Watch ‘You’ Star Penn Badgley Turn on His Dead-Eyed Stalker Stare
Following the release of season two of You on Netflix, series star Penn Badgley has once again been doing the rounds to remind audiences that his character, Joe Goldberg, is actually not a good guy, saying that one of the themes of the show is just how far people are willing to go to forgive a good-looking white man.
Of course, Badgley couldn’t be any further from the sociopath that he plays in You — but in a recent appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, he demonstrated how easily he can slip into character, going “from smiling to creepy” in a matter of seconds.
The transformation is “shockingly simple,” Badgley explained: his character’s behavior is so out of the realm of what’s acceptable that the audience immediately interprets his expression differently. “Put yourself in a really questionable circumstance, an inappropriate circumstance, and then you do nothing,” he said.
As if we needed any more proof that Badgley’s gaze can be deeply unsettling, Netflix recently tweeted a video of context-free clips from the second season of You minus Joe’s voiceover narration. Without that inner monologue to keep the viewer distracted, it becomes evident just how much time Joe spends on the show staring into the void.
You is still so weird without Joe’s voiceover in Season 2… pic.twitter.com/AIFhFb5R8S
“I struggle greatly with the conflict of playing such a guy and him being partly so likeable and people having a thirsty response to him,” Badgley told Colbert. “I have to say though, it’s not entirely fair to put that on the viewer, because we’re purposefully creating a device that is meant to be provocative, hopefully thought-provoking, and not just titillating. It’s not a clinical portrait of a serial killer… It’s intended to function as social commentary.”
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