Penn Badgley Addresses 'You' Fans Roasting His Baseball Cap Disguise
By Antoinette Bueno
Mike Pont/Getty Images for A+E
Penn Badgley knows there are some aspects of You that are far-fetched.
The 33-year-old actor plays serial killer Joe Goldberg on the hit Netflix series, and the second season of the show, which debuted on Dec. 26, has received positive reviews. However, in a new Q&A with InStyle magazine, Badgley does address one thing that has bothered viewers -- Joe wearing a simple baseball when he's out doing shady deeds that fans feel clearly doesn't adequately disguise him.
"I don't know!" Badgley admits with a laugh. "Trust me, as an actor, I find it very challenging to sometimes suspend my disbelief when you're forced into a position that is just in the literal sense of the word incredible. That's the interesting thing about this show -- it works."
The show definitely does work for the internet age, spawning countless memes. Badgley reveals his favorite ones to the magazine.
"Yeah, a few people have been texting them to me and I’ve seen some," he shares. "I think the one that made me laugh out loud was the one where I've been given nails and hoop earrings. And there was a tweet with that meme that has been used so many times ["distracted boyfriend"], for so many different purposes to varying effect, and the picture finally had no text on it. The simplicity of that one was very funny to me."
Badgley also talks about the fact that he's starred in multiple social media-centric projects. On You, Joe stalks his unhealthy obsessions through their social media accounts and on Gossip Girl, his character, Dan Humphrey, reveals himself to be the anonymous blogger known as Gossip Girl at the end of the series. The magazine points out that even his role in 2010's Easy A as Emma Stone's love interest has to do with social media, given Olive (played by Stone) constantly talking to the audience through her webcam.
"I think I just happened to have found myself in projects like that -- it hasn’t been conscious," Badgley explains. "When I first read the pilot script for You, I definitely saw the similarities. I think I was really caught between being able to appreciate how that's an interesting progression of things for me, but also how it's not. We pulled off this somewhat remote possibility of the show doing just what it's done. I feel like the fact that I'm the person helps it be just that thing, because I was Gossip Girl."
As for the comparison between You fans' fascination for his character, Joe, to the attractiveness of fellow controversial fictional character Patrick Bateman -- the lead character in 2000's American Psycho, played by Christian Bale -- Badgley says he understands why viewers end up sympathizing with the two serial killers despite their reprehensible actions.
"First of all, we're not yet at the stage collectively where we're able to watch anything and not ultimately glorify it," he notes. "And then you cast people like Christian Bale, who's this tall, gorgeous talented young man, and he gives a great performance. The way that we capture things on camera is a bit surreal. It's made to be compelling in a way that may not be exactly like real life. In a way, everyone is always being toyed with."