‘Succession’: Nicholas Braun Says Playing Cousin Greg is Therapeutic

In Succession, Nicholas Braun plays the hapless cousin Greg who provides a glimmer of perplexed humanity among the pit of snakes that is his family. In real life, Braun does not share too much with his bumbling onscreen counterpart. Still, the Succession cast member said he was drawn to the role on the HBO series and other parts that reveal pieces of himself. 

Succession cast member Nicholas Braun in a gray sweater.
Nicholas Braun | Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb

Nicholas Braun has established himself playing multilayered characters like cousin Greg

Braun has worked as an actor since childhood. After discovering his skills while helping his father practice acting, the Succession cast member began picking up guest appearances on TV shows and Disney movies. He admitted that he had the opportunity to excel in the Disney-sphere, but he turned it down in favor of going to school.

“The opportunities to be the lead of a Disney Channel series felt scary to me,” he told GQ. “It felt like a commitment that might come around to bite me in the a–.”

As an adult, he resumed his focus on acting, banking on the “slow rise” to artistic fulfillment. As he has continued to gain success, Braun focuses on roles with complex, sometimes unlikeable characters. Though Succession’s cousin Greg may give the audience a gentler, outside perspective, the character still makes terrible decisions on his clamber to success. 

Similarly, in 2021’s Zolahis character Derrek is whiny and ridiculous, but he has a good heart. Braun will also star in the upcoming film adaptation of the short story “Cat Person” as the widely-maligned character Robert.

The ‘Succession’ cast member thinks he’s attracted to ‘therapeutic’ roles

While descriptions of Braun say he is amicable and funny, he said he likes characters like Greg, Derrek, and Robert because they let him magnify certain parts of his personality. He explained that with Greg in particular, he emphasizes the more insecure parts of his personality.

“I pick a bunch of traits that are me trying too hard or feeling uncomfortable in a room, or wanting to speak up but I don’t quite get permission, so it comes out in a weird way,” he told The New York Times.

He mused on why he might pick out roles that force him to emphasize traits like these.

“Maybe I’m attracted to roles that feel therapeutic,” he said. “I get to look at these parts of myself and ask, Why do I do that? How do I amplify that in a fun way?”

Nicholas Braun’s impressive performances have elevated his star power

Though Braun has worked as an actor for much of his life, he has gained higher celebrity status in the past few years. In 2020, he interrupted a pizza review video, and the reviewer recognized him. When the video’s guest, Jon Bon Jovi, arrived, he recognized Braun as well.

This type of celebrity could be grating, particularly for someone who never aimed for it. Also, despite all his work, fans usually only recognize him for one character, as he told the Wall Street Journal.

“I’m becoming known for playing Greg, and I think at this point I have to actively try to widen that as much as I can.”

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