Australian actress Sarah Snook plays political consultant Siobhan “Shiv” Roy on the HBO drama Succession, the saga about a media company-owning family which became a pop culture phenomenon in the course of its initial season last year. Despite being the daughter of Brian Cox‘s Rupert Murdoch-esque Logan Roy, Shiv mostly kept her distance from the clan’s corporate in-fighting during season 1, preferring to assist the presidential campaign of Eric Bogosian’s Gil Eavis. But Snook hints that her character may take a more active, and ambitious, role in the Roy family business in season 2, which premieres Sunday night.
“I suppose you could say there’s quite a direction change for Shiv,” says the actress. “Jesse (Armstrong, Succession creator) had told me originally that she wasn’t really interested in taking over the company, but as soon as it gets dangled in front of her with a little more seriousness, it’s something that she kind of jumps at. I guess that’s quite telling for the psychology of all these kids, they’re magnetically always drawn back to the company.”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Did you feel interest in the show building up over the course of the first season?
SARAH SNOOK: Yes, definitely. The way Jesse and the writers structured the first season, they laid a really good foundation. I think in terms of the quality of what season 2 has to offer, it’s really paying off. It really takes a turn in some ways.
In the season 1 finale, Shiv told her new husband Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) that she wasn’t really suited for monogamy. How is that working out for the couple in season 2?
That’s an interesting one. It’s actually a slow-burn throughout the season. It certainly comes up at points over the course the season, which is kind of great for the playing of it. There’s always a tension with the characters. [Laughs]
Every time those characters talk about their relationship it leaves me feeling incredibly sad.
I know, I know! [Laughs] Yeah. Same.
Shiv is an extremely competent and skilled operator. It seems clear that, were your character a man, “he” would be the obvious choice to succeed Logan as the head of the company.
Yeah, that’s a very sage point. [Laughs] That is definitely the case. But, perhaps, if she was a man, she wouldn’t have developed the cunning, and the slyness, and the self-protection that she has as a woman.
I get the impression we’ve yet to see Shiv at her worst. Would that be fair?
I would say so as well, yeah.
Shiv’s older brother Kendall (Jeremy Strong) was reduced to a shell of a man at the end of last season. Is he still in that position at the start of this one?
Yeah, the hangover of those two episodes doesn’t really clear for a long time — as it wouldn’t, having killed someone. But the vulnerability that that puts him in, to be exploited by his Dad, is something that’s really interesting.
Logan was recovering from a stroke for much of the first season but, judging by the season 2 trailer, he seems very much back and in charge this time around.
Yeah, yeah. He’s certainly regaining his full capacity.
So, have you been told who will ultimately take over the company?
No, I’ve no idea who would be the final successor. But I imagine that, whoever is, probably wouldn’t hold on to it for very long.
The obvious guess would be Nicholas Braun’s “cousin Greg,” because it does seem to be his story in a strange way, even though he’s often on the periphery of events. But that also seems too obvious for such a clever show.
Yes. Maybe. I mean, who knows? If we get a third, fourth, fifth [season], it might be a storyline that needs exploring!
Season 2 of Succession premieres, Sunday night.
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