'You' Star Penn Badgley Requested 'Zero' Intimacy Scenes for Joe in Season 4: 'I Don't Want to Do That'

"This was actually a decision I had made before I took the show," Badgley revealed of his long-standing desire to phase out his character's explicit scenes on screen "from 100 to zero"

Penn Badgley made a special request ahead of filming season 4 of You.

The 36-year-old actor shared on the latest episode of Stitcher Studios' Podcrushed podcast that he asked You's showrunner to limit his sex scenes in the upcoming season of the Netflix psychological thriller.

"I asked Sera Gamble, [the] creator, 'Can I just do no more intimacy scenes?' 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 always [the] romantic lead?"

Badgley, who married Domino Kirke in February 2017, added: "Fidelity in every relationship — especially in a marriage — is important to me."

He continued, "It got to a point where [I thought], 'I don't want to do that,' so I said to Sera, like, 'My desire would be zero [intimate scenes], to go from 100 to zero.'"

Actor Penn Badgley visits BuzzFeed's "AM To DM" to discuss season two of Netflix's series "You" on January 09, 2020 in New York City.
Penn Badgley. Slaven Vlasic/Getty

That said, Badgley realized his request might not be possible and that "I signed this contract. I signed up for the show. I know what I did."

He added, "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."

To Badgley's relief, Gamble "didn't even bat an eye. She was really glad that I was that honest, and she was sort of almost empowered. She had a really positive response and they came back with a phenomenal reduction."

You. Penn Badgley as Joe Goldberg in episode 401 of You.
Courtesy of Netflix

The Easy A star previously opened up about how welcoming his 2-year-old son with Kirke, 39, changed his approach to playing You's Joe Goldberg — especially when Joe's "morbid" parenting in season 3 ran counter to Badgley's own "joyful" transition to life as a parent.

"The funny thing is I was curious what my new fatherhood, how that would influence my experience with Joe and acting with him," he told Access in October 2021. "And sometimes it was almost not helpful because I was having such a light and joyful experience — still am — and Joe is so petrified."

"He's so scared, and of course I can identify with the fear," he continued, "but he's just so morbid in his obsessive, sort of like self-preservation, primal instinct that sometimes I almost found it harder as a result, you know what I mean? It really depended on the scene."

Penn Badgley - You

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The first half of You's fourth season is streaming now on Netflix; the remaining episodes will drop on March 9.

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