Penn Badgley Asked Sera Gamble, Creator of ‘You,’ for Fewer Sex Scenes in Season 4 and She Granted His Request

Fans of the popular Netflix series You are ecstatic now that the first four episodes of Season 4 have been released, but some might be a little disappointed to learn that Penn Badgley, who plays Joe Goldberg, won’t have as many sex scenes as fans have grown accustomed to – and it came at his own request. 

Part 1 of the newest season dropped on February 9 and while fans were a little shocked at the lack of sex scenes, he explained the reasoning behind it on his podcastPodcrushed – the following day. It’s something he had asked the show’s creator – Sera Gamble – before they started filming the new season.

“So I said to Sera, ‘My desire would be zero [intimate scenes], to go from 100 to zero. But 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 explained on the podcast. 

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When Penn Badgley asked the question, he didn’t expect the producers to agree – let alone, grant his request. Much to his surprise, Sera Gamble ‘didn’t even bat an eye’ when asked and was more-or-less happy that he was being honest with them. “They came back with a phenomenal reduction,” he added.

It’s something that has been on his mind over the past few years as he examined the future of his career in acting. Before taking the role of Joe Goldberg in You, he had an honest conversation with himself and asked himself, “Do I want to put myself back on a career path where I’m always [the] romantic lead?”

While he ended up accepting the role, it was largely due to the fact that he didn’t know if he would have a career if he didn’t take it. “Think about every male lead you’ve loved. Are they kissing someone? Are they doing a lot more than that?” he asked his podcast listeners, rhetorically – and he had a point there. 

Being the romantic male lead is something he had grown accustomed to – as well as his fans – after starring in Gossip Girl (2007-2012), where he starred as Daniel “Dan” Humphrey, and The Bedford Diaries (2006), where he starred as Owen Gregory. Both roles included a fair share of sex scenes. 

Penn Badgley Says Being Married Also Factored Into the Decision

One of the major reasons why Penn Badgley is looking for less-intimate roles moving forward is because of his marriage to singer Domino Kirke. “Fidelity in every relationship, including my marriage, is important to me. It’s got to the point where I don’t want to do that,” he admitted in his most recent podcast. 

Fidelity is defined as ‘faithfulness to a person, cause, or belief, demonstrated by continuing loyalty and support.’ While sex scenes in films and on TV aren’t real, there is a bit of intimacy in that moment – which is why they might seem real, but that’s the point and that’s why it takes a committed actor to do it well.

Badgley started dating Kirke in 2014 and the couple tied the knot three years later in a New York City courthouse. At the time, he became a step-father to Kirke’s son, Cassius – a role he enjoys and takes seriously – but the two also welcomed their own child together in August 2020 – a son named James.

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The first part of You’s Season 4 is available on Netflix now, while the second part (the final five episodes of the season) will be released on March 9th. I know, it’s a whole month of waiting before we see what happens next, but you can lighten the blow by pacing yourself – that means not binge-watching it in one night!

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