Fisher Stevens, who plays Hugo on "Succession," spoke to Insider about filming the finale.
He also revealed a profanity-laced scene Hugo had with Greg that was cut from episode three ("Connor's Wedding").
Stevens gave insight on the documentary he's directing about David and Victoria Beckham for Netflix.
Though Fisher Stevens has acted consistently since the early 1980s, he'll be the first to admit it wasn't until joining the hit HBO series "Succession" in its second season as the slimy comms director Hugo Baker that he found major recognition.
In fact, just days ago while at the airport he was recognized twice by people who threw a famous Hugo one-liner back at him.
"It's been a while since someone quoted one of my lines back at me," Fisher, 59, told Insider.
Before "Succession" Stevens was known best for playing the comedic sidekick to Steve Guttenberg in the hit '80s franchise "Short Circuit."
Since then, he's focused more on acting on stage and becoming a producer. The latter led to him earning an Oscar for producing the 2009 documentary "The Cove," which focused on activists exposing the shocking abuses of dolphins in Japan. He was also an executive producer on the hit Netflix docuseries during the pandemic, "Tiger King."
But acting has always been Stevens' passion and in the last decade, he's forged an impressive list of credits. He's starred in all of Wes Anderson's movies since 2014's "The Grand Budapest Hotel," including his upcoming "Asteroid City." And in that time, he's also shown up in the Coen brothers' Hollywood satire "Hail, Caesar!" and episodes of the TV series "The Blacklist."
But it's been playing Hugo on "Succession" that has been his highlight.
Becoming a major cog in show creator Jesse Armstrong's biting comedic style, the final season was filled with memorable Hugo moments from him overflowing his plate with food during the first meeting between Waystar and GoJo in Norway, to his unforgettable "woof, woof" response to Kendall at the end of the penultimate episode.
Insider chatted with Fisher days after the finale aired as he was heading back to London to continue directing a Netflix documentary about David Beckham. We discussed Hugo's final moments, a profanity-fueled scene between Hugo and Greg (Nicholas Braun) in the third episode of the season that never made it to air, and his latest quest as a producer: saving the Amazon rainforest.
Did you watch the finale?
I can't say that I did. Because I'm in England for a month and I'm not going to see my kids, we went to a barbecue instead. But I will watch it. I shoot tomorrow and then I'm going to watch it.
At the airport, I had two people come up to me and say, "Woof, woof." That's really funny.
Do you dig that — people coming up to you throwing Hugo one-liners at you?
Yeah. I don't know, it's been a while since someone quoted one of my lines back at me. Listen, the show is magical and it was a blessing to be involved in.
I'm curious, was "woof, woof" an ad lib or was it on the page?
It was definitely written, but we did so many versions. I barked in some form. It might have been "bow wow," at some point. I did not come up with it. I give Jesse full credit.
Now we did do one take where I went, "Bow-wow-wow, yippie-yo, yippie-yay."
[Laughs.] No! Do not lie to me.
No, I really did. But "woof, woof" is much better. I'm glad Jesse didn't use that. That was my bad idea.
For the finale, were you given the full script?
The beauty of this show is if you have one line or are one of the children, it really is a theater company and what Jesse does is we do a read-through of every episode before the episode starts production.
We usually get the script at 2 a.m., and then the next day on a break or after work we do a read-through. So we did the finale like any other script.
We all sign NDAs so there's no reason not to get the full script. I mean, some people don't tell their spouses what's going to happen. Like in episode three when Logan dies, I know a lot of spouses were mad that they weren't told.
But for you, seeing you've been in this business most of your life and have seen it all, were you excited to do that last read-through to learn how it all ends or were you like, whatever?
It's not old hat. It was special to be part of all this. It was unlike anything I've done in a long time. I've done a lot of theater and if you do a play for many, many months or a year and it's coming to an end, there's sadness, that's how I felt.
So we were all pretty sad, but I feel Jesse was brilliant to end it when he did. Unfortunately, my character had a great year so he might have had an even better one next year, but you can't be selfish.
Listen, Hugo backed the wrong horse. That's what it comes down to.
He often did.
When you read that basically things would end with Hugo getting one line from Tom — "Where's Karolina?" — were you at peace with that?
Well, no. I wanted other things. I wanted to soldier on. But it is appropriate that's how he goes out.
Were there a lot of different versions of how you and Matthew Macfadyen played that scene?
Well, I can be a ham at times, being an actor. So the first take, I think I tried to hang a long time and I really tried to milk the hell out of it. I'll be honest, Matthew and I laughed, we had fun with it, but Jesse came up to me instantly and said, "You know what, let's simplify."
So a lot of Hugo hovering.
Look, Hugo is working it all the time.
If Jesse did like what you and Matthew did in the scene, what would have been the less simplified version?
Hugo trying to explain to Tom how important he can be to him and how much information he has, how much Hugo really knows.
So you really have a spin-off idea centered on Hugo?
I don't really. I said I wrote a bio for Hugo and where he's going. I have a history in my mind. You do that as an actor, you come up with these scenarios just in case Jesse does let you improv a little more, you have to be ready and prepared and jump at the chance.
My feeling is the aftermath of the finale is Jeremy Strong's Kendall will rebound at some point, find a new hustle, and he'll be calling Hugo. But will Hugo take the call?
Absolutely. Unless somehow he does finagle his way back to Tom in some way, using his information that he has.
But that was the most fun working across from Jeremy because he would go off-page and you had to step up and be ready. So that's what I'll miss. Keeping up with these brilliant actors.
Tell me a Hugo moment that you're disappointed was left on the cutting-room floor.
It deserved to be left on the cutting-room floor, but in episode three this season, Hugo did something that was my favorite thing no one will ever see.
When Logan dies, there's a sense that the story of his death was leaked and maybe it was Greg when he was flirting with a reporter.
I had a scene written and we also improvised like crazy where I confront Greg telling him he's a fucking asshole, he was the one who leaked the story, I'm going to fucking kill him. I'm 5'8" and he's 6'7" and I'm just looking up and screaming at him. I was Joe Pesci on him. And he then just destroys me back in a very Greg way, calling me so small.
It was this funny back-and-forth. I thought it was pretty good.
The next documentary you're producing is titled "We Are Guardians," which is currently on the film-festival circuit, and it focuses on the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest. Are you close to getting distribution?
I think so. It's really terrifying what's going on. The filmmakers risked their lives to make this film, they talked to me and were terrified to make this film. You see how many people have been killed trying to protect the rainforest.
In this movie we go to the capital, we go to Brasília, we get out of the territory, we film one of the loggers taking down the trees, and it really personalizes things. It's a scary time, the rain forest are the lungs of the country.
Leonardo DiCaprio is now an executive producer on the movie?
Leo is, and his company, Appian Way. I showed it to him. He's incredibly supportive.
So you're in London now finishing the David Beckham documentary you're directing for Netflix. Can you tease the kind of access you are getting? What surprised you at how David and Victoria really are behind the scenes?
Well, I'll just tell you they are a lot different in this movie than anyone has ever seen them.
I don't think anyone understands their life really and what they have gone through and the journey they have taken. I've spent a year and a half making this so I love it, but I think it's going to surprise the hell out of people.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Read the original article on Insider