J. Smith-Cameron Talks ‘Succession’ Season 4 and the Series Finale

Apr 11, 2023

The HBO series Succession is back for its fourth and final season, and the only sure thing when it comes to the Roy family is that there will be power plays, cutthroat moves made, and loyalty will be questioned. Fractured even deeper, after the events of Season 3 finale with siblings Shiv (Sarah Snook), Kendall (Jeremy Strong) and Roman (Kieran Culkin) teaming up against their father Logan (Brian Cox), unaware that Shiv’s husband Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) had switched sides against them, it will be nail-biting to see how all the family drama plays out.

During this 1-on-1 interview with Collider, J. Smith-Cameron (who plays Gerri Kellman, previously Logan’s most trusted, but who’s now getting iced out) talked about how Gerri feels about her position at the company in Season 4, whether she’s at her loyalty limit with Season 4, who Gerri is most threatened by, having Cox and Culkin as scenes partners, her thoughts on the series finale, and why she feels like the series could have gone on a bit longer.
Collider: The Season 3 finale was just absolute magnificent perfection, on every level. What was it like for you guys to get that script and shoot that episode, and then have to wait to find out where things would go in Season 4? Are you good with not thinking about what could come next, until you get the script?

J. SMITH-CAMERON: That’s always been the way. That’s always been what we were up against. We’d get the scripts at the last minute, and they would morph all the way through the shoot. We weren’t even 100% certain it was the last season, for the longest time. It’s hard to be okay with that, but we had adapted to that.

Image via HBO

What was your reaction to the first script for the fourth season? How did you feel about the way it set things up?

SMITH-CAMERON: We did know a little bit about the direction of the season, although we didn’t know how it would unfold. I thought the first episode was really good, although Gerry is not in it very much. Those episodes are really fun for me to read and fun for me to watch because I can just enjoy it. It laid the groundwork well for Season 4.

After what happened at the end of Season 3, how does Gerri feel about her position, at the beginning of Season 4, with where she’s at in the company, after everything that’s gone on?

SMITH-CAMERON: She’s in very shaky territory. She’s getting the cold shoulder from both Logan and Roman. She doesn’t trust either of them. She’s disgusted that Logan is so harsh toward her, when she’s been there for him for decades. She’s always just sucked up how mean he is and been like, “Well, he’s this brilliant man that I work for. He’s a son of a bitch, but he’s a force of nature. I can tame the shrew.” But that’s no longer there, and she’s not sentimental about it. I feel like Gerri has always been the one who’s landed in his good graces somehow, but now it’s also happened to her, where she’s being shut out and not favored. And Gerri is very unsentimental about it. She’s like, “Fuck you.” She warned Roman a thousand million times and it blew up in his face, but it blew up in her face too. She’s disgusted, but I don’t think she’s done working for the company. She really wants to work there, for whatever sick reason that she has for liking it, but she’s just not on terra firma, and I find that really interesting. That’s really the nature of Season 4 for her. She’s navigating her way. She’s afloat and unmoored there.

Is she at her loyalty limit, when it comes to Logan? Has she found the line for her?

SMITH-CAMERON: She’s questioning it. It’s right at the edge. She hasn’t walked out the door, but I think she’s looking at him and taking stock with a cold, objective eye. She’s doing that with everyone there. She’s outside it all.

Image via HBO

What or who does she see as her biggest threat, at this point?

SMITH-CAMERON: At the end of Season 3, she was threatened by Shiv. There’s a lot of jockeying going on between her colleagues, with Carl and Frank. Logan calls the shots. She really thinks Roman is an out of control, impulse control failure. He’s just a bomb waiting to go off, as he has been. She feels like she has no idea who her allies are. I don’t know who she is most threatened by, but she’s threatened by all of them.

By the end of this season, is Gerri in a place that you would have chosen for her to end up? Does it feel like an ending that’s suitable for the journey that she’s been on?

SMITH-CAMERON: It makes sense. It follows. It’s very cleverly thought out, the whole thing, in my opinion. I don’t wanna talk about it too much because it’s very hard not to accidentally betray something.

What was your emotional reaction to reading that last script? Did it really feel like the last script ever, for the show? Do you feel like you haven’t really had time to have that perspective on it yet?

SMITH-CAMERON: I don’t really know how it will end up being edited because they always have extra material that doesn’t make it in, so I don’t really know. I think we’re all still grappling with the show ending. That’s all wrapped up with the finale, and our feelings about the finale, so it’s hard to be objective. But it makes Gerri’s part of the journey make sense. Everyone’s does. But I don’t know what viewers will think.

Image via HBO

There have been these two such interesting relationships in Gerri’s life, between Logan and Roman. What has it like for you. as the actor. to really get to explore within those dynamics and have people like Brian Cox and Kieran Culkin to play with, for these seasons?

SMITH-CAMERON: It’s been incredible. You can tell that they’re just incredible. They’re so present. They’re so robust. They’re so inventive. A word I like to think of for both of those actors is they’re very released. They’re very free. They’ve been great acting partners. I love acting with them because they’re great. That’s why, when they leave the camera rolling, we’re able to improv. We can go on living the character beyond the dialogue, a little bit.

Does it feel like a luxury to work on a TV series that can choose when it ends and go out on a high note, or would you have been just as game to do a Season 5?

SMITH-CAMERON: I’m not sure I agree that it needs to go out on Season 4. From my point of view, I feel like there’s tons of material and tons of interest in it. But I have complete respect for (show creator) Jesse Armstrong’s judgment, and I do think that the core of this story and this series has to do with the family and the family dynamics, and Jesse brought a conclusion to that. But in terms of the world of Succession, I feel like it could go on and on. It’s so topical, the things they’re doing, with the influence of the super rich and powerful, and how they abuse their power. The threat of that is all over the globe, and I think there’s a very keen interest in that because we’re all worried about it. It’s a tonic to have a show that addresses it with glittery, cold perspective, but that can also make humor out of it. It’s extremely helpful for the tonic.

I’m just waiting for Gerri to get rid of them all and take over everything.

SMITH-CAMERON: I agree. Okay, let’s tell Jesse to do that spinoff.

Succession airs on Sunday nights on HBO and is available to stream at HBO Max.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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