- Season 2 of ‘Succession’ saw Roman Roy and Gerri Kellman forma deranged sexual bond
- Kieran Culkin and J. Smith-Cameron have worked together multiple times before ‘Succession’
- Kieran knows exactly how Roman would react if Gerri actually told him to take off his pants
Succession season 2 saw a deranged sexual bond form between Waystar Royco heir Roman Roy and general counsel Gerri Kellman. The unexpected twist of their “verbal sadomasochistic relationship” had Roman (Kieran Culkin) masturbating behind closed doors while Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron) degraded him with names like “pig” and “slime puppy.”
The recently unveiled Succession character poster teases that this dynamic will continue in season 3. Despite the age gap — and Gerri being a mother figure to Roman — their relationship could go to a whole new level. According to Culkin, the next step for Roman and Gerri isn’t actually hooking up. But he knows exactly how Roman would react if Gerri finally turned to him and said, “Take off your pants, let’s f**k.”
Kieran Culkin and J. Smith-Cameron knew each other for years before ‘Succession’
Gerri is Roman’s closest ally on Succession. But what fans might not know is that Culkin and Smith-Cameron have an even closer relationship in real life. Smith-Cameron and her husband, filmmaker, and playwright Kenneth Lonergan, are two of Culkin’s closest friends and creative collaborators.
Culkin has worked with Smith-Cameron and Lonergan for more than a decade, in projects ranging from the play This Is Our Youth to the film Margaret.
“My first day of shooting Succession, I looked on the schedule and I see ‘J. Smith Cameron,’” Culkin told The Hollywood Reporter. “I went, ‘You got to be f**king kidding me.’”
Kieran Culkin hoped something would happen between Roman and Gerri
Culkin says that back in season 1, he remembers telling his wife that he hoped something would happen “sort of sexually or romantically” between Roman and Gerri. But he wasn’t confident that it would.
“We were sure trying,” Culkin admitted. “I would flirt with J. in the most obnoxious way, just to f**k around.”
The ‘Succession’ writers took inspiration from their real-life relationship
While filming the season 1 finale at Shiv’s wedding in a Scottish castle, both Culkin and Smith-Cameron spun around to check out the other’s backside during a take, unbeknownst to one another. That made the writers laugh, but neither Culkin nor Smith-Cameron thought their familiarity with each other off-screen would inform anything the writers wrote for their characters.
“I can say I was honestly passionate about building that relationship, because I noticed it even happening on set a little bit,” writer Lucy Prebble revealed to The Ringer. “There was a fun dynamic between them—her sort of strange maternal impatience with him.”
Kieran Culkin knows exactly how Roman would react if Gerri confronted him
It came as a pleasant surprise for Culkin and Smith-Cameron that their naughty flirtations became Succession canon in season 2. Culkin theorizes that for Roman, the flirting is happening because he’s doing something he’s not supposed to do.
“Because it’s so not supposed to happen,” Culkin explained. “It’s like, ‘Could you imagine what Dad would think about that? Or that she’s Shiv’s godmother? She probably used to help me tie my shoes when I was a little kid — and now we’re f**king.’ That’s why. I think if at any point Gerri turned to him and said, ‘Take off your pants, let’s f**k,’ he’d be like, ‘No, no, Mama!’ and run.”
Will the Roman-Gerri partnership succeed in ‘Succession’ season 3?
The unlikely pairing of Roman and Gerri in season 2 was a delightful turn for the audience. But the relationship is still hiding in plain sight in front of everyone around them. Will it continue in season 3? And, if so, will the Rock Star and the Mole Woman be able to bring to life the idea he first shared at Argestes?
Roman managed to save Gerri from taking the fall in the season 2 finale. She’s safe for now, and Waystar Royco is trying to figure out if they will go private or stay public. Either way, is it possible Roman could be CEO and Gerri be chairman? Maybe the other way around? Fans will have to wait and see.
Succession season 3 premieres October 17 on HBO.