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6 Behind-The-Scenes Facts About 'Succession'

With the continuing stay-at-home orders in effect around the country, TV channels and streaming services are grabbing the opportunity to step up. CBS All-Access is doing a free 60-day subscription to entice viewers to try it out. Acorn TV is offering a free 30-day trial run as well. And HBO is doing a "Stay Home Box Office," where it offers some of its buzzier shows for free without subscription. It's a perfect time for viewers to get hooked on its best new drama, Succession. These behind-the-scenes facts about Succession's first two seasons will help tempt new viewers and remind fans now is the best time for a rewatch.

One reason for viewers to get caught up on HBO's best new drama is Succession Season 3 is on the way. The new season was greenlit back in August of 2019, with Deadline reporting an expected fall of 2020 release.

Though there isn't a hard and fast date yet, the return of the Roys to TV will fire up fans all over again. Season 2 saw battle lines drawn between patriarch Logan Roy (Brian Cox) and his eldest son Kendall (Jeremy Strong), who is gunning for a takeover. When billionaire titans of the media brawl in the street, everyone should bring popcorn.

But what is it that makes Succession work so well? Here are a few behind-the-scenes details that contribute to how great it is.

1. The Show Is Inspired By The Murdochs

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Succession was inspired by a script Jesse Armstrong wrote about the News of The World scandal in the U.K., where the Murdoch family was accused of wiretapping celebrities and politicians for dirt. (It's one of two TV series to be inspired by the real-life drama. The other is Press, which aired on PBS in 2019.) Though rewrites made the Roys less of a direct fictionalization of the Fox News owning billionaire family, their US network ACN and the Roy's newspaper holdings overseas are still a direct 1:1 to the Murdoch family business.

2. Logan Roy Was Supposed To Die In Season 1

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If Logan Roy's miraculous recovery halfway through Season 1 feels a little about-face, that's because it is. The original concept was "The Family Patriarch Dies," leading to the siblings going to war. But Brian Cox was so compelling that it was decided having him live would be the more interesting twist.

3. Waystar Royco Is In One World Trade Center

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Though the actual office scenes are on a soundstage much of the time, the B-roll footage that gives the show those views out of the windows were shot in some empty office space in One World Trade Center towards the top of the tower.

Likewise, empty condos on Billionaire's Row give Logan Roy's apartment the shots of the Met and Central Park out his windows.

4. Entire Scenes Of Dialogue Are Improvised

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What really makes this show sing is the rapid-fire snippy dialogue between the characters. The show's best moments are when the cast sits down around a dinner table or a makeshift boardroom and lets the verbal knives fly. And the best part is, a ton of it is improvised. There's a script, but actors are encouraged to make their own additions as they see fit for their characters. Kendall's breakdown in the pilot episode, for instance, was merely a sketch. Everything that happens is actor Jeremy Strong following his instincts.

5. Kieran Culkin Auditioned For Greg

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Kieran Culkin is the little brother of the famous Macaulay and started his career in the later Home Alones. When asked to audition for Succession, he was initially asked if he wanted to try for Cousin Greg. But upon reading the script, he immediately recognized he was a better fit for the Roy family younger brother, Roman.

6. Cousin Greg Really Is That Tall

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Speaking of Cousin Greg, the longest, gangliest member of the Roy clan, there's no trickery being pulled, no CGI that goes into that. Actor Nicholas Braun, who ultimately landed the role, is 6'7".