The thriller, The Open House, stars the 21-year-old actor as a teen named Logan, who moves to a creepy home in the mountains with his mother following a family tragedy. While the paranormal activity-packed flick is very different from 13 Reasons Why, Minnette’s latest character might seem … familiar.

I think the people who identified with Clay in 13 Reasons Why can also identify with Logan in The Open House,” Minnette told InStyle. “They’re both going through an extreme sense of loss and finding their way after tragedies. I think they’re related in that sense, although I do think Clay has more hope of sorting through his issues than Logan does in this house."

Dylan Minnette
Credit: Netflix

Minnette is pretty good at leaving the heaviness involved with filming projects like 13 Reasons Whyon set when he checks out for the day, he said. “I’m the kind of person who can go home and let things go. I’m definitely able to leave that stuff at work." But while shooting The Open House, it was particularly tricky to escape work—mostly because he never really left. “We were up in the mountains, and I was staying in a lodge hotel room that was so tiny, it almost felt like I never left the set,” said Minnette. “So that film, if anything, was one that would stick with me the most when I’d go home. The feeling and the vibe of being in the mountains—I just never felt fully comfortable up there.”

Minnette doesn’t want viewers to feel too comfortable when watching the story unfold, either. “I don’t want to terrify people, but I hope this story sits in the back of their minds,” he said. “If someone who’s selling their home watches this and is planning to have an open house the next day, I think it will make them think twice. In the best way possible.” Keep reading for our full conversation with Minnette.

VIDEO: Watch the Trailer for Netflix's 13 Reasons Why Season 2

What stood out to you about The Open House when you read the script? It’s not your average thriller horror movie. It’s more of a character piece between my character, Logan, and his mom, Naomi. Most of the film actually plays as a compelling drama, and I thought it was cool that it blends genres. There’s a lot of depth to Logan, specifically. He’s not the kind of horror character where you don’t care if he gets killed. You really start to feel for him, and that makes the last 15 minutes of the movie all the more effective when everything goes berserk.

How did you prep for the role? I didn’t have that much time to get in Logan’s headspace, because we started shooting about five days after I wrapped season one of 13 Reasons Why. We really all just showed up at a strange house in a strange town and started making a movie. We had no idea what was going to happen, but we jumped into it—and that’s exactly what the characters do in the movie. Making the movie was bare-bones—we had no money, which was kind of fun in its own right. I’ve never done anything on a smaller scale than this, and that’s why I’m so happy with the final product.

Dylan Minnette
Credit: Netflix

This isn’t your first horror film. What do you love about scary movies? I am obsessed with the horror genre. I’m surprised that I’ve already done three at this point—Let Me In, Don’t Breathe, and now this—but I feel like they’ve all been intelligent and stand alone. There’s so much intelligent horror being made right now, and it’s a genre that I’m totally happy to be a part of if there’s a great project. I feel like there’s a chance I won’t be doing a horror thing ever again, though. I think a trilogy of thriller-horrors is probably good enough, or I’ll become “that guy.”

It’s been almost a year since 13 Reasons Why. Has it been a total rollercoaster? The past year has been the most eventful year of my life so far. It’s been a whirlwind. My name is known more now than ever, and there’s a lot more pressure on my acting career in terms of projects that I choose to do. A lot has changed for me in other areas, too. I’ve always wanted to have a career in music, and I’m super excited about my band, Wallows. It’s in the beginning stages of becoming a career, and I’d love to keep exploring that. The acting world is great, but I’ve been doing it for 12 years, and it’s fun to do something new. I’m not doing any other projects until further notice because I want to make that a reality. There are a lot of doors open right now—I’m not being offered movies left and right by any means, but there are things that I’ve always wanted to do that I can do right now, and I’m not going to be afraid to focus on them.

Dylan Minnette
Credit: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

13 Reasons Why opened up a major conversation about mental health, especially in teens. Was that important for you? That was absolutely important to me. As an actor, it’s very rare that you can do a project that can potentially change someone’s life or allow them to feel like they can open up to people. Up until that point, I had been in projects that were great, but they weren’t really doing anything for anyone—they were just entertainment. 13 Reasons Why is, I think, really fine entertainment, but also extremely important. It made these incredibly important topics of discussion mainstream discussions, and people are more aware. They can take what they want from the show, for better or for worse, and they can have their own reactions. But at least people are talking about it, forming opinions, standing up for themselves, and listening to and defending each other. It happened exactly the way it was supposed to, and I hope we can continue to do that in the show’s future. I haven’t seen any of season two yet, so I’m excited to see what happens myself.

Dylan Minnette
Credit: Beth Dubber/Netflix

How did you feel when you found out it was picked up for a second season? It was kind of anti-climactic, because I kept hearing that it was going to happen. So when it officially happened, it was like, ‘OK, now I can prepare to actually go back up Noroth to film for six months.’ But I was excited—I was mainly curious to see what they were going to do. I had heard ideas but I was really interested to see how they were all going to come together. I was much more in the dark without a book to go off of for season two. I knew every single event that was going to take place in the entire first season from the get-go, because our show runner, Brian Yorkey, told me everything. This time, he wanted all of us to figure things out as we went. Every script was a surprise, which was fun. I couldn’t see the big picture of season two until it was over, and then I was like, “That was good!”

Dylan Minnette
Credit: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

What’s it like to work with Selena Gomez, who executive produces the show? She’s everything you would hope she would be. She’s extremely pure and honestly such an awesome person. She’s super casual, and that’s what I like about her. She isn’t on set much—she kind of lets us make what we’re making. But she’s always watching, and she can see things that no one else can. Whenever I do see her, she’s awesome and so respectful and welcoming. I can’t say enough about her.

What are you currently watching on Netflix? I don’t have any time to watch anything right now, but I’m dying to watch The End of the F***ing World. I loved Mindhunter and Big Mouth last year. American Vandal was brilliant, too. I was obsessed with it and applaud absolutely everyone who made that thing. I didn’t expect it to be as amazing as it was, and in my opinion, it was the best thing on Netflix last year. Other than Netflix, my favorite thing on TV right now is Mr. Robot. It’s beyond brilliant and so underrated in the sense that not many people watch it. It’s such a special series, and it’s really just its own entity. There’s a lot of great TV—I wish I could keep up with it.