Sarah Snook Waffled On Joining The Cast Of Succession In Fear Of Being 'A Prop'

This post contains mild spoilers for the third season of "Succession."

Although HBO has had its deserved share of hits, there is an uncomfortable truth about the network that must be discussed. A few of its most illustrious programs had a history of treating their female characters like objects or sexualized set dressing. This was a complaint filed frequently at the fantasy epic "Game of Thrones," which often saw its female characters get naked in front of a teasing camera. While the network's slate has mostly responded to these criticisms, some of their shows still get accused of misogynistic framing to this very day.

Sarah Snook feared that she might be one of these objectified actors when she was first offered the role of Shiv Roy in "Succession." She revealed as much in a recent interview with The Los Angeles Times, recalling that the initial pilot offer seemed like she might be a side note in a show about what she thought would be "a bunch of white men in business." Given how the character of Shiv didn't really have much to do in the Adam McKay-directed pilot, this shouldn't be surprising. After all, nobody really had much to do then. "Do I want to be a prop in this story that doesn't focus on me at all?" Snook recalled asking herself.

Despite her reservations, she accepted the deal. The rest is history, as Snook was able to channel her initial concerns into crafting one of the most compelling female characters of the prestige TV era.

I may not love you, but I do love you

We will not pretend that Shiv is the only well-rounded and despicable female character ever to be on television. She's not even the only one on a currently-airing show right now (cue the cast of "Yellowjackets"). However, what Sarah Snook does is truly spectacular, ensuring that only she could ever play Shiv. Even in the character's darkest moments, her body language and facial expressions convey a nuance that makes the audience want to feel bad for her despite it all. Does she truly want to stoop to the lowest levels she can reach? Is she cognizant of just how bad some of her actions are, such as pressuring a sexual assault victim into keeping quiet, tarnishing her classical liberal image? What won't she do to get the affection of her father or brothers? To think that all of these questions and more could be asked just by a simple line of inflection or a facial expression from Snook.

Of course, this isn't to say that Shiv is better than other victimized female characters purely based on her nuance rather than her sexuality. However, she is allowed to be sexual, just in the show's messed up way, as seen in a subplot between her and a male staffer. The fact that she's able to engage in messy sexual affairs in a way that doesn't reduce her to an object is refreshing, especially on HBO. Needless to say, we're glad that Snook decided to take part in the show, because it would be missing a crucial part of its success otherwise.