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Interview: Executive Producer Scott Ferguson on ‘Succession’ Season Three

Spoilers Below for Succession

INTRODUCTION

Succession Season Three ended with a big bang, making fans wonder if the Roy family will even be involved in Waystar RoyCo next season. I sat down with Succession executive producer Scott Ferguson to unravel season three of one of the television’s best series.

Ferguson told me a bit about how he started working for the show in its second season. He began his career as a line producer, which involved supervising the crew and figuring out the logistics of budgeting.

What excited Ferguson about working for Succession was that creator Jesse Armstrong offered him a hybrid creative line producer position. It is a significant growth opportunity because he also gives notes on scripts and casting.

Since Ferguson works on both the financial and creative aspects of production, he can help mediate debates about what’s best for the budget verse the story.

COVID & CHANGE OF LOCATION

Next, we spoke about how COVID affected the writing and production of season three. Armstrong had already outlined and pitched the story arc for the season in January 2020. Since he pitched before the pandemic hit the United States, none of the major storylines were affected by COVID.

There was some discussion of having a Mini-Covid season with the Roy family isolating together in a large home. Ultimately, HBO decided to postpone the production until regulations allowed the team to film Armstrong’s original vision. However, there were some locations changes for the safety of everybody involved in the production.

Originally parts Succession Season Three were supposed to take part in Italy, Germany, and Abu Dhabi. Instead, Armstrong re-wrote the episodes to take place in New York or Italy. For example, some of the events during Caroline’s Italian wedding were initially located in Ab Dhabi. Ferguson remarked how it all worked out because those plots turned into a double wedding episode.

Ferguson shared an interesting tidbit that I had not noticed about Lukas Mattson’s villa. It’s ambiguous if the villa is in Switzerland or Italy. The villa is off Lake Maggiore, which borders both Italy and Switzerland. The Roy family boats have Switzerland flags. Roman and Logan took a helicopter to Matsson’s villa, meaning they could have flown twenty minutes to Switzerland.

SKARSGARD’S LUKAS MATSSON

In my opinion, one of the best new characters of season three is Lukas Matsson, performed by Alexander Skarsgard. Ferguson played a large part in casting Skarsgard. Skarsgard acted in an indie film that Ferguson produced about ten years ago. The Swedish actor’s role was small, but his talent left a significant impression on Ferguson.

Skarsgard was not on the original list of actors to play Matsson because the CEO was supposed to be Northern European. However, Ferguson is good friends with Succession casting director Avy Kaufman, so he whispered in her ear about how Skarsgard would be perfect for the role.

The rest is history because Skarsgard captured Matsson perfectly from the first scene they shot of the character in the bathroom with Roman. Ferguson and the whole Succession team love his talent and found all Matsson’s scenes fun to shoot.

We spoke about how, other than Sandy, Matsson is the only person who can talk to Logan as an equal. Ferguson looks forward to what Armstrong comes up with for the next season because for most of the Succession; it did not look like Logan would ever sell Waystar RoyCo or give up control to anybody, including his children. Now Lukas may end up being his successor.

Creator Armstrong quoted Leon Trotsky, “Revolution is impossible until it’s inevitable,” to speak about the shift when Logan looked into Matsson’s eyes. At that moment, he decided to sell the company.

ANCIENT ROMAN HISTORY

We ended the interview speaking about Ferguson’s first meeting with Armstrong at Hell’s Kitchen for lunch. Usually, creators talk about their vision for their television show, but Armstrong spent the whole time speaking about Ancient Roman emperors. Ferguson connected with Armstrong because he loves Ancient Roman history.

Dynastic issues of Julio-Claudian emperors highly influence Succession, and Armstrong uses several historical books about the subject as references. Tom calls back to the story of Nero and his slave boy “wife” Sporous throughout season three when advising Greg.

THOUGHTS ON SUCCESSION SEASON FOUR

When I mentioned Succession Season Four, Ferguson says it’s all up to Armstrong and his writing team. However, he did say that “there’s a promise inherent in the title. So, we’ll find out where it all lands. I’m looking forward to seeing it.”

Ferguson enjoys Connor and Willa’s story arc because there is much room to explore next season.

What are your predictions for Succession Season Four? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Written by Paloma Bennett

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