This month in NYLON Guys Magazine, you can see Fall's coolest menswear modeled by actor Penn Badgley. This month in movie theaters, you can see Fall's sharpest psychological thriller (Margin Call
) acted by Penn Badgley. And right now in this article, you can read outtakes from the 24-year-old's interview. (He's also on NYLON TV.
How's that for full service? In Margin Call, you act with Jeremy Irons and Kevin Spacey - and you all had a first time director, J.C. Chandor. How'd that go?
He was really impressive and essentially, he knew what to do, he knew what his vision was. He knew when to stand his ground. Then he knew when to be like, "I’ll just let Kevin Spacey be Kevin Spacey and Jeremy Irons be Jeremy Irons," you know? And basically, he and I, we were comrades in the sense that we both were like [whispering] "Can you fucking believe this?"
Who was the most intimidating person on set?
Jeremy [Irons]. Jeremy was an enigma on the set and in life because we didn’t know who the hell was gonna play that role until about three days before we started shooting. And then I think even three days into shooting, we didn’t know who was gonna play it. And uh, he showed up—he dresses with a very interesting flair, you know? He has an amazing sense of style and how it defines him as a person, and I think he uses it as a tool to fuck with people a little, too. He’s clearly brilliant and so many things about him are hard to articulate, but he’s enigmatic, very much in every sense of the word.
And now you're shooting the Jeff Buckley movie. Are you allowed to talk about it?
I can talk about the kind of experience it’s been. It’s incredibly moving and transformative just for me as a human being. It’s been intensely personal and this unprecedented emotional and spiritual experience for me because playing someone who’s a) real, and then b) dead, and c) a really singularly gifted musician and artist—I mean he was a seeker, he was a traveler, he was like almost a gypsy in the sense that he didn’t seem to stay in one place for too long, either growing up or in his tragically brief adult life. I think the key for me has been letting him breathe into the role and the lines and the scenes and the art and the project as much as it’ll happen, and then the rest of it is really just shooting for the same thing he shot for as opposed to shooting for him
. You know what I mean?
So it's not a biopic, exactly...
It’s not a movie about his life—anybody who wants to see his life is gonna be sorely fucking disappointed. I mean, it takes place over seven days and he was 24—I mean, "Grace" didn’t come out until he was 27— so it’s a slow sort of beautiful meditation on how he found his voice and what catalyzed that, like his love, and music, women, life, dog, painting, history... I mean it’s a boy, getting an idea of who he’s going to become as a man... Are you relieved about that?
I think it's really important for somebody like him, because he was cut short, and the notion of the brooding rocker who dies early is so romanticized but it’s also so fucked up, and he wouldn’t like that. He wouldn’t want a bullet-pointed high and low "Johnny Cash" epic story of his life, because he drowned in a freak accident when he was 30. So, it’s telling a very different story.
What have you gained from the role?
What I have learned in exploring his life, I guess, is that there’s no limitations. Do whatever you want—just do whatever the fuck you want, and do what moves you and do what drives you. Being on TV has been an amazing opportunity and platform, but Gossip Girl
is certainly not my driving passionate force in life, obviously. And it’s wonderful to have; it’s given me the ability to explore what I want, and for that I will be forever, ever grateful. But we have to ask - who do you think Dan's soul mate is?
Blair, actually. Definitely. I think Blair is Dan's soul mate. I don’t know if they’re ever going to get together, but I’ll tell you that I’ve never enjoyed any scenes on the show as much as those scenes with Leighton Meester, on a strictly intellectually as an actor. There’s a whole other thing—like everything that happened early on in the show, like the obvious Dan and Serena stuff, that moved me in a different way for obvious reasons, but strictly as an actor, those scenes with Blair are the best.
My favorite were the ones with Jenny Humphrey!
I miss Taylor [Momsen], she’s sweet! I’m going to get in touch with her again. I wish she was still on the show.
She’s young and I think she’ll find her way. She’s much sweeter and much smarter than anybody gives her credit for and I think she's going to be incredibly successful at whatever she wants.
We both went snowboarding during the Roxy Chicken Jam in California. But we did different trails...
I was taken to Mammoth California's back country. Not through a tree run like you did - through a fucking forest! I was shocked at how well I did, and then
I ended up getting stuck in a snow wall under a tree for like 45 minutes. I couldn't move. I sat there for a good ten minutes and I couldn't unstrap because I was upside-down... I was like reaching for branches and then they would break!
What's the most surprising thing on your iPod?
Coldplay. You know, Coldplay doesn’t get enough credit. People roll their eyes at Coldplay because they’re so corporate and they sell out stadiums, but I have to say, it’s really difficult to sell out stadiums! People act like ‘oh he sold out’ and it’s like, "Fuck you dude! Try to sell out. See if you can!"
I wish you would do a play...
I saw Jerusalem
and it was amazing. And Arcadia
I recently saw, which was brilliant. The only difference I saw between Arcadia and Jerusalem was that Arcadia was in the mind and Jerusalem in the soul, the heart, in the earth you know?