Why Penn Badgley Asked For Less Sex Scenes in You Season 4

Have you noticed this season of You is a little less, well, sexy? As it turns out, that was intentional. In the latest episode of Podcrushed, Penn Badgley’s podcast, the You star said he asked to cut some of Joe’s sex scenes for a few reasons.

“I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it publicly, but it’s… one of the main things is, like, Do I want to put myself back on a career path where I’m just always a romantic lead?” Badgley said. Prior to starring on You, the 36-year-old’s claim to fame was playing Dan Humphrey—Serena van der Woodson’s on-again off-again boyfriend—on Gossip Girl. The role made Badgley a household name, but it required playing a lovesick heartthrob for six seasons. Going into You Season Four, Badgley does not want to repeat history.

“I asked Sera Gamble, creator of the show, ‘Can I just do no more intimacy scenes?’” Badgley recalled. Though You is an entirely different type of series than Gossip Girl, there was certainly a steamy-romance trope going on in the first few seasons. So much so, that when You premiered in 2018, viewers were unsure of what to make of Badgley’s character. On one hand, Joe is a violent serial killer! But on the other hand, he’s charming—and, unfortunately—quite easy on the eyes. The allure of Joe Goldberg is a twisted package deal, which Badgley said he considered while making his request. “I signed this contract. I signed up for this show. I know what I did,” he said. “You know, you can’t take this aspect out of the DNA of the concept, so, ‘How much less can you make it?’ was my question to them.”

According to the actor, Gamble was very receptive. “She didn’t even bat an eye,” he said. “She was really glad that I was honest—and she was sort of, I want to say, almost, like, empowered. She had a really positive response.” Badgley added that Gamble appreciated his “directness,” and thought the request was “reasonable and practical.” Good for them! I love when people get what they want.

Still, you may be wondering: what was Badgley’s other cause of concern? To put it simply, he’s all grown up! He has a wife and two kids, so forgive him if he doesn’t want to be bumping uglies on screen anymore. “Fidelity in every relationship—especially in a marriage—is important to me,” he said. So there you have it: a man with a plan (or two) for surviving marriage and Hollywood. At least he’s more sensible than Joe Goldberg.

Associate Staff Writer

Bria McNeal is a Manhattan based journalist who is patiently awaiting B5’s revival. When she’s not writing about all things entertainment, she can be found watching TV or trying to DIY something (likely, at the same time). Her work has appeared in NYLON, Refinery29, InStyle, and her personal newsletter, StirCrazy.  

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