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Succession Director Mark Mylod Breaks Down That Scene From Connor's Wedding

"On Succession, we really like to mess up weddings." If you haven't seen Connor's Wedding yet, feel free to buzz off. Director Mark Mylod breaks down that scene from Connor's Wedding you should have seen by now ahead of Succession's series finale. Director: Frank Cosgriff Director of Photography: Brad Wickham Editor: Evan Allan Celebrity Talent: Mark Mylod Producer: Madison Coffey Line Producer: Jen Santos Production Manager: Natasha Soto-Albors Director, Video Talent: Lauren Mendoza Associate Producer: Rafael Vasquez Camera Operator: Zach Eisen Audio: Lily Van Leuwen Gaffer: Niklas Moller Production Assistant: Amanda Broll Post Production Supervisor: Ted Taylor

Released on 05/25/2023


We will pocket that sweet bonus loot.

Uh huh.

One thing I love in this scene is

that she's been married to him, I think in story

for at least a year, and he's still Tom Wambsgans.

There's a lovely lack of intimacy to that, isn't there?

Hi, I'm Mark Mylod,

I'm the director and executive producer on Succession,

and I'm here to talk about episode three Connor's Wedding.

If you haven't seen Connor's Wedding,

episode three of succession, please switch off right now.

It's quite a big spoiler.

This is Notes on a Scene.

[Tom] Your dad is very sick.

He's very, very sick.


[Kendall] What?

It's, Tom, apparently dad's sick.

What do you mean he's sick?

Like sick, like?

What's going on?

Tom? Tom, are you still there?

Connor's wedding and Logan's death overlap

partly as a script device, really.

There's a bait and switch there.

We point the audience's attention

in one direction and the real thing creeps up

and crashes you on the head from behind.

The kind of classic juxtaposition of that.

And also because on Succession,

we really like to mess up weddings.

Hi. Hi. Hi.


Hey, so the idea is that dad will pop by,

be dock side, and you guys are up here.

Oh. Oh, okay.

You think he's gonna pop by?

Spoke with Kerry, here's hoping


Even though the characters are somewhat generous

in that they've turned up, unlike Logan,

there is a statement, I think by the characters

as to how much effort they've put in.

We look at Connor here, lovely black tie.

We look at Kendall here,

maybe should have a tie, but he doesn't.

We look at Shiv,

she kind of put together hairs in a ponytail.

It's not, she's not exactly spent hours blowing that out.

[Tom] Hey Roman.


[Tom] Hey, your dad is very sick.

He's very, very sick.


[Kendall] What?

It's, Tom, apparently dad's sick.

What do you mean he's sick?

Like sick, like?

What's going on?

Tom? Tom, are you still there?

Is he okay?

In the script, and speaking for Jesse,

he liked the idea of the kind of anti-Shakespearean death,

the modern day death, the death that many of us

experience in families.

That's by separation is learned by email

or phone call or text even.

And we went to most extremes there to isolate the siblings

on a boat at a wedding

and to put Logan at, you know, 35,000 feet.

Who's with him?

[Tom] He had a very serious-

Serious what?

All that performance from Matthew is live.

That is his voice.

Not like we record it separately and played it in.

Matthew was actually back

with his family in London at the time

but spent literally all day attached to the phone

going through that again and again to feed the actors.

And we did a bunch of sound tests on the phone

to make sure it would come through just the right amount.

You could understand what he was saying

but also have that slight frustration

of just having to lean in

to actually understand exactly what was going on

to put the audience into the siblings experience

as much as possible to parachute them into their skins.

Tom, what's going on? What happened?

So he was short of breath

and he went into the bathroom and-

He was gone and there was,

someone heard something and he was, we were concerned.

Tom's phone, he's not an iPhone kind of guy,

he's more of a PC, Samsung, Android kind of guy.

We basically have a meeting at the beginning

of each new season and talk about the personal props

for each character.

And phones always come into that, obviously, and we actually

leave it that very much up to the actors as well

what they feel comfortable with.

Oh, I'm an iPhone person, or I'm a, you know, Samsung,

or whatever it may be.

It became very apparent in season one

that we were going to spend an awful lot of time

shooting scenes on aircraft.

So it made both financial and logistical sense

to actually build a set, which we did.

We put green screens outside and project the sky onto that.

Pat, our DP, does this brilliant job of actually

getting that real sense of directional light come in.

So I don't think anybody has ever said,

oh, that's obviously a set, or, I hope not anyway.

