One of the most popular (and painfully unresolved) storylines on “Succession” was Roman Roy and Gerri Kellman’s tendency to mix business mentorship and Machiavellian scheming with kinky, degrading phone sex. The uneasy partnership between Kieran Culkin’s traumatized nepo baby and J. Smith-Cameron’s hyper-competent general counsel was the subject of endless speculation during the show’s run — and the actors still aren’t quite sure what happened.
In a new conversation with Claire Danes as part of Variety’s “Actors on Actors” series, Culkin was asked about the ever-confusing relationship between Roman and Gerri. As it turns out, he was just as confused as the rest of us while they were filming.
“I never did,” Culkin said when asked if he figured out what was going on between Roman and Gerri. “But I knew that it made sense. Something in my belly said, ‘Yeah. This is working. I don’t know what it is or why’ And if I tried to identify it, I feel like Roman wouldn’t be able to identify it. So I tried to remain in the dark. I sort of thought, ‘When the show’s over, I can figure it out’ — and I still haven’t.”
Culkin’s comments echo similar remarks that Smith-Cameron made to IndieWire in 2020. The actress explained that she was never quite sure where the line between business and sex was drawn between the two characters, which only added to the excitement.
“To be honest, it’s very tough. Because you want it to ring true, and, I don’t know. I think she’s too savvy to do anything too messy like that. I think she’s way too careful a person,” Cameron said. “But on the other hand, he makes a good protege. Right? Maybe. I don’t know. I’m just thinking of it in the back of my mind, she’s like, ‘This is a diamond in the rough. Maybe this is the start of a beautiful friendship if I could just put up with his kinky fun sex.’ But I don’t know. How long can you keep that on ice? I don’t know what they’re writing, and I’m a little bit scared to find out.”