What Matthew Macfadyen Thinks About ‘Succession’ Viewers’ Fantasies of a Tom Wambsgans-Cousin Greg Romance
Matthew Macfadyen‘s Succession character Tom Wambsgans is a tragically pitiful soul whose existence seeks to serve as the Roys’ punching bag. While Tom proves he can’t hold his own under immense pressure, his reprieve comes from his lackey Greg.
While they are mainly shown to be cordial, Greg and Tom’s dynamic is complex. Tom and Greg’s relationship seems to teeter on the edge of bromance and an actual romance. Here’s what Macfadyen thinks about Succession fans’ fantasies of a Tom-Cousin Greg romance.
Tom Wambsgans and Cousin Greg are their own kind of couple on HBO Max’s ‘Succession’
Succession revolves around the ultra-wealthy Roy family, who own global media and entertainment company Waystar Royco. The family’s patriarch Logan Roy, who built the company from the ground up, has health issues resulting in a war of sorts amongst his children. The Roy family battles over who will take the Waystar helm as the health of their patriarch hangs in the balance.
Succession takes the audience through a wild roller-coaster ride full of scandals, heartbreaks, and betrayals in a family who don’t trust each other as each one tries to take the rug from underneath the other. While the series features several romances, one stands out due to its complex dynamic. Tom and Greg have been frenemies from Season 1.
Some may argue their relationship is more of a Stockholm Syndrome type, but that’s here nor there. Tom takes Greg under his wing as his mentor after the young adult gets fired from his job at one of the family’s amusement parks. Tom’s decision to mentor Greg comes with several strings attached as it essentially means if Tom goes down, he drags Greg with him.
A good example of this involved the time Tom saw incriminating information and forced Greg to see it as well so they would both become accomplices. Tom knows that Greg has almost zero say in the family company and uses it to his advantage.
The homoerotic overtones in Tom’s Nero-Sporus question to Cousin Greg
In Season 1, Episode 1, Tom asks Greg if he would kiss him. While a disoriented fake-out, there is a tense moment in which Greg seems to consider it as he looks around nervously. His moment is almost overlooked throughout the show. But it culminates in a moment last season when Tom again makes a comment with a weirdly sexual connotation to it.
In Season 3, Tom asks Greg if he knows about Sporus and Nero, explaining the concept to Greg. In Roman mythology, as Vanity Fair, details, Sporus was a young man to whom Emperor Nero took a liking. Nero castrated Sporus and married the servant after killing his wife. While some texts claim Nero’s wife died in childbirth, many say Nero kicked her to death.
This subtle reference in Tom’s speech might have a deeper meaning especially given that his wife and only daughter of Logan, Shiv Roy, continuously emasculates him. He and Greg have grown closer every season. Tom further tells Greg, “I’d castrate you and marry you in a heartbeat.” His suggestion afterward, goading Greg to wrestle him to the ground, seems like a way to gain close physical contact with Greg.
What does Matthew Macfadyen think of the viewers’ fantasies?
The Tom-Cousin Greg romance has been the object of many viewers’ desires since Season 1, and Macfadyen is aware. When asked what he thinks about his character’s homoerotic overtone in the Nero and Sporus comment, Macfadyen told Vanity Fair, “That’s the fascinating thing, as an actor, because it’s all swirling around and so people can just sort of see what they like.”
Of the audience’s fantasies of a possible Tom and cousin Greg romance, Macfadyen said, “that’s projection,” but the actor thinks of Tom and Greg as an uncle and a rogue nephew and less in a romantic light.