When we got into post-production, into the edit,

became a real debate as to how much we should cut

between the airplane and how much we should just

stay on the siblings.

The initial idea was maybe we'll just stay

on the boat pretty much all the time, but then

what we did shoot, Matthew was so compelling

that really murkied up the argument at that point,

and we ended up cutting more to Matthew

than we initially intended just because it was just so good.

They're doing chest compressions.

Frank thinks you should speak to your dad

and I can hold the phone

I can hold the phone near him if you like.

Why does Frank think that, Tom?

We did very few takes of this entirely and, you know,

and culminating in what you are seeing here

which was the long, the half hour take.

But the very first time we did it, I didn't rehearse at all.

I gave kind of parameters to the actors,

physical parameters and a lot of those

they just discovered them for themselves.

For instance, little details, if you look

on the right of the screen here in the bar area,

and we had two bar people working behind there

so that the actors, the characters would naturally

gravitate away from there.

And then behind the characters, there's a well going down

to the next deck down and we put background down there.

You can't see them on camera

but the actors know they're there

and therefore the characters would move away from that.

We closed the doors off, we'd put a security guard outside

so we'd basically hemmed them in and pushed them

into the middle of the room without me ever saying

please stay in the middle of the room.

If I put good reasons why the character wouldn't go there,

then they won't go there.

They're so smart as actors, they'll just make

the correct choice always led by character.

A whole kind of modus operandi, I suppose for the grammar

of the show, in the shooting of it is that the camera,

we, the audience can barely keep up with the action

where we were often just one step behind it

and that's why I don't like to rehearse.

I like the camera operators to have to react

to what's happening, not to anticipate it.

where we'll often edit five frames late just after,

just after, but not to anticipate

unless there's a very good reason for doing so.

Cumulatively, I think just gives that,

helps with the tension

and that sense of barely keeping up with the action.

[Roman] Ken's gonna get Shiv.

I'm gonna get Shiv.

[people chattering]

When Kendall goes downstairs to get Sarah,

I've told him she's not gonna be close to the stairs,

so I'll give him that clue, but then he has to look for her

and therefore there's absolute authenticity to that.

Where the heck is she?

Where is she, where is she?

There she is.

And again, it's that sadism of the camera of just staying

with him in anticipation.

We know and he knows what he's about to have to do.

And again, there's that kind of classic juxtaposition

of his absolute dread, the worst moment of his life

with everybody having such a jolly time,

which felt so wonderfully cruel.

And I love Jeremy's performance.

It is so beautifully spontaneous.

He's so alive to the moment.

We had a good few hundred extras with us for a few days

on the boat, and it became very obvious what was going on.

They're smart people.

We NDA'ed everybody up the wazoo, obviously we had help

from the security team at HBO going around and talking

to people, explaining why it was so important

that we kept this secret.

But beyond that, we relied on goodwill.

You know, you can only go so far with an NDA

and if somebody posts anonymously,

there's very little you can do ultimately.

But we didn't have one leak

which I remain incredibly grateful for.

He was still breathing a minute ago,

but it's very bad.

So, Shiv's coming.

Okay. They think he's gone.

They think he's gone.

What happened?

What do you mean?

Well, they think dad died.


[Roman] Yeah. No.

[Roman] I'm sorry.

No, no, I can't have that.

This performance from Sarah.

Yeah, I've seen this a hundred times

and it still absolutely flaws me.

I find her reaction throughout this scene,

I can't have that, the seeking to control

that which you can't control

and that regression to childhood.

Daddy, don't die.

Daddy, I love you.

Don't go please, not now.

I found incredibly powerful,

Jesse and I with this take

were stood next to each other at the monitor

and I just had tears rolling down my face

and I could see out my peripheral vision

that he was the same.

I was completely wiped out by her and just so in awe

in that way that Meryl Streep does, you know,

you see as soon as you say cut,

she goes, oh, how was that?

Yeah, cup of tea, you know

and she just snaps right out of it.

She has this ability to flick a switch

and to dive straight deep, deep into the character.

There's no kind of gradient in there.

It's just bang straight back in.

I find that, I think she's an incredible actor,

I really do.

Just watch the way that Sarah walks.

She walks and then she almost staggers

and then she tiptoes and it's extraordinary choice,

that kind of detail that she's aware of

and the way she uses her body to express the character

even with her back to camera.

That to me should be a masterclass

for anybody that wants to be an actor.

But I, fuck.

I don't know, I do love you.

