Penn Badgley Says He Wants to Direct a Feature and Will Likely Not Helm More ‘You’ Episodes

"I loved stepping behind the camera," Badgley said. "But I think it’s maybe being a bit much, being Joe and directing."
Penn Badgley
Penn Badgley
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Penn Badgley is saying hello, you, to the director’s chair.

The “Gossip Girl” alum made his directorial debut with Episode 9 of “You” Season 4, marking a pivotal turn both in Joe Goldberg’s psyche for the upcoming second half of the highly anticipated season, as well as a major career change for Badgley.

“I’m definitely going to direct more,” Badgley told IndieWire. “I would love to direct something else. Features, probably.”

He continued, “[But] I don’t know if I can direct more of this show because I’m not able to watch enough, just from a purely practical standpoint. There’s not enough time for me to watch every take, so therefore I’m kind of directing with my eyes closed a little bit.”

The “Easy A” and “John Tucker Must Die” heartthrob added of playing Joe Goldberg, “And because of the role and I’ve been doing it for a while, I am very rooted in it. I really enjoyed it. I loved stepping behind the camera. But I think it’s maybe being a bit much, being Joe and directing. I had no time at all. I had no time for life for about four weeks.”

“You” showrunner Sera Gamble spoke to Badgley’s “grounded, centered” personality off-screen as key to his success behind the camera.

“I knew that even though this would be very stressful, he is incredibly good at handling stress,” Gamble told IndieWire. “When he first called and said, ‘Hey, I’d like to direct an episode in the upcoming season,’ the first thing I thought about was that ideally this happens and you clear the actor out of two episodes: the episode before so he can prep, and then the episode he’s shooting so he’s not directing himself in every goddamn scene. And so I said, ‘Are you sure you want it to be this one, because I don’t think we can clear you with everything? We’ll set you up for success. Our producing director will help you do three jobs at the same time, but this is not going to be an easy first thing.'”

Gamble continued, “But I discovered that he thinks very visually. No one has spent more time on set than him. He has a very confident grasp of having a few beautiful moments in your mind that you really fight for as a director, the difficult ones where you’re kind of hanging off a ledge to get it done. He named it for what it was on the first day of prep. I thought it was some of the best performing. His acting in Episode 9 is incredible.”

Badgley, who recently addressed what his acting career would look like without sex scenes, told Interview magazine that he is also looking to write features as well.

“I was thinking to myself, ‘I don’t know what I have to say about anything at this point,'” Badgley said about his acting career. “I’m more interested in hearing other people’s stories. That’s why I’m moving into production and direction and then, down the line, writing.”

The “Podcrushed” podcast host added, “[As an actor] I’m interested in true stories. I would love to engage in the telling of something that intersects with social issues, the story of a journalist, something like that.”

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