Chace Crawford and Penn Badgley Reminisce About Gossip Girl: 'It Feels Like Another Lifetime'
Greetings, Upper East Siders: Lonely Boy and N have reunited to reminisce about the old days.
Penn Badgley (Dan Humphrey) and Chace Crawford (Nate Archibald) caught up over video chat for Variety's Actors on Actors issue. The two looked back on their time on Gossip Girl and opened up about their current work: Badgley's You on Netflix and Crawford's The Boys on Amazon.
"I think some of the most fun moments are in the Nate and Dan scenes," Crawford, 34, said of Gossip Girl.
The hit show centered around it girl Serena Van Der Woodsen (Blake Lively) and her wealthy friends. Badgley played Brooklyn outsider Dan, while Crawford's character was a Manhattan insider. The show also starred Leighton Meester (Blair Waldorf) and Ed Westwick (Chuck Bass), and it was narrated by Kristen Bell.
"Nate was such a tough character because you were such the straight guy. It was kind of like he was so perfect that he only had anywhere to go but down," Badgley said.
"Yeah, always punching his dad," Crawford joked of Nate's tumultuous relationship with his father. "Those were the good days, though. I don't even remember what our first moment was on set. I remember the Palace hotel. It was definitely my first time experiencing New York. We got the red carpet right away."
For Badgley, the Gossip Girl days feel like a distant memory.
"That was remarkable," Badgley said. "It feels like another lifetime to me. When I think of being at the Palace, that just feels like a different person. It feels like another world, another life. It's pretty wild."
Crawford then recounted how quickly they were treated like celebrities saying, "I'm trying to remember the name of the manager who would always take care of us."
"We're sitting there in the courtyard between takes, he'd just come over and be like, 'Camera love you,' and just walk away."
"He's the one — when Blake and I went there to eat, it was probably when we were shooting there. They had a grilled cheese sandwich there called 'The Gossip Girl Grilled Cheese Sandwich.' And I was like, 'You should just call it The Gossip Grill.' And then, he took the menu from me and went inside, changed the name right there, printed a different menu and handed me a new menu with my suggestion. And I was like, 'OK. This is a way to live.'"
Crawford then joked that the "new kids" of the Gossip Girl reboot, which will premiere on HBO Max, "won't get that treatment."
"I'm so interested to see what it's like," Badgley said of the reboot. "I wish them well. I really am also interested to see how people react to it."
Badgley also raved over Crawford's villainous character The Deep in The Boys, saying, "What I really like about your character, which is for better or worse, similar to mine, is that you start out knowing cart blanche how bad he is. And honestly, for me, not knowing the tone of the show, the first episode, it continues to unfold."
"Like, 'Oh wait.' I honestly was so excited to see you play this dignified superhero. And then I'm like, 'Oh no. It just took a turn," Badgley said to Crawford.
The Boys follows a group of vigilantes that set out to take down corrupt superheroes who abuse their superpowers.
Of Badgley's Joe — a former bookshop manager and serial killer — from You, Crawford said it's "almost like an odd continuation of Dan."
"I just find it interesting that Joe, we kind of know who this guy is. You guys as a show really go for that. It's interesting why people want to continue watching that and see where it goes. Is it torture porn? Is it shock value? People love it."
"It's all of those things and more," Badgley told Crawford. "It's emblematic of our time, because back in 2007 — I mean, dude. That's a long time ago when we were just boys. People wanted to watch a show like Gossip Girl because it was aspirational. It was an escape. It seemed like it struck a certain cultural chord because it was this aspirational fantastical vision of excess and wealth."
"Now, cut 13 years later, people are not interested in that. And I think rightfully so. Now they're interested in deconstructing why we're so fascinated with that in the first place. We're interested in deconstructing those systems of privilege," Badgley said.
Crawford later spoke on how much times have changed, explaining the show didn't have to deal with social media.
"Remember, '07 was when the first iPhone came out. I remember you got it. I remember you had it at a Halloween party. You had the first iPhone, and think about that now. I remember we were more about camera phones and this and that. There wasn't social media," Crawford said.
Badgley revealed Lively got him the phone saying, "I literally was like, 'I don't want this thing. It's so cumbersome, and it has all these apps on it."
Gossip Girl first aired in 2007 and ran for six seasons before ending in 2012.
In May it was revealed that the highly anticipated reboot of the teen soap won't arrive until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"They hadn’t even started production yet; they were in pre-production and ready to roll," HBO Max chief content officer Kevin Reilly told the outlet. The COVID-19 pandemic has left Hollywood at a stand still, putting a question mark over several projects that had previously been scheduled to air later this year, on HBO Max and elsewhere.
"Things that would have been really meaningful and high profile have gotten pushed back," Reilly added to Vulture, adding that it is "really disappointing" that not all of the content meant to be included with HBO Max's upcoming release will be ready in time.
Back in January, Sarah Aubrey, HBO Max’s head of original content, told reporters at the Television Critics Association winter press tour that "early casting conversations" were underway.
"We have gotten the first script and I think we all breathed a big sigh of relief because it’s quite good," Aubrey said at the time, PEOPLE previously reported.