Penn Badgley Had A Real Shot At A Lead ‘Breaking Bad’ Role, According To Another ‘Gossip Girl’ Actor

Film/TV Editor
08.12.19

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Penn Badgley’s very good — almost too good — at playing stalker types in You and Gossip Girl, but he may have almost scored an entirely different type of role (as a different brand of offender) in Breaking Bad. At least, that’s according to fellow Gossip Girl star Chace Crawford, who has since begun stretching his own acting wings (er, gills) in The Boys TV series, in which he portrays an Aquaman variant known as The Deep. Yet while promoting the Amazon series, Crawford shifted subjects during an interview with The Independent to discuss Badgley, who he claims had a fighting chance to play Breaking Bad‘s Jesse Pinkman.

Sounds bizarre, right? It’s difficult to imagine Padgley embodying the street-smart yet emotionally fragile Pinkman, who has since been cemented as a pop cultural legend in Aaron Paul’s likeness. Yet Crawford revealed that Badgley was a true contender to play Walt Whitman’s meth-trade partner:

“If you want an interesting story, Penn screen-tested for Jesse. He didn’t even test for Gossip Girl; they offered it to him — but I remember him telling me he screen-tested for Jesse. He would have been kind of a different choice, but right around the time of Gossip Girl was getting cast, he screen-tested but Aaron Paul got it instead.”

Well, Crawford also recently discussed how he was in the running to play Captain America, so yes, the casting gods do have phases that are interesting to reflect upon, years later. Of course, this Pinkman business is only coming from one Gossip Girl guy and not directly from Badgley’s mouth. One would expect some followup in a future interview when Badgley starts promoting You (which could arrive as early as December, if Netflix wants to repeat of all the holiday binging that fans did to resurrect the first season after it went largely unnoticed on Lifetime). Can you imagine a world where Padgley isn’t playing sociopaths and, instead, is now the guy pushing a tequila brand with Bryan Cranston? Nope, and I can’t even envision it while dropping Pinkman’s favorite curse word.

(Via The Independent)

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