That Stunning ‘Succession’ Emotional Set Piece Was Shot as a Single 27-Minute Take

“It was unlike anything I’d ever done before and it was extremely exciting,” actor Kieran Culkin said

Note: The following contains spoilers for “Succession” Season 4, Episode 3

During this week’s behind-the-scenes look at “Succession,” actor Kieran Culkin and executive producer and director Mark Mylod broke down how they shot “Connor’s Wedding,” the pivotal third episode of season 4 which revolves around the Roy family’s reaction to the surprise death of Logan (Brian Cox). Specifically, Mylod revealed that the scene in which the Roy kids first get a call from Tom was shot in one long, unbroken 27-minute take.

“In the planning of the shots, it felt to me like the camera had to be almost sadistically voyeuristic,” Mylod recalled. “It had to stay really close without kind of taking its eye off them because every time we cut away from the siblings it seemed to let them off the hook. So we worked on this idea of how could we keep the action as fluid as possible so that it’s unflinching.” 

Culkin noted that it “felt like the most exciting episode we’d shot because it moves in real-time.”

According to Culkin, the episode’s scenes on the boat were shot over the course of five or six days, but they shot the sequence with the phone call from Tom and the kids telling Shiv and Connor as a long, nearly half-hour unbroken take.

“As it turns out, it’s like a 27-minute long scene,” Culkin said. “It was us doing like a one-act play on a boat in several rooms with background actors, with lighting everywhere, with three cameras and it was unlike anything I’d ever done before and it was extremely exciting.” 

Due to the fact that the show shoots on film, the crew was only able to shoot for 10 minutes at a time before the cameras had to be physically reloaded with a new roll of film.

“So the camera operators worked on this idea of basically hiding rolls of film around the set and hiding a third camera body during super fast reloads so that one camera would always be running so they wouldn’t have to reload at the same time,” Mylod explained.

Mylod said the take they shot as one long sequence ended up being used quite a bit in the finished episode. “I think a massive percentage of that ended up being in the final cut.”

Watch the full behind-the-scenes look in the video above.

“Succession” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and is streaming on HBO Max