Penn Badgley at the premiere of the TV show You at the Paleyfest Festival in New York, September 6, 2018. MediaPunch/Shutterstock
The dangers of being Joe Goldberg. Penn Badgley has shot a lot of crazy scenes for you, but the hardest part is not shooting murder, but masturbation.
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“I’ve done it on camera so many times. It’s weird—you don’t think it’s going to make a big difference,” the 35—year-old “Gossip Girl” contestant said on Wednesday, July 13, in an issue of Stitcher’s podcast “Podcrushed.” “And then you find a camera on your face in front of a group of people, knowing that, in all likelihood, millions of people will see it.”
The lightweight actor has shot a lot of sex scenes over the years, both for the Netflix series and for other projects, but he admitted that solo moments can actually be more difficult. “I have to say that sometimes these scenes are more difficult than with a person, because it’s like, ‘OK, this is what I’m doing,'” he explained.
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It also doesn’t help that you, the directors, keep giving him the same—and somewhat impossible—advice.
“I always got a note to make it less creepy,” he joked. “They say, ‘Close your eyes, or go faster, or go slower.’ I’m like, “What? This man is fucking killing people and masturbating on the street. Are you saying I’m making it creepy? How am I making this creepy?”
At one point, director Lee Toland Krieger specifically told Badgley that the scene might be less unpleasant if he closed his eyes, but the actor objected. “I was like, ‘Oh shit… that’s the point!'” he recalled.
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The Margin Call star has openly spoken about how uncomfortable he feels playing Joe, beloved by many fans, despite the fact that he is a prolific killer. “All my biggest fears and hopes for people’s participation [in the show] have come true,” he told Vice in January 2020. , and just be really into it. … It was both pleasant and disturbing.”
He later noticed that embodying a psychopathic character became even more challenging after he became a father. Badgley and his wife Domino Kirk welcomed a son in August 2020. He is also the stepfather of 13-year-old Cassius, whom 38-year-old Kirke shares with Morgan O’Kane.
“I was curious what my new fatherhood was like—how it would affect my experience with Joe and playing with him,” the Slap graduate told Access Hollywood in October 2021. “[Joe] is just so morbid in his obsession, kind of like self-preservation, a primal instinct. Sometimes it almost made it harder for me.”