Remember the first few episodes of Succession, when Shiv and Tom were still together and Kendall was a family man? If you remember correctly, Roman had his own family that seemingly disappeared from the show altogether as the story gained traction. Though Kendall’s family also fell to the wayside eventually, viewers at home have been wondering why the Succession writers decided to write off Roman’s family.
Now, speaking to Variety, actor Kieran Culkin revealed exactly what happened to his character’s family after the Succession pilot.
“Not his kid. Not his wife, either. It was in the pilot, and after it was picked up, it was his girlfriend, and she had a child,” he said. “I’m wearing my real wedding band in the episode.”
The actor revealed he was actually “excited” to have a kid on the show. “It was a little disappointing, but I think the idea was that it would just give them more freedom to play with the character,” Culkin said.
Roman’s sexuality has become a central part of his character due to his obscene sense of humor and his unique sexual relationships, especially after he struck up a situationship with family attorney Gerri Kellman (J. Smith-Cameron) in Season 3. Though he wasn’t a father like his brother Kendall, putting this character in that role could have sent Roman in a different direction.
“They had mentioned to me, even before we shot the pilot, about questioning what Roman’s sexuality is — and we don’t know what it is,” the actor explained. “But it put something in my brain, and I was like, ‘OK, but I’m married and have kids?'”
He continued, “They were toying with the idea that she’s aware that you have sort of hangups sexually when it comes to monogamy, and might be more fluid, but we don’t know what that is yet.”
Roman’s sexual hangups are key attributes that Culkin keeps in mind when playing the character. Looking back on Sunday’s episode, titled “Kill List,” Culkin said they filmed multiple takes of his confrontation with Alexander Skarsgård‘s character, GoJo CEO Lukas Matsson, that included some of Roman’s idiosyncrasies.
“He has this little pouch for fake pee, and on one of the last takes, I went up and just unzipped and tried to pee next to him, which wasn’t in the script. I couldn’t pee, and then I remembered that it had been established that Roman couldn’t pee in front of other men,” he said. “So then I just started peeing next to him, and as I was peeing, I started going into the scene, and he had this little smirk, the full Matsson smirk.”
Season 4 of Succession has given Culkin new avenues to explore Roman’s character as he works through his grief to become the leader his father’s company needs. So much so, Culkin will be submitted for the lead drama actor category in the Primetime Emmy Awards.
Culkin was previously nominated twice for best supporting actor in a drama series.