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Penn Badgley And Shay Mitchell Dissect Their Characters On The Hit Netflix Original Series "YOU"

Penn Badgley and Shay Mitchell enjoying halo-halo at The Peninsula Manila | Photo courtesy of Netflix



In case you missed it, Netflix Original Series YOU's lead stars Penn Badgley and Shay Mitchell are in Manila for a series of events. And Metro.Style was present at their press conference, which happened earlier today. 

YOU premiered on Netflix last December, and shortly after its release, people have been talking about how good it is, despite some (including Penn himself) having conflicting or troubling opinions about it and the male lead character.


READ: Why Everyone Can't Stop Talking About "You"—5 Things We Loved About This Addictive Thriller



Penn Badgley stars as bookstore manager Joe Goldberg in YOU | Photo courtesy of Netflix


Shay Mitchell is the wealthy socialite Peach Salinger in YOU | Photo courtesy of Netflix


Based on Caroline Kepnes' 2014 novel of the same name, this American psychological thriller stars Penn Badgley as Joe Goldberg, a clever bookstore manager who became obsessed with one of his customers, aspiring writer Guinevere Beck (Elizabeth Lail). Shay Mitchell is also part of the show's Season 1, taking on the character of Peach Salinger, Beck's wealthy and successful yet condescending best friend.

In the press conference hosted by Joyce Pring and dubbed as "In Conversation with YOU" as well as the roundtable interview that followed on January 14 at The Peninsula Manila hotel, which Metro.Style participated in, Penn and Shay dissected their characters and the main message of or takeaway from YOU's plot. Read on.


Penn Badgley and Shay Mitchell with "In Conversation with YOU" press event host Joyce Pring | Photo courtesy of Netflix



Photographs by Spotlight Creatives


SHAY on working on "something as big as YOU"

"It was pretty awesome! We had such a great time shooting it. Personally, as soon as I read the script, I was like, 'Okay, I don't care about if I'm a part of this or not, I can't wait for the show to come out.' It just has all the elements of what makes a really good show. Then shooting it, we had so much fun. It went by so quick. And now that everybody's able to enjoy it, it's also really exciting to get to relive it again. Fans, friends, and family are all watching it."


SHAY on the first time she read the script and got to know the characters and the storyline

"I remember reading some of the scenes between the characters Joe and Peach, and just imagining how I would play that. But honestly, being on set and getting to work with Penn, being the first time, was 10 times more fun. It's funny, I'm literally having to kill him with my eyes." 


PENN on working with Shay

"I love working with Shay. I really did... I feel like we're different but then we just mix well, like the ingredients of halo-halo. Unity in diversity."


PENN on not romanticizing his character

"He is a charming guy... It was a push and pull between me and the directors, the writers, wanting me to be charming... I think it was a balance between making this guy real and also, to me, he's not a real person. I was not thinking of a clinical portrayal of a real psychopath. I was thinking sometimes of that and then other times, he's meant to represent things that are inside all of us. The Internet troll even. Joe, in some ways, is like an Internet troll made real, which is a serial killer. The meta response to this show is quite deep. If we're not careful, Joe can maybe bring out the Joe in us. I think I'm the person who has to always be telling the definite balance of these things just because I'm that guy."


SHAY on her perspective about the show, being someone who's active on social media

"There are so many people that can fall in love and become obsessed with someone who they've never even met before, and that's the world we live in now. You get to know all these information that that person is putting out there and making up who this person is in your mind to be this imaginary vision. I think that I completely get it when people become fascinated with people because you feel like you get to know them with what they put out there. I think a lot of the times, too, being on the flip side, I also have too much of some things that I put out there. You know, when I put it out, and just how much of it I want people to be aware of. It's really a fine balance."


SHAY on social media not being the real world

"The images that you're seeing are people's highlight reels. It's not reality. It's the best of the best moment of that day that's been curated and perfected and filtered a million times."


YOU stars Penn Badgley and Shay Mitchell | Photo courtesy of Netflix


SHAY on what she likes and dislikes about her character

"I do love the fact that she loved and cared for a friend. I just wish it wasn't that much... I'd have to say that I really, really enjoyed playing her truthfulness. She was very honest. I admire that element to her. I just don't love so much the controlling aspect of her and on her friendship."


