Penn Badgley Opened Up About Why He Wanted to Initially Turn Down His Role in "You"

We've been following Joe Goldberg's twisted romances for four seasons, but according to actor Penn Badgley, this most recent season might look a little different. "I asked Sera Gamble, [the] creator of the show, 'Can I just do no more intimacy scenes?'" he said in the Feb. 9 episode of the "Podcrushed" podcast. "This was actually a decision I had made before I took the show. I don't think I've ever mentioned it publicly, but one of the main things is, 'Do I want to put myself back on a career path where I'm just always the romantic lead?'"

The 36-year-old actor shared even more about his discomfort with sex scenes in a recent interview with Variety on Feb. 16. "Having done a fair amount of [sex scenes] in my career," he noted, "It's not a place where I've blurred lines. There's almost nothing I could say with more consecration. That aspect of Hollywood has always been very disturbing to me — and that aspect of the job, that mercurial boundary — has always been something that I actually don't want to play with at all."

Badgley also revealed that his request for fewer intimate scenes was largely due to his relationship with Domino Kirke, whom he married in 2017 and shares 2-year-old son James with. "Fidelity in every relationship, and especially my marriage, is important to me. And yeah, it just got to a point where I don't want to do [intimacy scenes]," he explained.

In the Variety interview, the "You" star added that his fidelity, in fact, was the reason he initially wanted to turn down the role of Joe Goldberg entirely. "I didn't tell anybody that, but that is why."

Yet ironically enough, Badgley said his wife "encouraged" him to pursue the role. "I wasn't going to listen to anyone more than her," he explained.

Though he worried his recent decision to request fewer sex scenes could hurt his career, he went for it. "I said to Sera, 'My desire would be zero [sex scenes]. To go from 100 to zero,'" Badgley told the "Podcrushed" hosts. But at the same time, he knew to keep realistic expectations due to the nature of "You."

"I signed this contract. I signed up for this show. I know what I did. You can't take this aspect out of the DNA of the concept, so, 'How much less can you make it?' was my question to them," he said.

Thankfully, Badgley said Gamble respected his openness and made some concrete changes. "She didn't even bat an eye. She was really glad that I was that honest," he said. "She appreciated my directness and she appreciated that I was also being reasonable and practical. And they came back with a phenomenal reduction."

The first five episodes of "You" season four are available on Netflix now. Stay tuned for part two of the series, set to release March 9.

— Additional reporting by Taylor Andrews