The Primary Reason Penn Badgley Hates When People Call Him Dan From ‘Gossip Girl’

Today, Penn Badgley stars in the Netflix hit series You; he plays a stalker whose creepy nature and amoral decision-making creates a juicy, albeit quite uncomfortable viewing experience. Yet, before You, Badgley made a name for himself in Gossip Girl. Following many flops for CW (then WB), he took on the role of Dan Humphrey. He became one with the character who stole viewers’ hearts for 6 seasons. 

Penn Badgley Gossip Girl
Actor Penn Badgley attends the Build Series to discuss his show ‘You’ at Build Studio on January 09, 2020 in New York City | Jim Spellman/Getty Images

Over the years, Badgley has derided the show, speaking bluntly about the narrative’s lack of plausibility, and the unrealistic situations that kept the characters connected at the hip. Yet, people still call him “Dan” out on the street. And, he hates being addressed by his character’s name for one particular reason. 

Why Penn Badgley is not a fan of ‘Gossip Girl’s’ Dan Humphrey (as a human) 

During an interview with Vulture, Humphrey discussed his then-new movie Greetings From Tim Buckley, in which he played the legendary musician Jeff Buckley. He talked about taking on the role and shaking off his reputation from the teen-favorite drama. Badgley explained why “it sucks” when people call him Dan. He shared: 

…No, it’s not that I don’t like my character. It’s just, after a while, you’re known as somebody that you’re just not, and this is somebody who I so am not. He’s not real. He’s a tool on a show with soap-operatic arcs and he needs to be a judgmental douche bag sometimes. I get that. I don’t hate anybody for that. But it sucks when people call me “Dan” and think that I’m him.

Penn Badgley | Vulture

RELATED: ‘Gossip Girl’: How Penn Badgley and Chace Crawford Really Feel About Dan’s Finale Twist

Though Badgley doesn’t dislike his character — and understands why he “needs to be a judgemental douche” – that doesn’t mean Badgley enjoys the association. Badgley and Dan are not the same people, and the connection to a character he doesn’t relate to or admire as a person is a bit of an upset. 

Badgley’s memorable work outside of ‘Gossip Girl’

Though Badgley initially hesitated to accept Gossip Girl — afraid a great deal of typecasting would be in his future — he has managed to take on a variety of roles that display his chops outside the “soap-operatic arcs.”

Since the beginning of Gossip Girl, Badgley has appeared in a handful of memorable shows and movies. While You may come to mind first, he has also starred in Easy A, John Tucker Must Die, The Stepfather, Margin Call, The Slap, Greetings From Tim Buckley, and more. His appearances range from drama and thriller to suspense, comedy, romance, and even musical performances. 

In short, Badgley has proven his chops as an actor (and as a singer). And, here’s to hoping the actor gets his shot at an Oscar-worthy performance in the near future. He may now just have the clout he needs to land such a role.