The students of Liberty High School are back in session this week, roaming the halls of Sebastopol’s real-world Analy High in a fictional universe full of intrigue, heartbreak and flashbacks involving their troubled classmate named Hannah Baker.
Filming of Netflix’s popular “13 Reasons Why,” Season 2, has been underway since at least last week, though fans trying to glean secretive production details say a June 12 tweet from star Christian Navarro make clear the first day of shooting passed more than four weeks ago.
“Ready to make some magic,” Navarro posted on Twitter.
The crew of “kids” that surrounded Baker in Season 1 — apparently unaware or uninterested in the downward spiral that resulted in her graphically depicted suicide in a controversial scene — are back on campus, confronting the frightening gamut of challenges facing modern youth.
Little more can be said because of non-disclosure agreements that are part of the contract between Paramount Pictures Corp. and the board of West Sonoma County High School District, which approved a second season of filming last May.
“It’s not as if we can keep it quiet over here,” said Jennie Bruneman, director of facilities, maintenance and operations for the high school district. “It’s pretty apparent that they’re filming.”
But even the exact dates of shooting were not open to discussion, Bruneman said.
What she could disclose was only small adjustments needed to accommodate continued campus activities during filming of the show.
Between independent study, volleyball, basketball, football, cheerleading, soccer and other activities, members of the school community continued to come and go as usual, she said. So, too, did local residents who use the track to exercise or run their dogs on campus.
“There’s always hitches in the giddy-up,” Bruneman said, “but so far it’s been pretty smooth.”
The talked-about series revolves around the life of Baker, who, after arriving as a new student at Liberty High, finds herself the target of deceitful friends and cyberbullies and a victim of sexual assault before she decides to take her life. Adapted from a 2007 young adult novel by author Jay Asher, the title references 13 cassette tapes in which Baker, before her death, describes the various students and incidents that drove her to take her own life.
The debut last spring shined a spotlight on very real tragedies, but prompted widespread concern from some corners about its depiction of depression and suicide and the potential for the program to inspire imitation.
Sebastopol was among several North Bay communities used for location shoots for the first season. Vallejo, San Rafael, Mill Valley and Crockett are among the others, according to news accounts.
Under the contract between the school district and Paramount, filming is to be permitted on as many as 30 select dates between June and November of this year, at a cost to producers of $63,000.
The production company also agreed to pay for any staff overtime, modifications or site restoration made necessary by the filming, as well as any extra days beyond the 30, the contract states.
The agreement also gives the district discretion over scheduling during the school year, which begins Aug. 15.
Bruneman noted that district students and some recent students are among the beneficiaries of the campus’ adaptability to the small screen.