Welcome to Macfadders. A website supporting the career of Matthew Macfadyen. A wonderful British actor most known for his roles in Spooks, Pride and Prejudice and Ripper Street. The website will provide you with the most up to date news, projects, images and so much more on Matthew’s career and appearances. Follow us on twitter @macfadders. Many thanks, Sarz.
admin / April 2nd, 2019   Succession

If you’re in need of a show to watch, head to HBO and binge Succession. Created by Jesse Armstrong and Executive Produced by Adam Mckay, the show was the hit of last summer. Greed. Power. Money are the central theme as entitled kids vy for the throne, waiting for the family patriarch Logan Roy (Brian Cox) to die so they can inherit his media empire. But which Roy child is fit to take over?
Jeremy Strong and Kieran Culkin star alongside Matthew Macfadyen who plays Tom. The guy from the mid-west, in the midst of planning his wedding to Shiv Roy (Sarah Snook). Tom is far from ruthless,  not a Roy heir. Instead, he takes the insults thrown at him and had the best TV bromance of the summer with Cousin Greg ( Nicholas Braun).

I caught up with Macfadyen to talk about delivering some of the best lines on TV in 2018 and what it was like to play his first American role in the HBO series. Is Tom really as evil as any of the Roy children? And what’s it like to say, “Did you bitch me out, pigman?” on TV?

Read my chat with Macfadyen and see what’s in store for Tom in season two…

You’ve gone from Howard’s End to Disney’s Nutcracker and then there’s Succession, how do you pick your characters and your roles?

They sort of pick me really. I was doing the pilot for Succession here in New York and the offer from Howard’s End came through and doing another buttoned-up Englishman wasn’t really high up on my list, but it was such a brilliant script and Kenneth Lonergan’s script was irresistible. I did that and the show got picked up so I knew I’d go back to Succession which was eons away from Henry Wilcox.

That’s the dreamy state of an actor when you’re playing two completely different parts that are so different from each other.

I remember having a beard from the Nutcracker. I wasn’t really in the magical realm. I remember being a Victorian dad.

And then, you went back to Succession. It was too good to pass up. Talk about seeing the script and getting back into that world.

It was quite a pleasure because I haven’t played an American on film before so that was quite daunting. Once I got over that, it was a joy. The writing is just so good, so fresh and so funny. It does a really clever thing in dealing with subjects like money, power, family and all that stuff seriously, but it pushes it so it’s quite ridiculous. We are ridiculous and people are ridiculous and Succession manages to do that really well. It’s such a tricky thing to pull off and you wonder what you’re watching and I think that’s quite a good thing.

The other actors are so supremely brilliant and it’s just so exciting to be a part of it and acting alongside them all.

I love Tom because he has the funniest lines, especially when it comes to Greg. He’s evil but not quite. Why does he do that?

I think there’s a big part of Tom and he’s not aware he’s doing that. He can cope with being a sycophantic twat and this terrible obsequious toerag to Logan and really to Shiv. He can cope with that debating himself to try and advance through the ranks of the company by being revolting to Cousin Greg and that makes him feel OK.

If you called him up on it, he’d say, “I’m a good boss and a good fiance and I’m doing my best.” I think he’d say, “I’m just a guy from the Mid-West.”

I’ve known people who are wildly different with different people and I suppose we all are to a certain degree. You play different parts with different people in your life. Sometimes when they all come together it’s slightly odd because you don’t know who to be or how to be. I think with Tom, you push it a bit and to extremes.

Talking about extremes, the clubbing scene was wild. Were you much of a clubber?

I never went to clubs. I was more a pub person. I just embraced my inner dork. I forget who owned it. I think it was Jay-Z. Nick and I just had a blast in our VIP area with no one else in there. We did a lot of drunken dancing which they subsequently cut.

Adam left that on the cutting room floor.

Exactly.

You have such great lines calling people, “You lump of fucking turducken.” What is that like to get a script and see a line like that and having to deliver that without bursting into hysterics?

It’s just joy. The problem is – Nick and I are the same – we’d been the night before and say we couldn’t let ourselves down and annoy the crew by laughing too much and so we’d rehearse before. The lines are just so funny. To say, “Did you bitch me out, pigman?” and if I see one little flicker in his eyes, I’m gone. I’ve got no self-control at all. It’s hard. But, that’s the joy of it. It’s such a fun job.

We’ve talked about Greg, but what about Shiv, what does she see in him?

Tom’s probably punching above his weight with Shiv. I think perhaps the idea is that because of who the father is. All the kids and siblings are damaged and lacking confidence, however much swagger they project.

I think Shiv – with Tom – knows he’s never going to leave her. He’s never going to fuck her over or be a threat in that way and that part of her life is settled and safe. Maybe that’s why they’re together. They have a laugh. I think they can plot and plan a career path together and he’s never going to let her down in that way. I think that’s the relationship.

It’s like you were saying, he’s so different with her and with Greg, he’s teaching him things like, “Don’t go to California Pizza Kitchen, it’s not a nice restaurant.”

That’s right.

Mackay’s style is improvising. What is that like for you as an actor and how does that work for you?

In the pilot, we were working out what’s going on and with the accent, it’s quite hard, but that got easier as we went on, but it’s just lovely. Once you know who everyone is and you have that reference, improvising is a great relief.

The script as written is so good and brilliant and just so full of stuff. There is some improvising but it feels so organic and right. It’s so lovely. The writers are always there on set and they’re feeding in different ideas for endings to a scene. It’s just so fluid.

Do you have a favorite Tom line? You became a meme this past season.

[laughs] Someone came up to me at a BAFTAs party and said, “We have a WhatsApp group of videos and memes with just you and Greg.” It was so funny.

There are so many. I do like, “Dude, are you carrying dogshit?” When he has a dog poop bag with biscuits, just because it’s so silly. I don’t know why there’s something about his expression that was just so funny. It made me laugh so much.

“Did you bitch me out pigman?” was another favorite. You never think you’re going to say it on TV and now I have, I can die happy.

You just wonder how far can he go?

We’re almost halfway through the second season and there are some corkers. It’s just hilarious.

“Buckle up, fucklehead” was an absolute favorite.

Oh yes! That was a very good one. “Buckle up, fucklehead.” That was beautiful.

What lies ahead for Tom?

We pick up pretty soon after where we left off the first season. It’s good fun.

It’s been a joy watching you go from Howard’s End to Succession.

You couldn’t have two more different characters. could you? I don’t think Henry would approve of Succession at all.

They wouldn’t be friends.

Source: Awards Daily

Recent projects

THE NUTCRACKER & THE FOUR REALMS
Character: Mr. Stahlbaum
Status: Released November 2018
 

SUCCESSION
Character: Tom
Status: Series 1 broadcast on Sky Atlantic
 

HOWARDS END
Character: Henry Wilcox
Status: Currently available on DVD
 


THE CURRENT WAR
Character: J.P Morgan
Status: Released Jan 2018 (UK)/Dec (USA)

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