According To Kieran Culkin, He Has A Lot Less Work To Do In Succession Scenes With Brian Cox

HBO's hit dramatic series "Succession" would not be a smash success without its incredible main cast. This includes seasoned performer Brian Cox, known for his roles in films like "Manhunter" (1986) and "Braveheart" (1995). Cox has led the ensemble series, which has won no fewer than nine Primetime Emmy awards. The actor gives a gripping performance as Logan Roy, the formidable head of a prestigious family and a global media empire, and the first to speak his praises is his costar Kieran Culkin.

Culkin plays Roman, one of Logan's children, all of whom are competing for the seat of CEO upon their father's retirement. The role appears to be going to Kendall (Jeremy Strong) at first, but a series of major missteps at a crucial moment loses Kendall his spot on top, making it anyone's game. What ensues is a biblical struggle for power that threatens the entire family.

Roman in particular is susceptible to his father's dominant presence. The character consistently "pushes his luck" and is often "being a bit of an idiot," Cox explained to The Hollywood Reporter. On the other hand, Cox admitted, Roman begins "achieving a greater viability" as a potential successor in the latter seasons. He shares a charisma and cut-throat logic with his father that his siblings lack. This becomes apparent in his business dealings in season 3. Logan also trusts Roman because he knows he has his youngest son under his thumb from the start of the series, when Roman fails to stand up to his father in the vote of no confidence Kendall orchestrates against him.

Cox is a friendly guy but an intimidating co-star

The tension in Roman and Logan's scenes is palpable, but it's not strenuous acting work, according to Kieran Culkin. He told NPR:

"Just being in a scene with someone like Brian, there's a lot less work for me to have to do. ... Brian is a force to be reckoned with as a  person, so he just brings so much that there isn't much effort I have to put forward."

Just like Roman, the actor finds himself genuinely intimidated by Cox and is eager to impress him. He concedes that Cox is "a wonderful guy," but he has his "Logan-y" moments. Sometimes Culkin is forced to ask, "'Is that Logan or is Brian just hungry? Can someone get him a sandwich? He's about to snap at you.'"

Cox is certainly a formidable scene partner, but Culkin may be the closest "Succession" cast member to matching the sharpness and conviction of Cox's wit. The characters share a love of the F-bomb, given that Logan's catchphrase is "F*** off" and Culkin finds himself saying the word in "every sentence, more or less." Culkin finds Cox's strong presence "rubs off" on him, causing him to act differently both on and off set. Just like his character, he seems to act more like Logan when the man is not around.

Perhaps the relationship between the two actors bleeds into the one between their characters. Culkin's willingness to give in to Cox's dominance is perfectly suited to his character, who is often the first of his siblings to bend to his father's will. While their real-life dynamic is of course friendly, it's easy for Culkin to put himself in Roman's shoes. Complex dynamics like this one imbue "Succession" with its lovable naturalistic edge.