Cousin Greg as the next Logan Roy? Nicholas Braun on playing the man least likely

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By Dave Itzkoff

October 14, 2021 — 10.30am

The large antheral had travel to New York’s Little Island.

Nicholas Braun ambled his two-metre-tall aforesaid crossed a span implicit the Hudson River and into this man-made floating parkland that has fascinated him since it opened successful May. Or arsenic helium enactment it: “I’ve seen this spot a batch from the highway, but it doesn’t ever consciousness similar the infinitesimal to go.”

He wandered its landscapes and worked his mode up and down its topography. He spent a fewer moments admiring the hypnotic rotations of a elephantine spinning disc (“Oh, that made maine dizzy successful 5 seconds”) and somewhat little clip listening to a somewhat repetitive set play successful an amphitheatre (“They could usage a fewer much lyrics”). He eagerly explored a cavernous passageway that turned retired to pb to the restrooms.

Succession’s Nicholas Braun grew a beard for an upcoming role. “I didn’t adjacent    cognize  I could.”

Succession’s Nicholas Braun grew a beard for an upcoming role. “I didn’t adjacent cognize I could.”Credit:New York Times

All successful all, helium came distant with a caller position connected the worth of nationalist space. “Feels similar determination should beryllium a mini-golf people up here, right?” helium said.

When you’re successful Braun’s company, astir thing helium says, successful his unhurried and people innocuous delivery, tin look funny. It tin consciousness similar helium conscionable has a preternatural propensity for getting himself into awkwardly comic situations.

Those reactions mightiness besides beryllium the effect of a inclination to subordinate this 33-year-old histrion with his breakout relation arsenic Cousin Greg connected HBO’s Succession. Greg could person ended up a hapless second-tier quality if Braun hadn’t helped elevate him into a first-rank buffoon connected that cutthroat comedy-drama. In conscionable 2 seasons, Braun has slid seamlessly and unselfconsciously into Greg’s blundering fish-out-of-water rhythms, whether helium is excusing the mispronunciation of his ain sanction oregon stammering his mode done a US Senate hearing.

But the real-life Braun is by nary means Cousin Greg. He is simply a feline with regular problems and plausible ambitions, who is vexed by leaky pipes successful his apartment, hopes for a semipermanent romanticist narration and counts himself lucky, aft much than 20 years arsenic a moving actor, to find himself with a fashionable portion connected a deed show. He is besides sympathetic to Greg’s highly entertaining flaws and optimistic that the quality mightiness someday transcend his limitations – possibly astatine immoderate constituent during the coming 3rd season, which begins connected October 18.

“I deliberation determination is an intellect underneath it all, but it’s buried by each the different worldly – being acrophobic to speech successful a country afloat of important people,” Braun said. “But erstwhile helium does get a chance, I deliberation helium does person a bully instrumentality to enactment forth.”

If determination is simply a constituent wherever Braun syncs wholly with Greg, it is successful telling the communicative of idiosyncratic who abruptly and amazingly finds himself precisely wherever helium has ever wanted to beryllium and is determined to marque the astir of it.

“There’s a trying to Greg that’s truly endearing and amusive for maine to play,” Braun said. “A trying and usually failing, but occasionally not, and it keeps working, dilatory working, for him.”

A definite magnitude of happenstance has played a captious relation successful his career. Braun, who grew up successful New York and Connecticut, was 5 erstwhile his parents divorced. After his begetter started attending acting classes he’d been fixed arsenic a gift, helium encouraged the reluctant young Nicholas to travel him into the craft.

“I would spot him each different weekend, and helium would enactment maine successful a seat and we would bash these Meisner repetition exercises together,” Braun said. “They were truthful frustrating. I hated them. A begetter and lad successful a repetition conflict – it’s really brainsick to deliberation of that.”

The 2 were formed unneurotic successful a abbreviated movie and Braun past started getting high-profile TV and movie roles. By his teens, helium was landing movies specified arsenic the Disney superhero drama Sky High, and though helium enrolled astatine Occidental College with plans of being a maths major, helium dropped retired aft 2 years, deciding his aboriginal was successful performance.

Nicholas Braun astatine  an LA movie  premiere successful  2009.

Nicholas Braun astatine an LA movie premiere successful 2009. Credit:Getty Images

“Barack Obama lone did 2 years there,” Braun said with a smile. “Worked for him.”

When a transcript of the aviator publication for Succession came his mode a fewer years ago, Braun recovered himself somewhat baffled by immoderate of the aggravated repartee being flung by Logan Roy, the fictional media mogul played by Brian Cox, and his squabbling scions.

“There’s each these things astir ‘boost the bid’ that I didn’t recognize however that acceptable in,” Braun recalled. “Is this a concern show?” But erstwhile helium work 1 of his archetypal scenes arsenic the interloping, underqualified Gregory Hirsch, which had him wearing a canine costume astatine a taxable parkland and throwing up done its eyeholes, Braun said, “I understood my portion of it.”

The quality was “the feline successful the country that doesn’t get it, who wants to get it, and wants to beryllium there”, helium said. “It was beauteous casual to get into Greg’s, you know, thought patterns.”

When Braun arrived to audition with Succession creator Jesse Armstrong and Adam McKay, an enforcement shaper who directed the aviator episode, helium was an contiguous standout.

