According to his so-called Wikipedia page, Penn Badgley is known for playing “villainous and off-putting characters”. Most notably, stalker, serial killer, and general psychopath Joe Goldberg in Netflix’s You, but also for his portrayal of smarmy know-it-all Dan Humphrey in the original series of Gossip Girl. Now, Badgley has confirmed something we all already knew: that Dan Humphrey “is the worst”.
Humphrey, AKA Lonely Boy, was controversially revealed to be Gossip Girl in the show’s final episode, after a six season run. Now, in a new interview with Esquire, in which the publication asked Badgley to list Dan’s worst actions, the actor has agreed that the character “sucks”.
“He’s the worst, but what’s the actual worst thing he did? OK,” said Badgley. “He outed his sister losing her virginity. These storylines are twisted. This is villainous. I am known for playing off-putting and villainous characters, how did I end up here?”
Badgley said the last scene on Gossip Girl – “where I had to say Gossip Girl is dead” – was the most challenging because “I could not keep it together. Something came over me and I kept laughing. I couldn’t stop”.
Moving on to his latest role, the murderous Joe Goldberg, Badgley said he could get into the mindset to play the character because, for him, “acting is a very spiritual thing, and I’m just present with the words I read on the screen”. He continued: “When it’s awful and it makes your skin crawl, that’s what comes up, and that’s what I do. I think if I tried to profile him, really like a psychopath, he’d be disgusting and unwatchable.”
You season three dropped on Netflix last week, and is a truly insane rollercoaster of lies, adultery, and, of course, murder. Watch the trailer here, and see Badgley discuss Dan Humphrey (and more) below.