You star Penn Badgley reveals he almost played Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Bad

Aaron Paul in Breaking Bad and Penn Badgley in You
(Image credit: AMC/Netflix)

Penn Badgley has revealed that his career almost went down a very different path – the Gossip Girl and You star nearly played Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Bad, a role that ultimately went to Aaron Paul.

"One I got close on was Breaking Bad," Badgley told Buzzfeed when asked what role his fans would be surprised he auditioned for but didn’t get. "It was between me and Aaron Paul, we tested." He added: "Actually, that was the best television script I’d read at that point. That was the one that got away."

Paul played Jesse, a former student of Bryan Cranston's Walter White and his partner in producing crystal meth, for all five seasons of the series between 2008 and 2013 and in the 2019 follow-up Netflix movie El Camino. He won three Emmys for his performance in the original series, as well as receiving a Golden Globe nod. 

Badgley, meanwhile, went on to play Dan Humphrey in the CW's teen drama Gossip Girl between 2007 and 2012 instead. Now, he's best known for playing Joe Goldberg in the Netflix thriller You, which first aired in 2018 and is now on its fourth season on the streamer. 

You season 4 part 2 arrives on Netflix on March 9. In the meantime, fill out your watch list with our picks of the other best Netflix shows that can you stream right now. For more on You, check out our review of You season 4 part 1 and our guide to the ending explained.

Entertainment Writer

I’m an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering everything film and TV-related across the Total Film and SFX sections. I help bring you all the latest news and also the occasional feature too. I’ve previously written for publications like HuffPost and i-D after getting my NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.