Karwai Tang/WireImage Alan Ruck
When Alan Ruck's Succession character Connor Roy first started talking about running for the position of US President it seemed like a throwaway gag by the writers of the HBO dramedy. But Logan Roy's oldest, and most out-of-touch, child continued to make his political ambitions clear over the first two seasons of the show, season 3 of which premieres Sunday evening. Is it possible Succession might end with Connor actually occupying the Oval Office? "I just think, be afraid, be very afraid," says Ruck. "But I don't exactly know where we're going to wind up. I mean, the truth is, we get our scripts, like, midnight the night before we have to do the read-through because our writers are very gifted and they cannot leave it alone. As far as what's going to happen next season, we don't have a clue. I know Jesse (Armstrong, Succession creator) has an end game in mind but I don't think he knows what the journey is yet."
Ruck talks about where Connor stands in the battle being waged over Royco Waystar by his father Logan (Brian Cox) and his brother Kendall (Jeremy Strong), his character's relationship with his ex-escort girlfriend Willa (Justine Lupe), and the future of the show, below.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Where is Connor at the start of the season?
ALAN RUCK: He's sort of betwixt and between and has no real mooring within the family. He's just been basically spanked down on the yacht by his father who's like, stop this foolishness, you're embarrassing me, in terms of the political stuff. He's a bit desperate for money because Willa's play is not going well and I think at this point Connor is stock rich and land rich but cash poor. So he's a little worried about his finances and at this point it's really sort of, whichever way the wind blows. It's like, what's my best deal? And so I don't think we know where his allegiances lie at the very beginning of the season. His father was quite brusque with him and belittled him but then Kendall is crazy, so I mean it's a rock and a hard place.
How did COVID affect the shooting of season 3?
We worked shorter days, because they tried to keep everyone's exposure to a minimum. They'd say, "Okay, we're ready," and then you took off your mask and you took off your shield, and we got tested every day. There were certain people, like people on the crew, who had to wear masks and shields the whole time. So that's tough when you're a cameraman. There were things to get used to, but as soon as the masks were off and we got going it was like we never stopped.
And the swearing began!
That's right. Do you remember the old Newhart show? Well, there was a drinking game when I was in college, it was called "Hey, Bob!" Any time anybody said "Bob!" you had to take a drink and if anyone said "Hey, Bob!" you had to drain your glass. So on our show, it would be like "F--- you!" or "F--- off!" and if anyone said "F--- off" you'd have to drain your glass.
Did you shoot in any particularly swanky locations this season?
We went to Italy and there was nothing wrong with that! I didn't get to spend much time in Rome but I was in Florence, I was in Siena, we were all through Tuscany. It was pretty glorious. The only thing was, I missed my family, I couldn't bring my wife and kids along. But it was a really lovely exile with some terrific food.
The relationship between Connor and Willa is arguably one of the better on the show, though there's not much competition.
No, no, the Roy children don't do too well with the significant other aspect. I think Connor's crazy about Willa, I think he adores her. In his way, he tries to take good care of her, and sometimes not so well, but I think he's very fond of her, and I think she's warming up to him, maybe against her better judgment.
Are you happy to keep on playing Connor for as long as they keep on writing him for you?
Yeah. Whatever length of time Jesse feels necessary to tell this story, I would be happy to play it. I have no idea. I mean, the Sopranos went six seasons. I don't know that we would go six seasons. I think that there's definitely more story to tell but I don't know how much.
So, following the Sopranos model, who would play you in the eventual Succession movie prequel, a la The Many Saints of Newark?
Oh, I don't know. Somebody really handsome! [Laughs]
Watch the trailer for season 3 of Succession above.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
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