Penn Badgley and Chace Crawford reunited over video chat to reminisce about the show that propelled them both to stardom.
The Gossip Girl stars got together for Variety’s Actors on Actors to discuss their most recent TV roles, their ‘white male privilege’ and how it feels to watch the hit CW teen drama 13 years after its premiere.
Penn, 33, admitted that watching the show in recent years made for ‘uncomfortable’ viewing, as he explained: ‘I know that I watched with my now wife, with Domino [Kirke], before we got married. It must’ve been six months after we met.
Gossip Girl alums Penn Badgley and Chace Carwford reunited over video call for Variety’s Actors on Actors to discuss the series that catapulted them to fame when it premiered in 2007
‘She had never seen it, and that’s the last time I can remember seeing an episode. I remember even then, it has nothing to do with the show, but it was very hard to watch. These snapshots of yourself when you’re 20, 21, 22 years old. Who can enjoy that? Sometimes it’s just uncomfortable.’
Chace confessed he would need some persuading to re-watch the show, telling Penn, ‘Buddy, you have to strap me to a gurney and pop my eyes open like Clockwork Orange. But no, it would be interesting to see the first couple maybe.’
The duo teased the possibility of getting together for a Gossip girl watch party and live-tweeting.
Chace, 34, said, ‘To go back and open that time capsule, I think there would be some nostalgic value. We’re doing that when you come to L.A. We’ll have a drink.’
‘A little watching party. Dude, if we live-tweet a viewing of any episode of Gossip Girl, people would love that.’ Penn added.
‘It was very hard to watch. These snapshots of yourself when you’re 20, 21, 22 years old. Who can enjoy that? Sometimes it’s just uncomfortable.’ Penn, 33, said of re-watching Gossip Girl
Fresh-faced: Penn played Dan Humphrey (pictured) in the series from 2002 to its final episode in 2012 and in the finale was revealed to be the mysterious Gossip Girl
‘Nostalgic value’: Chace teased an in-person reunion, planning a watch party together with drinking and live-tweeting
The show wrapped in 2012 and most notably made actress Blake Lively a household name.
In recent years, however, Penn has seen his career take off again portraying obsessive stalker Joe Goldberg in psychological thriller You, which became an instant hit when it dropped on Netflix in September 2018.
The actor, who is expecting his first child with wife Domino Kirke, admitted that playing such a creepy and controversial character has been conflicting for him.
‘I think when so few people were watching it on Lifetime – the network for women, of all networks – I think I was wondering about the moral ambiguity of it.
‘Moral conflict’: Penn talked about how conflicted he feels about playing stalker Joe Goldberg in psychological thriller You
Obsessed: You became an instant hit when it dropped on Netflix in September 2018
Chace plays character The Deep on Amazon’s The Boys and said: ‘To be honest, we move on from Gossip Girl to playing despicable white male privileged guys.’
‘I’ve been transparent about my moral conflict playing this guy. I felt much better about what we were doing once a lot of people were watching, not because I needed the gratification of a lot of viewers, but more like, it makes sense; people are responding to the way we’re coming into this conversation about the tropes of the romantic comedy, and the tropes of the romantic white male lead.’
Chace, who plays character The Deep on Amazon’s The Boys, drew comparisons between their new characters, noting that they’re not so different from the privileged upper-class adolescents they played in Gossip Girl.
‘It’s interesting to me, because also, man, to be honest, we move on from Gossip Girl to playing despicable white male privileged guys. I had the same qualms you did.’
He added, ‘What’s interesting about Joe – it is almost like an odd continuation of Dan. At the end of Gossip Girl the show, whatever your reaction is on whether it was smart to do that or not, that he’s Gossip Girl – it didn’t really line up with the character of Dan.’
The guys also discussed how Gossip Girl would likely not be as successful if it was to premiere today.
‘Back in ’07, Gossip Girl was edgy’: The guys also discussed how Gossip Girl would likely not be as successful if it was to premiere today
Penn explained, ‘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 like an escape. It seemed like it struck a certain cultural chord because it was this aspirational fantastical vision of excess and wealth.
‘But now, cut to 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.
‘I’m not saying that our television shows are doing that, but I’m saying that’s what people are more interested in, so therefore these shows reflect that.’
‘The curtain has sort of dropped. Back in ’07, Gossip Girl was edgy.’ Chace chimed in. ‘I know, man. That’s funny because it really was.’
‘We’re interested in deconstructing those systems of privilege’ Penn said of why Gossip Girl wouldn’t be a hit now. Penn is pictured with (L-R) Blake Lively, Ed Westwick, Chase Crawford, Taylor Momsen and Leighton Meester