Andrij Parekh Interview: ‘Succession’ director
Andrij Parekh just received his first Emmy nomination, not for his work as a cinematographer — which he has been for 20 years — but as a director. He is nominated in Best Drama Directing for the episode of “Succession” called “Hunting,” which is infamous for its “Boar on the Floor” sequence. Learning about what “Hunting” would entail was a bit intimidating for the cinematographer-turned-director. “When I first got the episode, I was like, ‘Wow, this is intense. It’s psychological terror,'” Parekh says in an exclusive new interview with Gold Derby. “I was interested in seeing how far we could push the insanity of it.” Watch the exclusive video interview above.
“Hunting” centers on Roy patriarch Logan (Brian Cox) trying to figure out if there is a rat among those closest to him, which leads the media tycoon to subjecting his associates to a twisted game of “Boar on the Floor.” The game requires its participants to squeal like pigs and crawl around on the floor until the truth is revealed, a surreal, comedic, haunting sequence in which tensions are at an all-time high. The tension is aided by the scene only being lit by candles and the fireplace. “For me, it was a chance to sharpen the wit and sadism of the episode,” explains Parekh. “We wanted to make it like this medieval haunted house.” He adds that the sequence brought back the feeling of being called out by the schoolteacher in fifth grade for bad behavior.
Considering the intense emotions of the scene, it was important to Parekh that the actors feel protected on set. There was a safe word in case things became too out of hand as the director “talked to all the actors, made sure that everyone was okay with what we were doing.” Having so many characters in the scene also provided a nice challenge for Parekh to make sure every actor was fulfilling the potential of what was on the page. “Every time I get a script I do a separate character chart and it’s about what every character is doing at any one moment and seeing where those peaks and valleys are,” he notes. Parekh was also instrumental in establishing the cinematography for the series being friendly to its actors, as the director of photography on the show’s first three episodes. The series uses long lenses, shooting from far away rather than the typical way of shooting television. “‘Succession’ really became filmed theater where none of the actors really knew where the camera was in the way that we shot it,” observes Parekh.