‘I Would Play Joe As Long As It Takes To Get Him To His Rightful End’ STELLAR Meets Penn Badgley

Bronwyn O'Neill chats to You star Penn Badgley.

Penn Badgley Pic: Netflix

With the second half of You season four just around the corner, we here at STELLAR caught up with star Penn Badgley.

There’s plenty of questions to be answered with the final five episodes dropping on Netflix this week.

And we tried to get to the bottom of them all as we chatted to Penn about playing Joe for almost a decade, visiting Ireland and, of course, Taylor Swift.

Penn Badgley Pic: Netflix

Hi Penn. Congrats on season four of You. How are you keeping?

I’m pretty good thanks.

We have to ask, we’ve seen Joe hop around the world from America to France to England. Is there any chance he could pop up in Ireland?

He’s coming to Ireland! I can’t say where it even ends in season four, I can’t say if we’ll have a season five. So I simply can’t answer your question! Can I speculate? Would I like to go to Ireland? I so long to go to Ireland. I would love to shoot there. It would be really, really, really cool to have the show there. But I am also exhausted by constantly having to move for the show. I’d love to shoot a movie in Ireland.

You play a pretty intense character on You. When you get home how do you stop being a serial killer? How do you compartmentalize?

Well, A. Don’t Kill People. That’s how I come home and not be a serial killer! And I continue not killing them! So it’s not serialised. So I am serially not a killer. So that works. It’s working really well. I’m like, “I want to kill her. But no, no. Don’t kill that person!” That’s what you have to do.

The way I treat acting is not that serious. I treat the responsibility overall seriously. But to me, it’s not a hard state of mind to get out of because I’m not getting into somebody else’s mind. I am just responding spontaneously to what I have to do. So hopefully that’s compelling. That’s all I can do as an actor. I don’t know if other people can approach it that way.

But for me, here’s where I do struggle coming home. I’m tired. It’s a lot. I want to be present with my family. That’s the extent of it. I think that’s something all actors struggle with.

Penn Badgley Pic: Netflix

We won’t spoil season four, but if Netflix gave you free rein, how long would you play Joe for?

Honestly, I would play Joe as long as it takes to get him to his rightful end. And when I say rightful, I mean one that makes sense and is incredibly gratifying for the viewers. One that is emotionally resonant and makes sense.

To be honest, I think if there’s a season five that’s what is going to happen. I think it’s one more. If it took two and it really needed to do two, I would do two. Three’s too many. I would be about 40 years old! I would have been playing him from 30 to 40. And that is too many years of playing Joe Goldberg. [Laughs] It’s too long, too long for Joe!

You’ve spoken openly about being uncomfortable with people loving Joe. Why do you think people gravitate towards him?

Why is a deep question. The question really is why are we fascinated with serial killers or villains or tyrants or demagogues? People who rise to power in a really awful way. I think some of the answers are clear. We want to understand it better. I think because people want to understand better that’s great. That’s a useful way to watch the show. We should understand them better, we should understand the origins of something like evil behaviour. And then prevent it.

But then there’s a side of it, where we have an unhealthy obsession with people who are bad. And we are attracted to it. And we wallow in the fantasy of it and live vicariously through it. That is also understandable. But we should probably do less of that.

Penn Badgley Pic: Netflix

And quickly before we let you go. There’s been plenty of Taylor Swift in You’s soundtrack and you’re a fan on TikTok! Do you think Joe is a Swiftie?

I want to give credit to real Swifties. I am not a true Swiftie. I love and respect Taylor, as a person and as an artist. But I am not a Swiftie. If anyone was to ask me real facts and stuff about her songs, I wouldn’t be able to give them what they want. But all love to Swifties. Joe might play being a Swiftie to seem woke but the truth is he would despise her.

You is currently streaming on Netflix


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