Penn Badley proved he could play a creepy stalker remarkably well with his role as Joe Goldberg in the Netflix series You. In each season, Joe finds a new woman to obsess over, stalk, and on some occasions, even kill. In the past, Badgley has made it clear that his You character’s actions are detestable. However, Badgley recently revealed what he would do if he crossed paths with Joe in real life. The answer is surprisingly compassionate.
Penn Badgley understands why fans romanticize Joe Goldberg
For some reason, fans of You have sometimes ended up romanticizing Penn Badgley’s character Joe Goldberg. Perhaps it’s because Joe is so skilled at blending into normal society and charming the women who are the apple of his eye.
Make no mistake, Joe is a murderous stalker. Badgley doesn’t want viewers to forget that, but he understands why they sometimes do. “It’s not a clinical portrait of a serial killer,” he said on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
“I think it’s intended to function as a social commentary,” he continued. “I struggle greatly with the conflict of playing such a guy and him being partly so likable and people having such a thirsty response to him.”
“It says something about how much we are willing to be patient and forgive someone who inhabits a body that looks like mine — the color of my skin, my gender, these sorts of privileges — and how much less willing to forgive people who don’t fit those boxes.”
Here’s what Penn Badgley would do if he met his ‘You’ character in real life
Though Penn Badgley sees his You character for what he really is, he seems to feel a touch of sympathy for him. In an Entertainment Weekly exclusive clip from his Stitcher podcast, Podcrushed, the actor revealed what he would do if he crossed paths with Joe
“So, let’s say he was a person I was obsessed with and, somehow, I could meet him in a controlled circumstance, and he was interested in listening to me,” Badgley said on the podcast. “And, by the way, it would be in my tone. The question is simple, but it would be in my tone.”
“I really, at this point, and I think I’ve been clear about how much I detest all of his deeds, so, in that context, I would actually try to love him,” the actor continued. “Because, the truth is, he’s never gotten that. So I would ask Joe… I, honestly, feel like I would look at him for a long time.”
Penn Badgley thinks Joe Goldberg needs love
Throughout You, the Netflix series dove into Joe’s past. Though it’s obviously not an excuse for his murderous behavior, Joe had a traumatic childhood His mother dated abusive men, one of whom Joe shot to protect her. He then ended up in foster care and was eventually adopted by Mr. Mooney, who locked him in a cage in the basement.
“Because of my relationship to him, I would try to love him.” Penn Badgley explained of his You character, “I’m not saying he deserves that. I’m not saying anybody else should do that. I’m saying I would try to love him.” The actor added, “He needs that. He needs love. It’s like, I would hug him… I would hold him.”
All episodes of You are currently streaming on Netflix.
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