Mark Mylod (‘Succession’ director): The final climax of the season ‘was such a high-stakes scene for me’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

“I find it difficult to direct if I can’t fall in love with the characters in some way,” admits Emmy nominated director Mark Mylod about his affinity for the otherwise unlikable characters on “Succession.” “Or at least forgive them or understand them,” he adds, “and have context for their behavior.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Mylod above.

SEE the 2020 Gold Derby TV Awards nominations complete list

HBO’s critically acclaimed drama, created by Emmy winner Jesse Armstrong, centers on the power struggles that drive the dominating media magnate Logan Roy (Brian Cox) and his damaged adult children Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Shiv (Sarah Snook), Roman (Kieran Culkin) and Connor (Alan Ruck). The epic drama leads all drama series (alongside “Ozark”) with 18 nominations across the board, up from five nominations for its first season (Armstrong won for writing the season 1 finale and composer Nicholas Britell won for its main title theme music).

The actors did especially well this year, with first-timers Cox and Strong vying for lead acting honors, fellow freshman Snook, Culkin, Matthew Macfadyen and Nicholas Braun in the supporting categories and veterans James Cromwell, Harriet Walter and Cherry Jones in the guest categories.

Of those 18 nominations, Mylod is rewarded with his first individual nomination for directing the season 2 finale “This Is Not for Tears,” in which the Roys spend holiday time on their yacht in the Mediterranean following Senate testimony. After Logan approaches a broken Kendall about taking the fall for the family, Kendall betrays his manipulative father at an explosive New York press conference.

SEE the 2020 Emmy Awards nominations complete list

That final scene became a water-cooler moment for the show last season, as downtrodden Kendall publicly implicates Logan in a sexual harassment scandal engulfing his media empire. It was a clever and unexpected twist that left fans gasping for breath, eagerly anticipating what will follow next season. Mylod admits that all his natural trepidation and nerves paid off when he found the right balance in the scene along with showrunner Armstrong and leading man Strong.

“The overwhelming reaction is fear, to be honest. What if I mess it up? It’s terrifying,” he admits. “The first few takes we just couldn’t get it, for reasons that I couldn’t quite fathom.” Mylod explains that after changing things up a bit, he began to find the right rhythm for the scene. “It took us a few good takes. Normally we hit it pretty quickly, but that, maybe it was just skittishness and nerves because it was such a high-stakes scene for me, but then we just started hitting the right tone. It started feeling right and I started feeling the hairs on the back of the neck. Then I knew we had it,” he smiles. “I felt really good. Elated really.”

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