Image via HBO
Warning: The following article contains spoilers for season four of Succession.
Fans of HBO’s acclaimed series Succession treated to (or more accurately dismayed) this week by the election of a new President. Republican candidate Jeryd Mencken (played by Justin Kirk) snatched the victory from Democrat Daniel Jimenez (Elliot Villar), during the climactic and just-released eighth episode of Succession’s fourth and final season.
The episode, titled America Decides, drew parallels to the 2020 US election, and these comparisons were acknowledged by Kirk himself during a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “Succession often feels not necessarily a mirror, but like five minutes from now,” the actor said.
“It definitely feels that way in this case. Jeryd Mencken is a figure who isn’t necessarily [based on] a specific dude, but he feels like he very well might be.” Perhaps the biggest kicker of America Decides arrives when Mencken gives his acceptance speech, a moment which Kirk described as “some crazy sh**.” Kirk recalled contracting COVID-19 in the days leading up to the filming of the acceptance speech, saying he felt as though he had “let [the showrunners] down.”
“They were so nice about it. They switched things around. I was positive for nine days, and I lost my voice, as well. I have this big speech, and I’ve literally lost my voice in a way I never have, and wasn’t even aware of it because I’d been staying alone and wasn’t speaking with anyone.”
After recovering from COVID-19, Kirk filmed the scene at the CNBC headquarters in New Jersey, performing the speech “alone in a room with a sparse camera crew, pretending to be in front of hundreds of Mencken true believers, saying some crazy shit.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Kirk spoke of his first appearance as Mencken in Succession’s third season, and said he “had a good feeling” about reprising his role in season four. “When they offered the part, it said ‘possible recurring’ at the bottom of the email. But I thought that since the last frame of that episode was me staring at Logan (Brian Cox) and taking a picture with him, I had a good feeling [about coming back].”
As for the future of Succession and the implications of Mencken’s election, Kirk only had one ominous comment: “there’s more to come.”
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