They’re all terrible in one way or another, but there’s also something very human about their desire to prove themselves. Of the three lead kids, Siobhan (Shiv) Roy, played by Sarah Snook, is the one most progressives can get behind. On paper, that is. He has a moral compass, he wants to wield his power and fortune forever, but he also knows that kindness doesn’t win in this capitalist nightmare scenario. If he’s going to play the game, he’s got to play it dirty.
So it’s no surprise that Snook herself says she wouldn’t want to be friends with Shiv in real life. That’s not to say that she doesn’t understand Shiv, or even that she doesn’t love her on some level. After all, she created the character in the flesh, but in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar last year, she didn’t mock the character’s flaws:
“Shiv and I are very different, I think. People tend to say that Matthew (Macfadyen) and I are the least like our characters on set and that makes me happy (laughs) because she is a hard worker. I think that I would”. I won’t be friends with her in real life. I think Shiv has some redeemable qualities.”
Some of the less redeeming qualities of the character? Well, she is very manipulative and mostly hypocritical. Shiv is just as power-hungry as her brothers, but she is often held to a higher standard because she is the only female in the group. It might not be fair, but according to Snook, she’s a lot of fun to play.
In short, Snook’s relationship with Shiv Roy proves that while an actor always has to understand and somewhat love the character he’s playing, that doesn’t mean he has to really like it. In fact, sometimes those nasty jerks make the best characters.
“Succession” airs on HBO and streams on HBO Max every Sunday at 9 p.m. ET.