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Q&A: Penn Badgley describes working with Shay Mitchell like Pinoy-favorite halo-halo

Penn Badgley and Shay Mitchell, stars of the new Netflix Original Series YOU, are in town to talk about their new show and meet with their fans. Albeit staying in Manila for only two days, they made sure to squeeze in surprises for everyone and indulge us through a panel called “In Conversation with YOU,” held on January 14 at The Peninsula Manila.

Here, they talked about the frequently asked questions about their characters, how they prepared for their role, and even left a message for all their Filipino fans! During the quick Q&A, it’s evident that their relationship in the show is the exact opposite in real life. In fact, Penn even compared it to a halo-halo.

“I love working with Shay because we’re different, but it really mixes well, like the ingredients of halo-halo. Unity in diversity,” he said.

Penn Badgley and Shay Mitchell at the ‘In Conversation with YOU’ media panel at Peninsula Manila on January 14, 2019.

Speaking about the global success of the show, Penn, who plays Joe Goldberg in the psychological thriller based on Caroline Kepnes’ best-selling novel of the same name, said, “We are happy with the response the show has received worldwide. We have managed to entertain, thrill and scare… the show has highlighted conversations around consent, victim blaming, stalking and privacy – disturbing things that Joe does, which shouldn’t be considered normal”.

If you’re read our previous feature, it’s also no secret that Penn has reservations when it comes to the character he plays and here’s why:

When I read the script, I was quite troubled. I understood all the elements of the show, but I was the person reading [the script]… I don’t get to write the thing, I don’t get to score the thing, I don’t get to watch it, I have to be Joe. Everybody gets to watch it and enjoy it in a different way, but for me, when I actually read it, I was like ‘ehh, good luck’. I don’t know if I can get to do this for such a long period of time,” he explained.  “I think I have a lot of reservations, which is appropriate, because now we can all watch something and feel somewhat responsible – but that’s the thing, it’s like everybody else can consume it in this way as enjoyable, I have to take on the burden of making it somewhat real for myself and it’s just a bit different. I can appreciate the fact that it is being consumed the way that it is.”

Penn Badgley and Shay Mitchell poses in front of the press at the ‘In Conversation with YOU’ media panel at Peninsula Manila on January 14, 2019.

In fact, Penn admits to dislike everything about his character, except for the fact that Joe is a curious person.

“His logic is interesting. I think Joe reveals the unsettling logic that a lot of us are following in the worst way on social media, but in the best way, it is a tool. There’s nothing inherently wrong about that tool at all. I really admire people like Shay who has an authentic relationship with it, it’s like fluency. Me, when I try to do something on social media, I think about it too much,” he added.

As for Shay, who is a social media maven in real life, also shared her two cents on how online platforms are being used nowadays:

There are so many people that can fall in love with somebody whom they have never even met before and that’s the world that we live in now – you get to know all the information that that person is putting out there. Making out who this person is in your mind is imaginary, a vision. I completely get it when people get fascinated because you feel like you know them with what they put out there. I think a lot of times, too, on the flipside, I also have to question some things that I put out there and just how much of it I want people to be aware of. It’s really a fine balance and a very fine line,” she said.

As long as you use it in a way that you know the images that you are seeing are people’s highlight reels. It’s not reality. It’s the best of that best moment of that day that has been curated, perfected, and filtered a million times. If you can go into it [while] knowing that, then you can use it appropriately,” reminded Shay, who has already gotten used to sharing bits and pieces of her life online.

Penn Badgley at the ‘In Conversation with YOU’ media panel at Peninsula Manila on January 14, 2019.

Now, if only social media use in the show was also as responsible as Shay’s in real life, we wouldn’t have such an interesting show on Netflix! So what is it about Joe’s role that made it seem so evil?

I think what Joe is doing is in a way quite normal – that’s the most disturbing part. He really isn’t doing anything that’s super high-tech. He’s just like ‘I’m actually doing this, creeping on people, so what’s the difference between creeping on them in real life?’. I think in a way, Joe is like ‘I’m courageous! Everyone else is doing this behind closed doors on their phone but I’ll do it in real life because I’m brave, I’m a man’,” he shared.

Shay Mitchell (left), Penn Badgley (right) of Netflix’s ‘YOU’.

FUN FACT: Shay loves her character!

This half-Filipino actress has been playing sweet characters for so many years, she even admitted that playing the bad girl was already enjoyable for her this time.

FUN FACT: Penn’s voice was in 2 Nintendo games!

Penn didn’t get vocal coaching for YOU because he didn’t need it anymore.

“ I started when I was a child – I was like 9 or 10 years old. I started with voice overs. I worked at a radio station,” shared Penn. “I was in two Nintendo 96 video games – Mario Tennis and Mario Golf.

Penn Badgley and Shay Mitchell showing their “finger hearts” at the ‘In Conversation with YOU’ media panel at Peninsula Manila on January 14, 2019.

As the conversation came to an end, Penn and Shay gave one last message to their Filipino fans:

Mahal namin kayo,” (we love you) while making the heart gesture.

Thanks for being supportive and watching the show,” Penn added.

Penn and Shay surprised lucky fans and met with some at Greenbelt 5 last January 15. We do hope that they’ll get the chance to come back to Manila before the second season gets released! Until then, we will be waiting and binge-watching their other shows.

Want to know more about YOU?

READ: Watch out! ‘YOU’ PH fans are next on Penn Badgley, Shay Mitchell’s list

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