Kieran Culkin Recalls The Time He Almost Played a Different Character on Succession

Kieran Culkin almost didn't play Roman Roy on Succession. Find out what other character casting directors wanted him to read for.

By Corinne Heller Nov 06, 2021 11:33 PMTags
Watch: Kieran Culkin Has "No Idea" About "Succession" Season 3

Succession could've looked a lot different.

On the HBO dramedy, Kieran Culkin plays media mogul Logan Roy's youngest son, the lazy, entitled and often sneering Roman Roy. But casting directors originally had a different role for the actor in mind.

"They wanted me to read for Cousin Greg," Culkin, 39, said in an interview on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Friday, Nov. 5, "which I just didn't feel right for."

He continued, "They asked me to read for Greg. I knew I was wrong...normally, in any other script, I would be like, 'OK, I'm not right for the part, I'm going to close it, I'm going to continue reading on,' but I just kind of liked the script, so I read on, I was like, 'Oh, there's this guy,' whose first line is something I can't say on your show."

Culkin then changed his mind, saying, "He says, 'Hey, hey, motherf--kers,' and I thought, well, I kind of like this guy. I like the way he talks. I can do that."

Everything We Know About Succession Season 3

The actor said he asked, "Can I audition for Roman?'" He said, "The response back was, 'We're not auditioning for that part yet.' But I just sort of put myself on tape anyway and sent it in. I was like, 'Here's three scenes, if you wanna...'"

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Nicholas Braun, formerly on the short-lived 10 Things I Hate About You series, ended up being cast as Cousin Greg, the wide-eyed, accident-prone but surprisingly cunning family member and colleague. The 33-year-old actor has amassed a massive fan following as a result of his character's popularity.

Macall B. Polay / HBO

Culkin has spoken about the topic before. In 2018, he told Vulture, "I read [Greg's] first line of dialogue and I was like, 'Oh, I think they made a mistake. This isn't somebody I can play.'"

Culkin's role on Succession marks the most popular one for the actor, who made his onscreen debut as Fuller in the 1990 movie Home Alone alongside his older brother Macaulay Culkin. Both reprised their roles in the 1991 sequel and Kieran went on star in the Father in the Bride movies, as well as the films She's All That and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. He also appeared on the shows Go Fish and Fargo and a few indies before landing the role of Roman on Succession.

The series has won nine Emmys, including Outstanding Drama Series, and landed both Culkin and Braun nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series last year.

Succession's third season began streaming on HBO last month. The show has been renewed for season four.

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