Penn Badgley Reflects on the ‘Breaking Bad’ Role He Almost Landed: “The One That Got Away”

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Penn Badgley is opening up about the role that got away from him.

In a recent interview with Buzzfeed, the You star was asked what role his fans would be surprised he auditioned for but didn’t get.

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“One I got close on was Breaking Bad,” Badgley said. “It was between me and Aaron Paul, we tested.” Paul ended up getting the role of Jesse Pinkman in the hit series that aired for five years between 2008 to 2013.

He went on to praise the show, which won more than 100 awards over the course of its run.

“Actually, that was the best television script I’d read at that point,” the Gossip Girl alum added. “That was the one that got away.”

Paul played aspiring crystal myth entrepreneur Jesse alongside Bryan Cranston’s Walter White in the original series and reprised his role for the Netflix epilogue movie, El Camino. He won three Emmy Awards and received three more nominations for his role, as well as a Golden Globe nod.

Badgley, on the other hand, had already begun his run as Dan Humphrey in The CW’s Gossip Girl, a part he played for five years from 2007 to 2012.

Currently, he stars as Joe Goldberg in Netflix’s You, in which he portrays a stalker and serial killer, who has deluded himself into thinking that he’s going after people with the best of intentions.

“I think that part of what the show is doing is showing that he’s never really looking at himself,” Badgley previously told The Hollywood Reporter about his character, who, in season four, goes by professor Jonathan Moore. “No matter what happens, actually, he seems to be incapable [of change]. It is hard for anybody. And then once you’ve done some really terrible things, it’s even harder.”

You season four, Part 1, is streaming on Netflix now, and Part 2 returns March 9.

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