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You’s Penn Badgley Says Directors Always Tell Him This About His Masturbation Scenes

Penn Badgley Shares The Note He Always Gets On Masturbation Scenes

Penn Badgley Shares The Note He Always Gets On Masturbation Scenes
Courtesy of Netflix

The You star has shot many a (ahem) solo scene on the series.

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Penn Badgley, who plays the serial killing stalker in Netflix’s highly addictive series You, opened up about the one note he “always” gets from his directors while filming masturbation scenes.

Speaking with Stitcher’s Podcrushed podcast, Badgley shared what it’s like to shoot a, well, solo scene. “I’ve now done it so many times on camera. It’s a strange—you don’t think it’s going to be that big of a deal,” he said. “And then you discover in front of a crew of people with a camera on your face, knowing that, in all likelihood, millions of people are going to see this, you’re simulating masturbation.”

For Badgley, filming a masturbation scene can sometimes be more challenging than a love scene with an actual partner. “I have to say sometimes those scenes are harder than with a person because it’s just like, alright, this is what I’m doing,” he said. Badgley has had to get more comfortable flying solo as he typically has to do one of these scenes every season of the show.

Despite being an old hand at shooting these kinds of scenes, the actor shared that he still gets the same feedback from directors every time. “I’ve always gotten the note to make it less creepy,” he revealed. “They say like, ‘Close your eyes or go faster or go slower.’ I’m like, ‘What? This man is f--king murdering people, and he’s masturbating in the street. You’re saying I’m making it creepy? How is it I’m the one making it creepy?’”

Bagley was especially taken aback by the “close your eyes” comment. “[The director] was like, ‘Buddy, I think you gotta close your eyes,’” he said. “I don’t remember exactly what he said. He was very graciously communicating that it was creepy.”

I’m like, ‘That’s the f--king—that’s the point.’”

Penn explained how You’s concept complicates the performance of these masturbation scenes. “[The show critiques] toxicity and sexual culture while also trying to be sexy,” he said. “That’s just this strange line that we’re always walking on our show.”

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Rachel Shatto

EIC of PRIDE.com

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.