This story on Matthew Macfadyen first appeared in the Race Begins issue of TheWrap’s Emmy magazine.
Should HBO’s “Succession” succeed in securing an Emmy nomination or two, subscribers to the premium-cable channel may take a look at one of its better shows not named “Game of Thrones.” Season 1 of the media-empire drama aired after HBO’s second highest-rated series, “Westworld,” though the Nielsen numbers for “Succession” do not quite reflect its quality — or its quality lead-in.
The series, created by Jesse Armstrong, focuses on the Roy family, the owners of a global media empire who are NOT the Murdochs and we can all stop asking about that now. Matthew Macfadyen’s Tom Wamsgans is not technically a Roy, but he is perhaps the series’ most unique, captivating and intriguing player. We say that, of course, with all due respect to Roman (Kieran Culkin).
“[Tom’s] sort of repellent and weirdly sympathetic all at once,” Macfadyen said. “He’s sort of spineless, yet he’s got something to him.”
And yes, the man who plays the punching-bag husband of daughter Shiv Roy (Sarah Snook) “occasionally” feels bad for using even-lower man on the corporate totem pole — and family tree — Cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun) as his punching bag.
“Tom really, really likes Greg, which is probably why he can be so revolting to him,” Macfadyen said. “Tom probably doesn’t have many friends, and I think his marriage with Shiv — even though they end up sort of OK at the end of the first season — he’s sort of punching above his weight a bit. I think with any of the Roys, you’re always slightly uncertain, on unstable ground. You don’t really know whether you’re safe.
“With Greg,” he added, “Tom sort of kicks the cat, but I think he really, really needs him. Maybe more than Greg needs Tom.”
Fans are looking forward to Season 2, which will premiere in August, but we still want more. More specifically, we’re hoping for a Tom and Cousin Greg spinoff — and we’re not alone.
“We’re campaigning, Nick and I, to see if we can open up an office in Tokyo or somewhere, or the Middle East maybe, where we could take Waystar,” Macfadyen said. “I would be very happy working with Nick forever — he’s just lovely.”
Read more from the Race Begins issue of TheWrap’s Emmy magazine.