PENN on Peach Salinger's character

"A caring, doting friend... I think she's quite sensitive. I think she's longing for human connection. She's strong. She's extremely stronf She's extremely smart. She's successful. She's almost like a detective actually."


SHAY on Joe Goldberg's character

"With Joe, this is what I always ask my friends, 'Is it bad that I find him attractive?' I'm like, 'No, 'cause you're looking at this (points to Penn).' So, yes, if it wasn't that case, you'd find it very creepy. But I would say that Joe is a psychopath, I mean, he is. I have to be honest because I have to really defend that side of him because so many people have fallen in love. I'm like, 'Wait, are we watching the same show?' Now, look, I know that he has a lot of likeable characters to him, but you can't have the rest of it not be seen. You know, he kills people."


Photo by Spotlight Creatives


SHAY on the things that convinced her to take on the role of Peach

"I think the fact that I've played such a nice girl for so long. I wanted to play somebody who was a little spicier. Also, there were many layers to her as well. She wasn't just a B, you know, she was somebody who was sensitive, and I think that there are moments for her, we almost felt bad and wanted to just give her a hug. Having many layers to her is what excited me, because it made it more challenging also that I have to show that side to her as well. It's obvious to play a mean girl but to have other elements to her as well, where you're, like, she does have a heart, that's a little bit more challenging."


SHAY on having "a Peach inside all of us"

"I think we are very protective of the people we love. Obviously, she takes it to a way different level, but I think to some degree, you're protective of those you love and you're very careful as to who comes in to their inner circle, whether it be friends or relationship. I would say that we can all sort of share that element of protectiveness."


SHAY on the main takeaway from the show

"I think it's sort of a reflection of where our society is in this day and age. We're using social media to put out our interests and dislikes. We're using social media to get into relationships, to meet people. We're using our social media to prove a point or to show where we stand politically. I mean, we're using it as a tool, and I think that we really do showcase how we use it in all different ways on the show, and people can relate to it no matter where you are in the world, because we're all on social media, especially here in the Philippines. You guys use it the most." 


SHAY on her favorite episode

"Definitely 6, I would say. At the house. That whole thing, the gun was just funny. The night before was funny. The whole thing, that was so, so fun."


SHAY on her similarity with Peach's character

"Our wardrobe. I'd say our wardrobe and, I mean, I can have some quick-liners sometimes but they're never that harsh. I also do admire the fact that she's a very honest person. She's not beating around the bush. What you see is what you get. If she says something, she doesn't say it behind your back. I appreciate that."


Photo by Spotlight Creatives


PENN on the main takeaway from the show

"The idea is about love and relationship that we have that are sold to us by so many TV shows, many of which I'd been part of. They actually might not at all reflect reality. Okay, how often in life—this is a question—do you think 'Oh, it's just like the movies'? Or, you're imagining life like you see it in on the screen. It's never been real. You know what I mean? Like, how much of our ideas about relationships and love, and therefore what it means to be human, was shaped by what we see on these things, which has not ever been real. So, how much of that actually—we wanna go to love but then we see this thing then we do that and we think we're headed to love but it's not even in the same direction. I wonder. I wonder if people 150 years ago would be like, 'What the hell are these people doing? We never behaved like that. When did you start doing that?' Ah, when we started making movies. You know, when James Dean put on a leather jacket, and we were just all in love with him. So, I think this show is about that. It's about all of these crazy ideas we have. How far will you go for love? True love is the kind of thing that means you make sacrifices, you don't sacrifice people. Joe is not brave. This idea that you have to hurt people in order to love. Our ideas are quite distorted if you think about it, if you follow the logic. The show, the point of the show is taking all these things and following the logic and being like, 'Hmm, that's not love.'" 


PENN on the internal monologue of Joe that stuck to him most

"It's not on the show. Some of the things they wanted me to say, I would say them and I'd be like, 'Sorry, just give me a second. That was disgusting.' And I won't repeat them. You know, it's crazy, if the show had been on Netflix, that'd be on the show. So, now, [maybe] for Season 2." 





Photos and video by Spotlight Creatives, additional photos courtesy of Netflix