Penn Badgley on Dan Humphrey: What a Douche!

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Gossip Girl star Penn Badgley may not be a huge fan of his character (or the CW hit in general for that matter), but he's smart enough to recognize it for the incredible opportunity it's been over the past five years.

In an interview with New York Magazine, Penn talks about his new movie Greetings From Tim Buckley and what it's like to bid farewell to the show that made him a star (and that he initially turned down).

Badgley also shares his thoughts on Gossip Girl Season 5's polarizing Dan-Blair love story, and how he feels about that coming to an end. Follow the link here for NY Magazine's full interview with Penn. Excerpts below:

Dan Humphrey's Hair

On the conflicting emotions involved with playing Dan: "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 douchebag 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."

On whether he enjoyed the Dan-Blair storyline: I did, actually. Well, I didn't like how it ended, because it was just kind of [draws in breath sharply]. I liked the scenes with Leighton because I get to kind of interact in a fun way with her."

"When Dan and Blair are together, I think that's him at his brightest, maybe"

On initially turning down Gossip Girl: "I turned Gossip Girl down because I was like, 'There's no way I'll get out of that thing' ... I've been [doing TV shows for] Warner Bros Television since I was, like, 15 years old. That's ten years, pushing on eleven. I'm just like ... I'm done, dude. Look, I absolutely appreciate the opportunity it's been. I wouldn't be here without Gossip Girl, so I will always be in debt and grateful. And I've said some shit that ... I don't regret it, but I'm just maybe too honest about it sometimes. But the reason I turned it down initially was because I was just frustrated. I was frustrated and I was broke and I was depressed and I was like, I cannot do that again. I can't."

"But then my parents and my managers, they let me come to my own conclusion, but they were like 'You need this, man. It's not your thing, it's not your bag, but ...' Stephanie Savage, the creator [of Gossip Girl], she said to me, 'I know you might not want to do this again, but just take a look at it.' And I actually was like, 'I appreciate so much that you thought of me. I just don't want to do this. Thank you for understanding that I wouldn't want to do this.' And then they couldn't find anybody for it - which is weird, because a million people could play Dan Humphrey - and she came back around, I was about to get a job as a waiter, and I was like, "Okay." You know?"

On how he feels now that Gossip Girl Season 6 is the end: "Great. Honestly, the reason I can even talk like this is because I'm so secure in feeling like I just can do what I want now. I don't know what that is yet, but it's just nice."

"I can live and be myself and see what it's like to not have to go to work every day, all day."

On the current vibe on set: "We're not counting off the days, but we're all just like, 'Wow. We've been on this show for so long, and it's about to end.' We're all in our mid-20s, and we started this show when we were all 19 and 20. Yeah, it's weird, honestly, that it's ending. I think the day after it ends, I'll wake up and think "Whaaaat am I gonna do now?" [Laughs]

On whether he'll appreciate GG more down the road: "I think it's already in the rear-view mirror and I do appreciate it more now. You know, I've always been honest about how I feel about the show - which, every now and then, has bitten me in the ass - but I've always been appreciative."

"I've always forced myself to just accept that it's good. I mean, nothing's perfect."

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.


LMAO good for you Penn! I dunno how he could stick with that contract for so long, after the 3rd trainwreck of a season I would've said "Deuces!" and left that sinking ship!

Elise of the upper east side

--- "GG was crap? It was and is crap. With plot holes the size of Asia. Its indulgent rubbish but hey that why alot of people like it, right...?" --- I haven't enjoyed GG since season 2, when it was indulgent GOOD tv. now it's just miserable b/c it's a horrible, trashy show that makes no sense. I hate what it has become and no I definitely do not enjoy it :P just show me a CB wedding and I'm out. I should've checked out after 2x25!!!


I really don't understand what is honest about deprecating a show that more or less made you a household name. One can be refreshingly honest and diplomatic at the same time. Penn has had his character enjoy major screen time + story lines while Chase and Blake have been given the scrape of the barrel but you don't find them mouthing off. That does not make them dishonest, if anything it is called tact and respect. What happened to walking up to the writers or show creators to honestly air any grievance? I guess Penn has played Dan so long he has become him.


People are calling him a douche because he said GG was crap? It was and is crap. With plot holes the size of Asia. Its indulgent rubbish but hey that why alot of people like it, right...?


Penn is saying everything that the other actors are saying. He's just puts it more plainly. Even watching the show you get that that actors hate their character. I'm happy Penn was honest. I wish Dan and Blair didn't end the way they did either. I loved them together.

Elise of the upper east side

i mean all the interview did was make him seem more like dan than i thought. i never thought they were *that* similar but wow...


Well this is an interview with an actor whose play Dan, but HE IS NOT DAN That's it. He left that perfectly clear. He has an ego, a pride and the right to say whatever he wants. Doesn't mean you'll like everything. Nobody's perfect. It's Ok 4 me.


Funny how he said he's not anything like Dan at all, but his judgmental douchebag self oozing much in the interview. Funny really.

Elise of the upper east side

I think this show should've ended around s2 to be honest. all seasons 3-5 did was destroy the show and its characters. I used to love B and now hate her, I was pretty indifferent to dan and now I hate him, nate was actually a main character, chuck used to be hilarious and now he's too serious, serena used to be the sunshiney it girl, (btw did they really just kill 5 years of growth for her character? I hate these writers), eric and jenny were part of the show. etc etc. I could go on and on. this show used to be SO SO amazing and it has fallen so far. now it's an embarrassment. it's like they try to make it bad. the only reason I'm still watching is because I want to see chuck and blair end up together. otherwise, I would've quit after 3x01, which was terrible imo. Season 3 is when it all started going downhill and s4 was a bit better, but still bad. s5 was an absolute abomination. anyway, yeah penn is a douche, but the show does suck. I wanted out when s3 started so I don't blame the actors for wanting out too. these writers are talentless fools and this show is a travesty. It had so much potential and was so incredible when it started. it's so sad what it has become :(


Of all the actors on the show, I think Penn phones it in the least; in fact, he and Leighton seemed to bring out the best in each other. However, I completely agree with a lot of his comments and wish the show had done a better job with developing his character. The cold manner in which they ended Dan and Blair was so out of the blue, that I understand Penn's frustration. I'm sure most of the actors are disappointed with the writing, particularly Blake Lively and Chace Crawford. The writers of this show are pros at character assassination. Even Leighton and Ed were phoning in the Chuck/Blair scenes last season and they didn't seem to have the spark that they had in the first 3 seasons. I respect Penn for speaking honestly.

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Gossip Girl Quotes

And who am I? That's one secret I'll never tell ... You know you love me. XOXO, Gossip Girl

Gossip Girl

[to Jenny] That's the thing. You need to be cool to be queen. Anne Boleyn thought only with her heart and she got her head chopped off. So her daughter Elizabeth made a vow never to marry a man. She married a country. Forget boys. Keep your eye on the prize, Jenny Humphrey. You can't make people love you, but you can make them fear you. For what it's worth, you're my Queen. I choose you.