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‘You’ star Penn Badgley explains how fatherhood made the series difficult to film

You star Penn Badgley
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Penn Badgley, who plays killer Joe Goldberg on the hit Netflix series You spoke to Access Hollywood in a YouTube interview, on how his journey to fatherhood made it more difficult to film scenes playing the murderous character.

Penn became a father at the same time as his character Joe on You. In real life, he and his wife Domino Kirke welcomed a baby boy together. Similarly, in the show, he and his on-screen wife Victoria Pedretti (The Haunting of Hill House, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) also had a baby boy, which Penn’s character, Joe seemed displeased about since they were told it was a girl.

“The funny thing is, I was curious what my new fatherhood, how that would influence my experience with Joe and acting with him,” Penn told Access Hollywood. 

“But, sometimes it was almost not helpful because I was having such a light and joyful experience, still am, and Joe is so petrified,” he added. 

In season three of You, we see the obsessive Joe grapple with becoming a parent for the first time, while also struggling to accept and blend into his new life. Of course, there is plenty of drama and murder along the way that follows him and his wife Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti.)

Although Penn described his real-life parenthood as a “joyful” time, his character in You is experiencing the opposite, as Joe is convinced that his new son hates him and constantly questions why.

Penn noted that although he understands Joe’s fears of parenthood, the character is strikingly different to himself and deals with his issues at a whole other level.

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

You Season 3 is available to stream on Netflix.

Grace Morris

Grace is a digital writer with WhatToWatch.com, where she writes series guides for must-watch shows and the latest TV news. She graduated from Anglia Ruskin University in 2020 with a degree in Writing and Film Studies, which only made her love for creative writing, film, and TV grow stronger.


Some of her favourite TV shows are Line of Duty, Fresh Meat, The Great British Bake Off, and Gogglebox. In her spare time, Grace likes to explore new places with her friends and family and, of course, watch and read about the latest films and TV series!