Nicholas Braun interview: ‘Succession’
In the third season of HBO’s “Succession,” Nicholas Braun’s character “Cousin” Greg Hirsch finds himself stuck between a rock and a hard place, switching allegiances between Jeremy Strong’s Kendall Roy and Brian Cox’s patriarch Logan. The actor describes his character as “thrown around all season” and put through the wringer, and for his portrayal of the troubled Greg he just received his second Emmy nomination, recognition he calls “awesome” and “exciting.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.
Season 3 picks up moments after Kendall’s shocking press conference in the second season finale, in which Greg played an integral role by providing Kendall with important and compromising documents about the family company. “I think those papers were very valuable to him and he knew their importance. He was waiting for the big play,” reflects Braun about his character’s decision. The actor describes this season for Greg as a “season of maturity” as he navigates the fallout of his choice and Greg’s need to “step up” and “do something different.”
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Braun submitted the fifth episode of the season, “Retired Janitors of Idaho,” for Emmy consideration. In the installment, Greg learns that Kendall may divulge his wrongdoing to the Department of Justice, and Greg’s grandfather Ewan (Emmy nominee James Cromwell) decides to disinherit him because of his continued support of the Roy family. The actor chose this episode because he thinks it marks a “turning point.” He shares, “I think Greg is clawing at something in this episode, he’s trying to find where he can land… He’s very lost in this episode. It was fun to play.”
Greg’s relationship with Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen) continues to grow more complex over the third season, too. Braun relishes the opportunity to play opposite the “beautiful, brilliant” Macfadyen and discusses why their dynamic works so well. “Greg often witnesses the existential crisis of Tom, that he’s cracking in front of Greg and he doesn’t show those cracks to anybody else.” He describes one memorable scene in which Tom compares himself and Greg to Nero and Sporus from ancient Roman history as “perfectly written.” “I’m just trying to do the writing justice,” adds the Emmy-nominee.
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Even though Greg often has the funniest moments on the show — this season finds the character suing Greenpeace to regain his inheritance, for example — Braun brings a lot of depth to the role, too. “I never wanted to be the kooky, funny, crazy part of the show,” reflects the actor. This season, he gets to show off Greg’s romantic side as he pursues a relationship with Comfrey (Dasha Nekrasova), who works with Kendall. He appreciated the storyline because “Greg’s a lost puppy in this world… it’s lonely and it’s cold” and Comfrey gives him a chance to find some joy and warmth. It came as a surprise to him, too, because he had previously assumed that “Greg was asexual… just an instinct I had.”
Braun also opens up about his role in the shocking season finale, in which Greg forms an allegiance with Tom to betray the Roy siblings. He calls the decision “a relief” because Greg has previously been a “big shapeshifter, people pleaser,” but Tom gives him the opportunity to go to the dark side and live without fear. Audiences are eager to see exactly what that means when “Succession” returns for its fourth season.