Nicholas Braun stars in “Succession,” HBO’s new American drama premiering Sunday, as youngest of a wealthy media family. Thanks to severe economic and lifestyle restraints, each of the descendants is struggling with their own insecurities and can’t comprehend their large family’s demanding role as the de facto head of the American capitalist elite.
When offered a seat on the board of U.S. Steel, he wonders if the high-pressure lifestyle of being an American CEO is for him.
For someone so young, Braun seems relatively self-assured. Is he too young to understand the full gravity of his family’s legacy?
Braun spoke with The Daily Beast about “Succession,” anxiety, and his nerves on the set of his new HBO series.
It’s been a recent report that a male cousin of your character, Greg, is unable to leave his apartment due to constant paranoid fears of violent harassment.
That’s accurate. He is actually considering this option. I don’t think it’s true that this network has surveillance cameras everywhere.
How do you feel about being the second oldest son in a family as influential as this?
I’m privileged, but I feel like you’re pushing it to a degree with having the last name Witherspoon-Witherspoon and all these things.
I hear you made a point of bringing childhood trauma to the table for the character.
I definitely did try to throw in that backstory because as a person who felt in my mind like I was never defined by who I was born to be — I was often defined by who my family was, this side of my family, because I had this guilt that I wasn’t a natural-born man, that I somehow didn’t have this pedigree.
Working with Julian McMahon, whom you mentioned, was a challenge.
It’s hard to see someone dressed like a porn star who used to have dreadlocks and a mohawk.
Do you feel like the acting community is able to see or create change that does exist in America?
I think the world is changing, and there have been a lot of instances over the past year where we see change happening, and I feel like this show is an attempt to introduce themes that are breaking away from the norms.
What makes your performance unique or perhaps groundbreaking?
I think it’s unique in that it’s an American show that also features an American actor.
It does allow for an opportunity to see America in a very different light, in a more heroic light than anything that’s on the air.
When I was in school, when I saw the show “Babylon 5,” and then “Treasure Hunters,” for that matter, the idea of people taking this job overseas to make a living felt like something I’d never seen.
Here it seems that it’s just the same concept of a newspaper and a media company growing up and buying a country in a country that they felt was unyielding, and they didn’t see any way of getting out of that mold.
“Succession” airs Sunday, July 22 at 10 pm ET on HBO.