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HBO’s Succession has no shortage of unexpected developments throughout its first three seasons. The relationship between Roman Roy (Kieran Culkin) and Gerri Kellman (J. Smith-Cameron) is among the most surprising. According to Culkin, Succession fans can thank the cast members for that development — one he recalls “happened naturally.”

The ‘Succession’ cast influenced the Roman and Gerri fling

Kieran Culkin and J. Smith-Cameron as Roman Roy and Gerri Kellman in 'Succession' Season 2. They're leaning over a wooden railing and Gerri is speaking to Roman.
Kieran Culkin and J. Smith-Cameron in ‘Succession’ | Peter Kramer/HBO

Roman and Gerri’s fling doesn’t kick off until Succession Season 2, and apparently, the cast had something to do with that. Kieran Culkin told The Hollywood Reporter that he was rooting for something to happen between the two characters since the beginning of the series. And he and co-star J. Smith-Cameron would flirt on set frequently:

“I remember saying to my wife in season 1, ‘I really hope something happens sort of sexually or romantically between those two, but I don’t know that it ever will.’ But we were sure trying. I would flirt with J. [Smith-Cameron] in the most obnoxious way, just to f*** around.”

Apparently, the Succession writers caught onto whatever chemistry the duo created in their interactions. According to Smith-Cameron, they cracked the writers up during Shiv’s (Sarah Snook) wedding in season 1, when she and Culkin were checking each other out.

“I remember the writers all laughing,” Smith-Cameron told THR, “but it never occurred to me that it would inform anything they wrote.”

It seems the flirting worked for the creators, who later pushed their relationship into sexual territory. And in a recent interview, Culkin went into further depth about their on-set antics. He believes they allowed the fling to develop “naturally.”

Kieran Culkin says the relationship ‘happened naturally’

Succession cast member Kieran Culkin recently sat down with The Los Angeles Times, and the subject of Gerri and Roman came up yet again. The actor reiterated how “naturally” the whole thing felt. He also shared his reasoning for Roman’s inappropriate comments toward Waystar’s General Counsel:

“That’s something that sort of happened naturally. It just, for some reason, felt right and safe to be inappropriately flirty with general counsel. She’s been a part of the family for a long time and it’d be like, here’s a safe space. I’ll say something kind of gross and flirty and see where it lands. And it always landed well. She always kind of rolled her eyes and was like, ‘Oh yeah, I’m so shocked.’ And it’s just fun to play.”

It’s just as fun to watch, as uncomfortable as some of Roman and Gerri’s interactions can be. Unfortunately, the pair didn’t leave off on the best note at the end of Succession Season 3. With Gerri still working under Logan (Brian Cox) and Roman exiled with his siblings, do these two have a future in the show?

What could happen between Roman and Gerri in ‘Succession’ Season 4?


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Succession Season 3 leaves Roman and Gerri in an awkward place, but it also leaves the door open for further antics in season 4. When Roman asks her for help after Logan cuts his kids out of the company, she makes a simple statement.

“Well, I’m focused on whatever outcome best serves the financial interests of the shareholders of the company,” she tells him. “But it doesn’t serve my interests. How does it serve my interests?”

She also speaks to furthering her “position” earlier in the season. That implies that she’d help the Roys if they made it worth her while.

During an interview with Marie Claire, Succession cast member J. Smith-Cameron confirmed that mentality is the core of her character.

“That is the very key line for Gerri,” she explained. “That explains her whole character in a nutshell.”

Only time will tell if Gerri and Roman come together once again. In the meantime, fans can enjoy their bizarre relationship in the first three seasons of Succession. All episodes are currently streaming on HBO Max.