curtain call | 

Succession star Matthew Macfadyen on saying goodbye to role of a lifetime

He was speaking to Magazine+ at the premiere of the fourth and final season in London

Matthew Macfayden

Matthew with Nicholas Braun in Succession

Kevin PalmerSunday World

He plays the bumbling Tom Wambsgans in the Sky Atlantic smash hit Succession, yet Matthew Macfadyen is a very different figure away from the Hollywood cameras.

Born in the English coastal town of Great Yarmouth, his life as a star of one of the world’s biggest television shows has taken some getting used to.

Speaking to Magazine+at the premiere of the fourth and final season in London, the American accent the actor showcases in the role that made him famous is replaced by something closer to Hugh Grant.

Matthew with Nicholas Braun in Succession

And he admits his Successionco-star Sarah Snook, who plays his on-screen wife Shiv Roy, is a good ally to have as he tried to slip into the role of Tom.

“Sarah is Australian and I’m very English, so we both have days on set when the accent is hard to find,” he admits.

“We are trying to do a scene and you almost forget what an American is meant to sound like. Or at least you forget who your character is meant to sound like.

“My voice tends to go a little higher when I’m trying to be Tom, but hopefully it’s not too obvious that I’m searching for the accent.”

The eagerly awaited swansong of the epic drama sees the sale of media conglomerate Waystar Royco to tech visionary Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgard) move ever closer. The prospect of this seismic sale provokes further existential angst and familial division among the powerful clan, headed by Logan Roy (Brian Cox).

A power struggle ensues as the family — also including sons Kendall (Jeremy Strong) and Roman (Kieran Culkin) — weighs up a future where their cultural and political weight is severely curtailed.

As Tom, Matthew — who is married to Line of Duty star Keeley Hawes — finds himself at the heart of this family feud.

His uncomfortable business dealings with the hugely entertaining and befuddled Cousin Greg (played by Nicholas Braun) has provided some of the series’ best moments so far, and the actor relishes the challenge.

“It’s excruciating when you see Tom and Greg on screen, but that’s why the fans like it,” he suggests.

“Nicholas is great to work with and it’s a massive thrill to be part of a show that has truly global appeal. I can be somewhere a million miles from home and there will be people shouting, ‘Tom! Tom!’ at me.

“It shows how popular Succession has become and it is a privilege to play this role.

“Playing Tom was such fun because it was something totally different and sort of silly, and it is sad that it is coming to an end now,” adds the 48 year-old, who played Mr Darcy opposite Keira Knightley in Pride & Prejudice on the big screen in 2005.

“Is this show a comedy or a drama? I have been asked that a few times. It’s a drama with a lot of jokes in it because these characters are ludicrous.

“That’s why people have fallen in love with watching them do what they do.”

​The final season of Succession is on Sky Atlantic.

Today's Headlines

More TV

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

WatchMore Videos