Reading the script and working out our staging

on the airplane.

I felt very queasy about the idea

of showing Logan's body on the floor

and I didn't know whether that was good queasy or, you know,

or showing too much respect.

And, you know, and again, you know,

my whole kind of ethos of let's be sadistic

with the camera and get it right in there.

For some reason that didn't feel appropriate with Logan.

Partly, I suppose, to keep an element

of doubt with the audience.

Is he really dead?

Is it, is he, you know,

is he playing some kind of sick trick on them?

But more than anything else, just taste wise as a choice,

it didn't feel right.

It felt cheap almost to actually dip the camera down

and see him.

At some point, we wanted to absolutely definitively

and clearly say, yes, that is Logan and he is dead.

The cruelest way to do that, it seemed was

in that the almost kind of coziness

of the fireside chat of having the phone up against his ear.

What I did with this shot was, you know,

a rare cheat was to basically shoot

with a stunt double, heart compressions.

It's a one inch compression

so it can damage your ribcage.

So we had a stunt person come in

so that we could do those for real.

And then I asked Brian to come in one day

and literally to lie down for 10 seconds

I'd lined it all up.

I'd put a marker on the floor exactly

where his head should be.

We basically took his head and put it

onto the torso of the stunt person here.

That's Brian. That's not.

That's the stunt guy.

What we then did in post,

with the help of our visual effects team

was to give a slight rhythmic push to Brian's head

so it was in sync with the body compressions.

So they felt, you know, obviously united

as elements and that's one of the rare cheats that we did.

Can I speak with the pilot please, Tom?

You know, I'll call Frank's phone and he can take me

through the flight deck.

Okay. Okay.

So Frank, Kendall's gonna call your phone to be taken

through to the pilot.

Okay. Okay.

That's happening.

Jess, I need a few things.

My dad's dying.

I'm just gonna do facts, okay.

The tragedy of the episode and also the I think

the emotional truth of it is seeking

to control what we cannot.

In seeking clarity as to what's happened to their father,

they're also in denial somewhat, you know,

some more than others, particularly Roman obviously.

[Roman] All I'm saying is that we actually don't know.

That's it, that's all I'm saying.

Okay, right, well, yes, but you sound delusional.

I sound, what am I out fucking voted here?

They're seeking to control and they're falling back

on every device they possibly can to do that.

Whether it be through bratishness, as you know,

as rich people getting what rich people want.

No, I can't have that.

With Shiv or in this case with Kendall,

business school speak.

If one is, you know, firm enough, it will happen.

I shall take control.

Tell them to do it.

To do it right.

And of course that is futile.

[Kendall] We need to get, Connor, we need to tell him.

Five. Yep.

[Kendall] Okay. Come here buddy.

[Connor] What is it?

Is it important?

Come here for a sec.


Alan Ruck as an actor is, well, as a person

is just the most generous human

and has spent, I think four seasons as Connor does,

slightly playing second fiddler a lot of the time.

One lovely thing about season four is that we were able

to wrap Alan's character so much into the primary narratives

and the way you just see the quality of his work

just rise up is just wonderful.

His reactions was just heartbreaking and brilliant.

They think he's dead.

Well is he?

Again, just in terms of emotional truth

it is just faultless to me.

I think it's exquisite.

He is so self effacing about it.

He credits Sarah with just giving him this, you know,

emotion to look at and therefore to react to.

He never even liked me.

Hey, Connor.

Hey, sorry. You know what?

I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

I don't even know what I mean.

He did, he did.

I just, I never got the chance to make him proud of me.

He's dead.

Making it about himself, but instantly being ashamed

that he's made it about himself and instantly

switching it back to his younger siblings.

The essential beauty in all the absurdity of Connor

is that generosity of spirit.

There's an underlying kindness to that

which I find incredibly touching.

I can't do this, okay.

Episode three is obviously a game changer.

The central conflict has been, you know,

one or more of the siblings in conflict with their father.

Now Logan has died,

that changes the whole parameter

of where will the conflict be and the fulfillment

of the promise and the title of the show, who will succeed?

Even though we see the siblings as united

by their grief as we've ever seen them,

we know also that that the portent is not good.

We know that there will be a Darwinian fight

for survival and to come out on top.

It's difficult to define succession, obviously.

That's one of its many strengths.

I don't think of it as a comedy.

I think it's very funny,

but if I had to put a label on it, for me it's a tragedy.

I agree with Jeremy Strong on that.

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