Penn Badgley Opens Up About the Emotional & Mental Challenge of Filming Gruesome ‘You’ Scenes

When it comes to gruesome TV scenes, Netflix thriller You has it all. We’re talking brutal murders, mutilated bodies, meat grinders used to dispose of human evidence and burying people, alive.

Simply reading these words can evoke a visceral reaction in many of us – horror, disgust, nausea. So when star Penn Badgley has to live and breathe these intense moments as the disarmingly charming yet murderous Joe Goldberg on set for weeks at a time? It’s understandably a challenge.

Speaking on his Podcrushed podcast, the actor reveals there’ve been times where he’s broken down on set:

“I really need a moment sometimes,” he tells co-hosts and friends Sophie Ansari and Nava Kavelin.

“And even speaking of what I’m doing from a completely conceptual secular sense, if I’m really trying to process this reality of what somebody’s doing. Like, this is awful. Awful. Worst of humanity really, right? If I’m really processing that and present with it, it’s like the worst. So honestly before and after takes is sometimes when I actually break down.”

He explains that he turns to a “hardcore prayer regiment and meditation” to help him prepare and adds, “I can’t have food in my stomach” to presumably avoid feeling sick.

But sometimes, there are scenes which are unpredictably difficult to film: “You know handling the fake dead bodies is actually surprisingly hard.  It just kind of turns your stomach because the skin feels real and there’s actually human hair.”

When asked by Nava whether others on set are there to console him, Penn shares that people are generally “quiet and respectful” of his experience. He also adds that as a director himself on several episodes, he’s been able to be there for other actors, “because this show is dealing with a lot of heavy stuff.”

Beyond talking about coping with gruesome scenes, the episode is also a hilarious discussion between friends about life’s important questions … like who Penn believes Joe Goldberg would “FMK” (f***, marry or kill). You can check it out in full when you subscribe to Podcrushed’s YouTube Channel HERE.

You Season 4 will be out on Netflix in two parts, with the first half launching Feb. 10, 2023 and the second half out on March 10.

(Feature Image Credit: Mike Pont/Getty Images for A+E)

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