Kieran Culkin ‘Didn’t Rehearse’ The Scene That Has ‘Succession’ Viewers Calling For An Instant Emmy

The penultimate Succession episode included some surprisingly reaffirming moments involving seating arrangements, and it also revealed Roman Roy to be, well, human. “Roman the Showman,” as he referred to himself, ended up emotionally collapsing while eulogizing his father, Logan. It’s a monumental death that we as an audience have had time to grieve, but the funeral only occurred mere days after the character’s actual demise in Succession time.

For his part, Roman believed that his “pre-grieving” was sufficient until he found himself in live-audience mode. And so, we went from an episode where Roman went from joking about having sex with Shiv (“is it mine?”) to having a breakdown in front of the world. It was the rarest of emotional displays with Kendall and Shiv meeting him at the pulpit while Roman heartbrokenly sobbed, “Is he in there? Well, can we get him out?” This was a gut punch, alright, and Kieran Culkin completely sold the scene.

As it turns out, Kieran “didn’t rehearse” that scene, and he does believe that his character’s “razzle dazzle” plan fell apart partially because of what he’d heard his Uncle Ewan declare only moments beforehand. Here’s what Kieran told writer Julie Miller of Vanity Fair when she posed that question:

I imagine part of the breakdown is a reaction to hearing his Uncle Ewan’s [James Cromwell] eulogy, where he learns some pretty traumatic truths about Logan’s childhood.

I remember thinking it could be connected to that, and specifically not wanting to read Ewan’s speech in the script. I didn’t want to know what he was going to say. Roman had a plan to go up and razzle dazzle [the mourners]. And Ewan interrupts–and [the unraveling] starts from the frustration of something not being part of the plan, and then continues with him being pretty devastated by the stuff [Ewan] was saying. It was a good jumping-off point because now it’s like, “Oh, I’ve got to follow that.” I just felt very lost. We didn’t rehearse it and I really did not want to rehearse it–even on the couch the night before. I just kind of looked at the lines vaguely and went, “I don’t want to look at this. I don’t want to plan or think about how this is gonna happen.” Which was also terrifying, because I don’t know that I can do that stuff.

Kieran is also pretty sure that “the first take” of the breakdown is what materialized for the episode in the end. And rehearsal or not, it’s no wonder that fans are calling for him to receive an Emmy right now.

HBO’s ‘Succession’ airs on Sunday nights at 9:00pm EST.

(Via Vanity Fair)