“His tallness is conscionable disarming, close away,” said McKay, the Academy Award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker. “I’m 6 ft 5 (195cm), truthful usually erstwhile I conscionable radical that are taller than me, they’re athletes. To conscionable idiosyncratic who was 6 ft 7 and they person this benignant of comedic neurosis to them was truly unusual.”

Nicholas Braun arsenic  Greg and Jeremy Strong arsenic  Kendall successful  play   3  of Succession.

Nicholas Braun arsenic Greg and Jeremy Strong arsenic Kendall successful play 3 of Succession.Credit:HBO/Foxtel

After Braun work from the publication and riffed successful a fewer improvised interactions, the Succession squad was assured it had its Greg. Armstrong said that the quality was conceived arsenic idiosyncratic who would stock the audience’s disorientation successful the satellite of the Roys – a subordinate of the household who nevertheless did not acceptable into it easy – but that successful Braun’s portrayal helium became thing more.

“There’s a selfish impulse you person arsenic a writer, which is you’re going to prevention me,” Armstrong said. “And Nick does this. You’re going to instrumentality worldly which is going to prevarication there, inert, and you’re going to marque it funny. Occasionally, you think, oh, he’s going to devour this up – I privation to service this to him connected a metallic platter due to the fact that he’s going to emotion it.”

Braun has feasted connected scenes specified arsenic Greg’s inarticulate Senate testimony, for which the histrion was handed respective pages of dialog the nighttime earlier filming. “Jesse was like, alternatively of coming backmost successful a fewer weeks, would you beryllium crippled for doing this tomorrow?” Braun recalled. “I was like, enactment maine successful – if I get adjacent 80 per cent of this scene, it’ll work.”

Succession has besides capitalised connected the improbable enslaved betwixt Greg and his mentor/tormentor Tom Wambsgans, played by Matthew Macfadyen. Macfadyen explained that Tom, who is joined to Logan Roy’s daughter, Shiv (Sarah Snook), has adjacent little of a assertion to legitimacy than Greg, who is astatine slightest related to the household by blood. Therefore, Macfadyen said, “Tom is 1 of the fewer radical who finds Greg precise threatening.”


There is nary evident concealed to his alchemy with Braun, Macfadyen said. “Sometimes we’ll deliberation a batch and speech and person ideas,” helium said. “And sometimes it’ll conscionable travel retired connected instrumentality 1 and that’s the 1 they use.”

Braun said that of people immoderate information of his existent aforesaid is contiguous successful Greg, though possibly not arsenic overmuch arsenic viewers mightiness think. “I prime a clump of traits that are maine trying excessively hard oregon feeling uncomfortable successful a room, oregon wanting to talk up but I don’t rather get permission, truthful it comes retired successful a weird way,” helium said. “Maybe I’m attracted to roles that consciousness therapeutic. I get to look astatine these parts of myself and ask, wherefore bash I bash that? How bash I amplify that successful a amusive way?”

Referring to a country wherever Greg prepares himself for a imaginable enactment of firm espionage, Braun said playfully, “I haven’t been successful a bath talking into a recorder, checking it due to the fact that I’m going to spell rat connected somebody. I haven’t done that, but I could spot myself doing it successful the close situation.”

While determination would look to beryllium a precise sensible ceiling connected conscionable however acold Greg tin spell connected Succession, Armstrong did not wholly regularisation retired the anticipation that the quality could immoderate time find himself successful Logan Roy’s seat. “I wouldn’t privation to destruct the amusive of considering each the candidates,” helium said. “Greg’s got a agelong mode to go. He often gets what helium wants, done a substance of guile and guilelessness. I permission it up to different radical to justice whether he’s a existent succession campaigner oregon not.”

Nicholas Braun with James Cromwell successful  Season 3 of Succession.

Nicholas Braun with James Cromwell successful Season 3 of Succession.Credit:HBO/Foxtel

Meanwhile, Braun is inactive getting utilized to the unusual personage presumption that his quality has afforded him. He can’t wholly debar the instrumentality pursuing that Greg has cultivated, but helium tries not to fto the adulation and the memes infiltrate his performance.

“You don’t privation to think, is this a meme-able moment?” helium said.

He has been stretching his legs successful different projects, specified arsenic the comic caper Zola, successful which helium plays the hopelessly devoted fellow of an impulsive stripper played by Riley Keough, and helium grew a beard to play the older antheral suitor successful a coming movie adaptation of Kristen Roupenian’s abbreviated communicative Cat Person. (“I didn’t adjacent cognize I could,” helium said of his caller facial hair. “I was like, ‘I tin bash this’.” )


Braun has been moving connected his ain penning arsenic well, including a “quite personal” task that helium described arsenic a “relationship traumedy”. If helium seems “fascinated by romance and courting different human,” helium said it’s due to the fact that “I haven’t truly been successful a semipermanent relationship, ever.”

“I bash yearn for it and yet I’m incapable of it,” helium said. “I spell towards it and past I deed a partition wherever I’m like, I can’t spell farther into this. I’ve got to exit.”

Before you commencement feeling excessively atrocious for the tall, azygous prima of a fashionable TV series, Braun said, much buoyantly, “I bash judge it’ll hap astatine the close clip with the close person. Until then, it’s amusive to conscionable radical and spot what works.”

Succession Season 3 starts connected October 18 connected Foxtel. This nonfiction primitively appeared successful The New York Times.

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