“This one was a surprise for me,” admits Hope Davis about hearing the news that she had earned an Emmy Award nomination for her performance on HBO’s “Succession.” The actress joined the third season of the drama series as Sandi Furness, the daughter of a business tycoon who is waging a hostile takeover for Logan Roy’s (Brian Cox) company Waystar Royco. The nominee heard the news while in production on the second season of HBO’s “Perry Mason” and describes the recognition as “a little extra something” on top of the “treat” of being on the show. Watch our exclusive video interview above.
Just prior to receiving the call to join “Succession,” Davis had binge-watched the first two seasons. At that time, creator Jesse Armstrong had only proposed one episode to the actress, but even in that small sample she felt that her character was “so interesting” and “so fun on the page.” She describes Sandi as “someone who’s been waiting in the wings maybe her whole life as her father’s number two person. She’s been a little bit behind the scenes… waiting for her moment to shine… and she is ready to pounce.”
For her Emmy episode submission, HBO selected “Retired Janitors of Idaho.” In the installment, Sandi works with Stewy (Arian Moayed) to negotiate an extremely last-minute deal with the Roy family to avert a shareholder vote that would determine ownership of Waystar. Davis describes working on the episode as “electrifying,” explaining, “It’s so impeccably written, and then when it comes time to shooting it’s very, very loose. There’s usually one or two people with a handheld camera, and you shoot very very quickly… it feels like theatre, it feels very much alive in the moment.” To prepare for her scenes, she “kept a bit to herself” because “Sandi is kind of an outsider, she’s a little bit mysterious.”
The episode also includes a standout scene between Sandi and Emmy nominee Sarah Snook’s Shiv as the two ultimately have a sidebar conversation and successfully complete the negotiations. Davis believes the two characters connect because “they’re both the daughters in these power families, and I think both of us feels like, ‘I should be running the show, give the corporation to me.’” On working with Snook, the actress says, “The character that she’s created, it’s just endlessly fascinating,” continuing, “It’s really, really exciting to work with these people. They’re so comfortable in what they’re doing… It’s the polar opposite of someone phoning it in.”
Over the course of her three episodes, Davis also had the chance to act opposite fellow Emmy nominees Cox, Kieran Culkin, Moayed, J. Smith-Cameron, and Jeremy Strong. The actress says that she’d love to share more scenes with “every single one of them” because they are “a deliciously gifted bunch of actors.” “I’d love to see Sandi take each one aside… make her connection with each one of them,” continues the star, stressing how she would like to work more with Cox because “Brian is an endlessly fascinating person to talk to… Talking to Logan Roy is just incredibly exciting.”
Davis could not share any specific details about the upcoming fourth season of “Succession,” but she reveals that Sandi will indeed return in the new batch of episodes. “It’s Jesse’s show and the brilliant writers that he has with him… I leave myself completely in their hands,” comments the performer on if she has any hopes for where Sandi goes next season. She adds, “I really am intrigued by her. I think she could be a real power player.”
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