‘You’ Star Tati Gabrielle Details First Sex Scene With Penn Badgley: ‘I Was So Nervous’

In You Season 3, Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) moves to a suburban town in Madre Linda, California, with his wife, Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti), and newborn son Henry. While trying to make his marriage work, Joe becomes obsessed with his new boss, Marienne Bellamy (played by Tati Gabrielle). Throughout the show, Marienne and Joe had some intimate scenes together. However, Gabrielle had a tough time filming her first sex scene with the lead actor. Here is why the 26-year old actor completely “freaked out” during the intimate scene.

[Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers from You Season 3]

Joe and Marienne form a deep connection in ‘You’ Season 3

Marienne Bellamy is the librarian at Madre Linda’s local library. Later, she becomes Joe’s new boss. At first, she is skeptical of Joe. But after learning of his past and connecting through their brutal childhoods, she starts to warm up to Joe. Despite knowing of Joe’s marriage and child, they both start having an affair.

In an interview with A.V Club, actor Tati Gabrielle shared that instant connection caused Marienne to find “comfort in Joe.” While working in the library, Joe and Marienne form a bond after discussing their difficult upbringings. In turn, Marienne lets her guard down and opens up to Joe more. 

“[Marienne] was taken aback by the prospect of being able to actually connect with somebody and be able to feel seen,” Gabrielle explained. “In this town, she doesn’t fit in. She’s not one of the Madre Lindans. I just think that she needed love and was in a very lonely place. And she found comfort in Joe.”

Gabrielle was ‘so nervous’ to film an intimate scene with Penn Badgley 

In season 3, Joe starts having an affair with Marienne. Although the two agreed not to take the relationship further, they eventually gave in to temptation. In an exclusive interview with Page Six, Gabrielle shared that she ultimately “freaked out” during the first sex scene with the characters. “I was so nervous,” she said, “I told Penn [Badgley] upfront, ‘Hey, I’ve never done this before.’ And he was like, ‘It’s gonna be OK.’”

Also, the young actor explained there was an intimate coach on set. For Gabrielle, that made the process more comfortable. “We had a great intimacy coordinator on set. So we were able to walk through everything and have a good idea [of what to do],” she added. “It became more of a dance, like a choreographed dance than it was, like, having to feel that nervousness and be awkward or weird.”

The ‘You’ actor wanted to ‘portray people of color’ in a positive light

As a Black woman, Tati Gabrielle wanted to portray her character in the best light. So, she asked the show’s producer “what kind of picture” they wanted to paint for Marienne. 

During the interview, the young actor added that she didn’t want the show to “insult the intelligence of people of color.” Instead, she wanted the character to have a “good BS detector.” In addition, she wanted someone who would “not be so oblivious” in the narrative.

One major plotline was the disappearance of Joe’s next-door neighbor, Natalie Engler (Michaela McManus). The phrase “Missing White Woman Syndrome” was used in the show. The term is used to reference the media coverage given to white, middle-class women that go missing, as opposed to when a woman of color disappears. In light of Gabrielle Petito’s case, the subject matter has never seemed more fitting.

“I think for the black community, it’s nothing new,” she told the outlet. “It’s not necessarily recent; it’s definitely something that has permeated our history. But yes, it is very on point with the times, and I’m happy that we’re able to make commentary on it.”

You Season 3 is streaming now on Netflix.

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