“Me and My Evil Twin”: Succession’s Brian Cox and J. Smith-Cameron on Season 3

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The freebie is when you just let it go and do it the way you want?

Smith-Cameron: The first scene I ever shot for the show in episode two of season one, we did the scene, and then I don’t think he coined the phrase freebie quite yet, because it was very early on. He said, “Okay, this time, just mess it up.” He’s like, “Just put it in your own words a bit.” So it’s messy by design. And sometimes people who aren’t as free as Kieran and Brian find unexpected things bubble up from the freebie.

So many actors in the cast have stage experience, which isn’t always true in television.

Cox:  Our show, there’s an improvising feel about it. But there’s always clarity from the actors, because they are real, real actors.

Smith-Cameron: In theater, there’s a beginning, middle and an end, and there’s very high stakes. And each episode is a little like a separate play with the beginning, middle and end and terribly high stakes. And so, theater actors do have this commitment to roll up your sleeves and go for broke. And I think that, really, all of us that I know of have theater training.

The Roy’s business is under investigation. Gerri is asked to sway the White House and maybe lean on the DOJ. What kind of ethics does she have?

Smith-Cameron: I think she has a lawyers’ ethics, like: if I can argue it, it’s ethical. She knows the government is that way, too. Even though they’re supposed to be run by laws, we can see that a lot of times they feel above the law, our politicians. And this show kind of exposes that. So I think she knows exactly who she’s talking to. I also feel like I’m sent in on a bit of a doomed mission, but Gerri’s often with Logan, like, “Play me, coach, I’ll give it a try.”

Cox: Gerri is the ethical face of Waystar RoyCo. She really is. And that’s what Logan understands, is that people believe Gerri. And she never lies. She just slightly obfuscates.

Logan and Kendall are again at war. It’s interesting to me that Logan doesn’t immediately decide to use Kendall’s deadly car accident against him.

Cox: I don’t think he’ll be using it, because in a way he understands how fragile his son is. He’s still deeply irritated, and the sense of betrayal, it’s beyond reason. But I do think at the end of the day, he has an ethical thought about that.

Smith-Cameron: Brian, people are always asking you: does Logan love his children? I absolutely concur with you that [he] absolutely, passionately does love them. [He] also sees them with a cold and objective eye, knows what their limitations are. But I think he really, really loves Kendall.

Cox: There’s no question about it. He does love his children, and that’s what makes it doubly hard for him because he doesn’t express that love. He’s never been expressive, because actually the truth of the matter is he’s never had that love expressed to him. The kids are very important, which is why they’re doubly disappointing, because he keeps hoping.

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