Gossip Girl Star Penn Badgley Says He’s Done With TV — Find Out Why The Slap Is His TV Swan Song

Penn Badgley
Gossip Girl alum Penn Badgley told Us Weekly he doesn't plan do more TV after The Slap. Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Joyful Heart Foundation

Paging Lonely Boy! Gossip Girl stars Ed Westwick and Chace Crawford might have signed on for new TV projects (in the ABC pilots L.A. Crime and Boom, respectively), but Penn Badgley, who played Brooklyn writer (and secret gossip blogger) Dan Humphries on The CW soap for six seasons, told Us Weekly that he doesn’t plan to do any more television once his NBC miniseries The Slap wraps up. 

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“It’s going to end up being my swan song for television because I don’t think I can do any more,” the actor said of the NBC event series, which documents the aftermath of a man slapping someone else’s child at a birthday party.

Penn on Gossip Girl
Penn Badgley played Dan Humphrey for six years alongside ex-girlfriend Blake Lively as Serena Van Der Woodsen in Gossip Girl. Giovanni Rufino/The CW

“It was a wink and a nod to my role in Gossip Girl,” he told Us in an interview ahead of his latest movie release. “I’m playing a guy who’s on a TV show, a hit TV show, and he’s also the front-singer in a band. So I was like, ‘Alright, this is so close to home that if anybody else plays it, it’s a joke anyway.'”

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Badgley said he took the role in The Slap because of the people involved, including Peter Sarsgaard, Uma Thurman, and director Lisa Cholodenko. “I always want to work with good actors and good directors,” he said.

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But now, Badgley is looking toward music and film to scratch his creative itches. Badgley costars with Dakota Johnson, Ethan Hawke, and Milla Jovovich in the Shakespeare-inspired crime drama Cymbeline, which is out in limited release beginning March 13, and sings in the band Mothxr, which has tour dates lined up through September 2015.

Penn in Cymbeline
Penn Badgley’s Cymbeline costar Dakota Johnson nabbed her 50 Shades of Grey role while they filmed Cymbeline together. Seacia Pavao/Lionsgate

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“I’m less concerned than ever with what people are thinking, particularly with my career as a whole,” he said. “Because it’s like, people can think about or review my performance in any one project, but if they’re looking at, like, this collective whole it’s more than ever a work in progress. Being a part of Gossip Girl was an experience that’s still having major vibrations in my life. So integrating that into my life and not letting it take over and kind of moving beyond it and going past it, actually, for anybody, takes a lot of time and attention.”

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