- 1. Career
Penn Dayton Badgley is an American actor. He is known for his roles as Dan Humphrey in The CW teen drama series Gossip Girl (2007–2012) and as Joe Goldberg in the Netflix thriller series You (2018–present). For Gossip Girl, he received six Teen Choice Award nominations, and for You, he earned MTV Movie & TV Award and Saturn Award nominations.
Badgley first became known for portraying Phillip Chancellor IV on the soap opera The Young and the Restless (2000–2001), which earned him a Young Artist Award nomination, and he followed this with roles in the comedy films John Tucker Must Die (2006) and Drive-Thru (2007). Badgley went on to appear in a number of films, such as the thriller The Stepfather (2009), the teen comedy-drama Easy A (2010), the financial thriller Margin Call (2011), the biographical film Greetings from Tim Buckley (2012) and the independent drama The Paper Store (2016). For Margin Call, he won an Independent Spirit Award.
Badgley and his mother moved to California so that he could pursue an acting career, and he recalls, in an interview, departing for Los Angeles at age 11. He soon began doing voiceovers for children's radio stations in Hollywood. His first credit was voice work for the video games Mario Golf 64 and Mario Tennis 64 in 1999 and 2000. Badgley had his first screen acting credit on an episode of Will & Grace and he subsequently appeared on shows such as Daddio, The Brothers García, and What I Like About You. Badgley's first noticeable role was as Phillip Chancellor IV on the soap opera The Young and the Restless, which he portrayed from 2000 to 2001. He was nominated for the Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a Daytime Series in 2001 for his performance, which brought him recognition.
In 2002, Badgley starred in The WB's comedy-drama series Do Over as Joel Larsen, a 34-year-old man who gets a second chance to get his life right, thanks to a freakish accident that catapults him back to 1980 as a 14-year-old. He went on to star in two other WB series: The Mountain from 2004 to 2005, and The Bedford Diaries in 2006. Badgley's first major film credit was 2006's John Tucker Must Die, playing the role of Scott Tucker. In its opening weekend, the film grossed a total of $14.3 million, ranking third in the US box office results for that weekend. He later appeared in Drive-Thru, co-starring future castmate Leighton Meester.
In 2007, Badgley was cast in The CW's teen drama series Gossip Girl as Dan Humphrey, based on the book series of the same name by Cecily von Ziegesar. He initially turned down the role, but accepted after the producers struggled finding someone to fill the role. His performance as Dan Humphrey was praised by audiences and critics alike, and earned him six Teen Choice Award nominations over the show's run. Jason Gay of the Rolling Stone particularly complimented his characterization, writing that "while another actor may have played Dan as a blah straight man, Badgley imbued him with an occasionally obnoxious know-it-all-ness." In 2009, Badgley starred in the thriller film The Stepfather, a remake of the 1987 film, as the stepson of a serial killer.
Badgley next played Todd, the love interest of Emma Stone's character, in the 2010 teen comedy film Easy A, which was a critical and commercial success, earning him a Teen Choice Award nomination. He next appeared in the financial thriller drama Margin Call in 2011, for which the ensemble cast was critically acclaimed; he won the Robert Altman Award for his performance, which is presented at the Independent Spirit Awards. Badgley portrayed Jeff Buckley in the 2012 biopic Greetings from Tim Buckley; the film follows the journey Buckley took in grappling with the legacy of his late musician father, Tim, leading up to and culminating with his 1991 performance of his father's songs. For the role, Badgley took guitar and vocal lessons. He joined the cast of Parts per Billion in December 2012, opposite Alexis Bledel and Teresa Palmer; the film was released in 2014. Also released in 2014 was Cymbeline, where he portrayed the orphan Posthumus.
Badgley and others formed a band and released a song titled "Easy" on SoundCloud under the name M O T H E R; the song quickly gained popularity and was posted on numerous blogs. The group changed the spelling to MOTHXR in 2015, citing a cease-and-desist from another band with a similar name. They promptly signed with the labels Kitsuné and Washington Square Music, the New York City-based subdivision of the Razor & Tie label, which led to MOTHXR releasing their debut album, Centerfold, on February 26, 2016.
Badgley had a recurring role in NBC's 2015 miniseries The Slap, based upon the Australian series of the same name, and had a minor role in the 2016 film Adam Green's Aladdin. Badgley won acclaim for his role in the independent film The Paper Store (2016), opposite Stef Dawson and Richard Kind, receiving Best Actor at Oxford International Film Festival and a Special Jury Mention at Manchester International Film Festival.
Badgley stars as Joe Goldberg in the Netflix series You, formerly Lifetime's television adaptation of the book of the same name since September 2018. His performance was lauded by critics, with IGN calling it his best performance and writing that Badgley was "doing some of his best, most unhinged work in the series. His charming nature and playful face are the perfect, twisted mask for the “Nice Guy With Control Issues” lurking underneath". Samantha Highfill from Entertainment Weekly included his performance in her predicted list of contenders for the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards. Badgley received a Saturn Award nomination for his performance.
In October 2019, Badgley was cast in the independent film Here Today opposite Billy Crystal and Tiffany Haddish, which was released in May 2021 to mixed reviews from critics. In 2023 Badgley stated he requested his character on "You" to have fewer sex scenes out of respect for his real life marriage.