Penn’s life go­ing ac­cord­ing to Dan

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Guide -

AS IL­LOG­I­CAL as it may seem, the break­out star of Gos­sip Girl is not a girl but a boy — Penn Bad­g­ley.

Bad­g­ley plays rich kid Dan Humphrey in the se­ries and has two more projects in the works: thriller The Step­fa­ther, op­po­site Dy­lan Walsh ( Nip/Tuck) and Sela Ward ( House), and a vil­lain­ous turn in the rug­bythemed For­ever Strong.

It is a stark con­trast to his first three lead roles — the short-lived time-travel com­edy Do Over, quickly for­got­ten fam­ily drama The Moun­tain and lack­lus­tre The Bed­ford Di­aries with Matthew Mo­dine.

All were for the WB Tele­vi­sion net­work which stuck with Bad­g­ley de­spite the fail­ure of those shows. When it came to cast­ing Gos­sip Girl the net­work (since re­named The CW) had him top of the list.

Penn’s Humphrey is the Brook­lyn-dwelling moral com­pass for the show’s priv­i­leged prep­school kids. He is in love with re­formed (maybe) party girl Ser­ena van der Wood­sen (Blake Lively), who many thought would be the most likely cast mem­ber to gain wide­spread fame.

In­stead, it is Bad­g­ley who has fi­nally, af­ter so many se­ries, found his per­fect mo­ment to shine.

Bad­g­ley says the idea of be­ing the show’s first break­out star isn’t a to­tal sur­prise, but is quick to point out that any mem­ber of the cast could be in his place.

‘‘I’m def­i­nitely grate­ful for the op­por­tu­nity they (The CW) have given me,’’ he says.

‘‘It’s a great cast all round. In a lot of teen soap op­eras you have a lot of pretty faces and maybe not a lot of tal­ent, but I re­ally do feel there’s no weak link in the cast.’’

The show has also brought ro­mance to Bad­g­ley’s life with re­ports that he and Blakely are dat­ing. Last year pho­tos sur­faced of the pair kiss­ing on va­ca­tion in Mex­ico.

‘‘Ob­vi­ously there’s chem­istry there,’’ he said later.

‘‘She’s a great girl.’’

THE pair also ap­peared to­gether on The View where Bad­g­ley de­fended claims the show was too provoca­tive.

‘‘The kids that are in­volved in the most abu­sive . . . the drugs, the al­co­hol, the sex . . . tend to lead the most shat­tered fam­ily lives. You see the reper­cus­sions of it at such a young age,’’ he told host Whoopi Gold­berg.

The hit sta­tus of Gos­sip Girl has en­sured a long ca­reer for Bad­g­ley af­ter that string of early fail­ures.

‘‘Now that I’m on Gos­sip Girl, I wouldn’t have it any other way,’’ he says.

Chem­istry:

Gos­sip Girl

stars Penn Bad­g­ley and Blake Lively.

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