We were only blessed with a handful of Succession episodes in which Natalie Gold’s Rava Roy reconnected with estranged husband Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong). Yet, those brief moments spoke volumes thanks to Gold’s powerhouse performance and to her unique chemistry with co-star Strong. Great things do indeed come in small packages.
Over the course of the acclaimed series’s four seasons, we’ve known Rava as a fierce defender of her children. She’s also remains emotionally tethered to Kendall despite every opportunity to abandon him during his quest for Waystar RoyCo’s coveted CEO position. She always cares deeply for him even as he gives every reason to abandon him (and his toxic family) completely. It’s a testament to Gold’s acting prowess that we believe this connection, that we believe so deeply in her reluctance to fully separate from this man she still cares for but cannot live with.
In a way, Gold’s Rava Roy recalls one of the great estranged wives in American cinema: Diane Keaton’s Kay Adams-Corleone in The Godfather trilogy. Yet, here, we’re seeing Rava as Kay in The Godfather Part II — bitter and disillusioned with the man she once loved but cannot move on from. Through our chat, Gold recalled thinking that marrying into the Roy family was akin to marrying into the mafia. Just when you think you’re out, they pull you back in…
Here, in an interview with Awards Daily, Natalie Gold talks about her four seasons on the series and what they’ve meant to her personally and professionally. She talks about working with Emmy-winner Jeremy Strong and how they explore the volatile relationship between the two characters through several takes on the material. Finally, she dives into the connection between Kendall and Rava and why she can’t quite let go of this troubled soul.
Awards Daily: What did this whole experience of four seasons on Succession mean to you, personally?
Natalie Gold: I mean, on a personal level, it’s been the greatest ensemble and community that I’ve had the chance to work with. I feel like, as an actor, all you want is to be a collaborator. That’s all I want, actually. So this is collaborating with some of the smartest, funniest, kindest, most talented people at the highest level. What a gift to get to be on this show, to be a small part of this show, and to love it as deeply as I love it. Plus, I get to take away some good friends from it as well.
Awards Daily: As you have played Rava for four seasons now, how do you think she’s changed over the trajectory of the show?
Natalie Gold: I think she always is trying. I think that’s kind of her underlying Achilles heel, her compassion for Kendall and her love for him and her desire for him to be a part of their children’s lives. But I think she’s changed. It’s, I think, her trust for him what she was trying to gain back, even though it was broken. They were separated at the start of series, but she was really trying to make everything copacetic. I think we’ve slowly seen her try to extricate herself from this family more and more, and I think her trust in him has wavered. She just doesn’t believe him anymore, and she’s given up. She’s giving up more and more hope. Her patience is wearing thin, and I think she’s done in a way that we haven’t seen her be done before. I think she’s pissed in a way that we haven’t seen her be pissed before.
Awards Daily: As I looked at the last two episodes, it seems Rava speaks from a more general, larger perspective. Obviously, she’s talking about her relationship with Kendall and her concerns over her own child, but she almost seems to represent the larger concerns that the New York and others have about what the Roy family is doing and the political unrest that results from theirs and others’ actions. Do you see that as well?
Natalie Gold: I do see that. I think that’s the brilliance of the writing of this show — you get to see the larger concerns through her eyes. It’s happening close to home for them. You’re seeing a direct effect of what they do on a character that we know and has a history on this show. She can represent the audience at large, but also Rava is still in a pretty good place of privilege. So although her experience is deeply traumatic to her and for her daughter, I think other people have it worse than Rava. We do get to see the trickle-down trauma through her eyes in addition to her own complicity, her grappling with her own complicity.
Awards Daily: Do you think Rava cares about Kendall at the end of the season?
Natalie Gold: Yeah, I think she does care about him. I think she always will care about him. I think the relationship is incredibly complicated, but there’s a difference between caring about somebody and enabling them. She’s been trying to get out of that position for a long time, and I think she cares about it and is equally exasperated by him and disappointed in him. That’s, again, what’s so beautiful about what these writers do. She loves him. She always will. Not that she’s in love with him anymore necessarily, but she loves him. There’s a history there. There was a marriage there, so that’s why this is so painful. If she didn’t care, then this would all be a lot easier, I think.
Awards Daily: Many of the scenes that you have with Jeremy in season four are very aggressive, very angry. What is that like for you as an actress to play against him considering you have that history and that connection through this show?
Natalie Gold: It’s so much fun. We’ve been doing this together for about six years now, so there’s so much trust between us as actors, with the creators, and the directors that to step on set and get to be this character and play these painful scenes with Jeremy is incredibly fun. They’re spontaneous and alive. You don’t know exactly where they’re gonna go. Everything’s on the page, but there’s a million different ways to do it. We try it every which way. So it’s the most gratifying thing ever because they’re there. They’re these beautifully written scenes that veer into such unexpected places. So to not have a plan of how we’re going to get there and figure it out as we’re doing it is the most satisfying. You just feel really lucky that you get to be there and do it.
Succession streams exclusively on MAX in its entirety.