Iconic TV show could’ve been very different with Penn starring in it.
Penn Badgley is well-known for playing suave and sophisticated characters, such as neurotic and arrogant poet Daniel Humphrey in Gossip Girl or obsessive and murderous lead, known under several names, in You.
It helped that both of these characters are written as perceptive men, which especially inspires Penn. But he had difficult time getting his unique approach and appeal across, when only starting his career.
Auditioning has never been his strong side.
As he told in an interview with Elle: “Auditions are so painfully awkward a lot of times. I mean you go into them knowing that you’re not gonna get it.”
That was about his audition for Charmed, which Badgley failed badly, though eventually that worked out for the best. He even mentioned how that audition was about the 100th time he had done a test reading – certainly he was not a man who allowed failure to keep him down.
However, he still failed because he thought dialogue was just too cheesy.
“But they all feel like your first in some way. I just gave a terrible line reading, a terrible, terrible line reading. Because the line was terrible, frankly, and my heart was not in it. I didn’t want to be there.”
He even mentioned how one of the writers who was in the room with him started laughing when he read the dialogue. This gave Badgley the impression that even the screenwriter didn’t want to be there.
Badgley not getting the role was, however, the optimal outcome for everyone involved. Maybe Charmed did not have the most inspired writing, but it still turned out to be a very popular urban fantasy series, and performances of its cast were largely praised.
Who knows what might have happened to it with an inexperienced actor (Bagley had yet to appear on the screen at that moment), who disliked his script, in a crucial role?
And while Badgley’s own career took time to start, only gaining steam with his role in Gossip Girl, just as Charmed was nearing conclusion, ultimately he too found his own road to success, without having to torment himself by playing in a show on which he did not want to be.