Penn Badgley On Playing A Stalker In #MeToo Times On Lifetime’s ‘You’ – TCA
Lifetime is so excited about its cyber stalker-romance thriller You from Greg Berlanti and Sera Gamble that they greenlit a second season ahead of the first season’s September 9 premiere.
Off the bat at the series’ TCA panel on Thursday, Gossip Girl alum Penn Badgley was asked what it means to play a gentleman stalker in the current #MeToo era.
“I felt the most troubled by it, which is why Greg insisted I was the right guy for the role. I’m personally interested in how the response is to this show,” said the actor, who is also intrigued over how audiences will “love an evil white man.”
“I think it will add to the conversation, it will create its own conversation,” added Badgley. “I just focused on his curiosity and sensitivity; there are so many things that are human.”
Adapted from Caroline Kepnes’ novel, You is billed as a 21st century love story that asks, “What would you do for love?” When a brilliant bookstore manager Joe Goldberg (Badgley) crosses paths with Guinevere Beck, an aspiring writer (Elizabeth Lail), his answer becomes clear: anything. Using the Internet and social media as his tools to gather the most intimate of details and get close to her, a charming and awkward crush quickly becomes obsession as he quietly and strategically removes every obstacle – and person – in his way.
Season 1 is set in New York and Season 2, which goes into production later this year, takes place in Los Angeles. In regards to characterizing the locales, Season 1 centers around a certain group of people who have money in New York, a demo that Joe and Guinevere aren’t a part of, while Season 2 2 “is a brutal takedown of Los Angeles,” said Gamble. “I recognized myself in there.”
“One of the major headlines of the series is ‘Privacy is gone,'” added Gamble, who emphasized that the series will dote on the aesthetic of perception: How Joe views Beck, and how the audiences sees her; hence the irony of social media and the misconceptions that can be drawn about people. From the trailer we see that Joe is able to hook Guinevere’s heart after his intensive research on her (the two of them make out on a New York subway platform), however, he knows that her college professor, Dr. Nicky (John Stamos), has the hots for her, and well, Joe takes care of him.
“Joe isn’t a Mr. Robot, but an intelligent guy who understands the way people use the Internet,” said Gamble, adding, “there’s something so fundamental about this show about the things that are universally feared by women.”
Said EP Sarah Schechter, “It looks at masculinity and how men and women move through the world differently.”
Badgley mentioned that audiences will draw similarities between Joe on You to his Dan on Gossip Girl. In regards to a reunion of that hit CW series, Badgley said that decision is out of his hands and his guess is that “I don’t think it will ever happen.”