In this week’s episode of Succession, Connor Roy’s ambitions to run for president were finally taken seriously.
Just kidding. They were not.
At the Future Freedom Summit, a conservative political fundraiser where the next Republican nominee is unofficially anointed, it becomes clear that most members of the Roy family would rather support a charismatic white supremacist (Justin Kirk) than their own blood — a candidate with admittedly limited political experience.
Alan Ruck, the actor who plays the eldest and most overlooked Roy, spoke to Vulture about the truth of Connor’s politics, whether he would get vaccinated in real life, and how Ruck found himself driving a van in a presidential motorcade earlier this year.
Why do you think Connor wants to be president so badly?
At this point in his life, he’s never held a job. I think it’s starting to get to him that nobody needs him anywhere. He has a yearning for people to be like, “Hey, when Connor gets here, we can start.” Also, it’s the one job that would make his father sit down and say, “Wow, good job. Well done.” If I ran for state assembly, I don’t think he’d be so impressed. Connor does suffer from some delusional disorder. I think in his mind, if he was able to nab the top spot in the nation, it would be something that would finally make his father sit up and take notice.
To your point about the delusional aspect, to go from no job to arguably the most important job in the world is a big leap. That doesn’t seem daunting to him at all.
I don’t think it’s ever a consideration for Connor. He’s like, “I can do that.” Clearly, he can’t. He has no aptitude for the business world. I think this was abundantly clear when he was young, and he probably tried to go to business school, to follow in the old man’s footsteps, and then realized he couldn’t. It was awful. It was boring. Economics. Who cares? But I think Connor developed his own fantasy world for many, many years. It’s just like, “Yeah, other people do it. I can do it.” The confidence that comes with unlimited wealth.
And if you’ve never had a job or had to work hard, you don’t have a frame of reference.
Connor’s never had to struggle for anything.
In terms of Connor’s politics, we know he’s conservative, he’s Republican, but the show doesn’t really get into what his policies might be. Is that something you’ve given thought to?
Yeah, there’s little hints along the way. I can’t really talk about it, but there’s stuff that happens this season where things have come out. He’s very concerned about the environment, which is maybe not a typical Republican stance. It’s like, the business of America is business. I think the right is pretty much “let’s make money.” He’s not all about that. As you say, he’s never had to struggle for anything, so he doesn’t really know how the world works. It’s just whatever he’s read in the paper that morning that might be interesting to him, then that would be part of his agenda. It’s very fluid: kind of a stream-of-consciousness platform.
That makes him an atypical Republican.
He’s not really Republican. He styles himself as a libertarian, and libertarian means many different things to many different people. As the name might suggest, it was actually on the left side of the aisle: libertarian, liberal. Then it was co-opted by a faction of neocons maybe 30 years ago. It’s just one of those things that I don’t know has any meaning anymore. He’s basically like, “Stay out of my business. I have my money. You can go get yours but don’t get in my way,” which is pretty much the view of all of them. Actually, sociopaths are what they are. I don’t know if that’s a popular political party, but it is who they are.
Obviously, the show is taking place in a world without COVID. But if the pandemic did take place in Succession, is Connor somebody who does or does not get the vaccine?
I think he would get the vaccine because he’s not a kid anymore. It’s kind of like the author Hunter S. Thompson. He was a renowned party animal, doing drugs and drinking and always loaded, but he was a closet health freak, eating healthy foods and working out all the time. I think Connor might be like that. His official line might be, “I don’t think this is such a good idea, forcing people to do something they don’t want to do,” but then he’d immediately be getting the vaccine for himself. There’s a little bit of hypocrisy there.
That constant contradictoriness must be fun to play.
Yeah, you don’t want to play the straight-arrow good boy. I’ve done that a couple times and it’s really boring. I did one Western in my life, and I played the sad widower. You don’t want to be that guy. You want to be the guy that rides into town and shoots everybody. This is a little more like that.
One thing I do kind of admire about Connor is that, for the most part, he doesn’t seem to lose his cool very often. Given the way he’s treated, he’s pretty even-keeled. Is that a fair assessment, do you think?
I think at some point, Connor’s going to stop being the family punching bag. It’s been building up for many, many years. He was always on the outside looking in after the old man divorced my mother. And then the Golden Trio who could do no wrong came along, and I think Connor had some ADHD before they actually knew what that was. In these dynastic families, if you’re not a shining little star, you get pushed to the back of the family photograph. People say “Oh, how’s Connor?” “Oh, he’s fine. He’s in New Mexico, whatever.” Then they don’t talk about it anymore, because if you don’t add to the family brand you’re not really worth talking about. At some point it’s going to break.
A couple of months ago, you drove a press van in President Biden’s motorcade when he visited L.A. How did that came about? Is that something that you could ever imagine Connor doing?
I have a friend who’s part of Joe Biden’s advance team, and our kids go to school together. One Friday after school, she said, “What are you doing Monday? Are you working? Do you want to drive in a presidential motorcade?” And I immediately said, “Yes” and “Why?” She said, “Well, they bring in Secret Service and military to drive the president and the secretary of State and foreign dignitaries and local politicians and whomever. But every administration relies on volunteers to drive people like the press.” My joke was, “Yeah, because if a van full of reporters driven by a silly actor gets blown up, who’s gonna care?” But anyway, it was great fun. I got to blow through red lights with cops whizzing by on motorcycles. I was trying to be kind of sub rosa with the whole thing, but then one of the reporters busted me. I had my mask on. He said, “You know who you sound like?” And the cat was out of the bag. I got to meet the president briefly the next morning for a very quick photo op. He was very nice. Taller than I thought. I mean, he’s 80 and he’s in great shape. He doesn’t stop moving all day. Connor should beware: Be careful what you wish for, because you might get it.
But I think Connor might [drive a press van]. Kendall would certainly think it was beneath his dignity. And Roman couldn’t be bothered, but I think Connor is kind of a little boy, a loose cannon. Who knows what he might do?