Penn Badgley And Leighton Meester Talk ‘Gossip Girl’ Sex Scenes
While the show depicted the lives of Manhattan’s elite, teenage Upper East Siders, the real life cast were actually upwards of 20-years-old. Why? Because they had to film a lot of raunchy shows that wouldn’t have been appropriate (or legal) to cast real teenagers in. That being said, the audience was supposed to believe that they teenagers, with Leighton and Penn both asking the question, is that really okay?
“I’m 20 years old at the time, doing scenes of not just, like, having like sex or like, you know, sexual–like, fantasy stuff,” Leighton explained on the podcast. “And then like, in a bed with someone or whatever. We were 20. So whoever was looking at it, certainly girls that were actually 16, I was playing a 16-year-old.
They’re watching it thinking that is what a 16-year-old looks like. Right now, I’m watching a 16-year-old have sex and watching a 16-year-old in lingerie and their body… but actually, it’s not a 16-year-old. It’s a 20-year-old, but my brain is being told that it’s a 16-year-old. So that like kind of messes with you, too.”
Penn was quick to echo those sentiments, arguing that if real teenagers had been cast in their place, the world would’ve been up in arms.
“To me, this is what I mean. It’s like if we actually put 15 and 16-year-olds in these teen shows and movies that we make, we’d all be like, what the–? You know, it wouldn’t be funny, wouldn’t be sexy. But then we put in people who look like us. And you know, we have to like shave twice a day already.”
It’s not just the sex scenes that the actors believe to be problematic, either. Smoking cigarettes, doing drugs and drinking alcohol throughout your early teenage years isn’t depicting a healthy or idealistic lifestyle for young people, which is something they both still think about today.
Walking into bars ordering dirty martinis and not having any issues with that. Being like: ‘It’s my 15th birthday’. No question from these people at all,” Leighton added.
At the time, Gossip Girl was renowned for its depiction of raunchy, horny teenagers, much to the horror of parents everywhere. Rather than shy away from the bad press, the show actually leaned into it. You might remember the infamous poster used to advertise the show which featured a still from a Serena and Nate sex scene with a Boston Herald headline that read ‘every parent’s worst nightmare.’
Despite how the actors feel about it now, there’s no denying that this show skyrocketed their careers into the stratosphere. That being said, it’s nice to know they can reflect on it with a mature set of eyes, and acknowledge that it might not have been the best depiction of teenage life.
Neither Penn nor Leighton commented on the Gossip Girl reboot which aired last year, but Leighton has made comments in previous interviews, revealing that she “wouldn’t rule out” the possibility of a cameo at some stage. We can only hope for the return of the iconic Blair Waldorf.