J. Smith-Cameron interview: ‘Succession’
“She’s maybe the only one skillful enough to steer them away from the rocks,” shares J. Smith-Cameron about her character Gerri and the beleaguered Roy family on HBO’s Emmy-winning drama series “Succession.” The third season certainly begins rockily as the company Waystar Royco confronts a major scandal and Gerri takes the reins as interim CEO. Even though the actress thinks that her character “established from the very beginning of season one that she’d rather be the power behind the throne,” she acknowledges that Gerri “does somehow get them out of trouble, and I think her instincts are so good.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.
One of Smith-Cameron’s best moments of the season arrives in the third episode, “The Disruption,” when the FBI presents the company with a search warrant and Gerri must convince her volcanic boss Logan Roy (Brian Cox) to cooperate. The actress says of their relationship in that moment, “She knows she’s right, and I think Logan deep down knows Gerri’s always right.” She describes Cox as “a little terrifying” and “scary” to act across when Logan is furious, but adds, “I also am so fond of him… he’s a thespian.”
Smith-Cameron also discusses shooting the unforgettable final scene in the season finale, in which Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) betrays his wife Shiv (Sarah Snook) by revealing to Logan his children’s plan to foil his sale of the company. Gerri has a betrayal of her own, turning on Roman and siding with Logan and the interest of the shareholders. She shares that she had “heat stroke on and off” the whole time the show shot in Italy, so working in that cold, stone room “was literally and figuratively a climate change.” The setting itself felt like a “Medici room” where “rich people from 500 years ago had sat,” the actress describes. She found the scene “very momentous,” especially since “Kieran was so upset, he was shaky and his eyes were pink and wet. He was really, deeply rattled,” and she continues, “I’ll never forget it.”
“Succession” will return for a fourth season, and although Smith-Cameron has not yet learned a single detail about what will happen next to Gerri and the Roy clan, she quips, “All I know is they picked up my option for Season 4, so I’m in there somewhere.”