‘Succession’: Bad Small Talk Helped Nicholas Braun Prepare for His Role

Nicholas Braun’s Emmy-nominated performance in Succession and his film work have acquainted audiences with his skill playing bumbling characters. Despite his talent in these roles, Braun said he wasn’t always comfortable with this type of character. In order to prepare for his part in the HBO series, Braun had to do some real-world training. The Succession Season 3 actor explained how unending conversations with strangers helped prepare him for his role.

Nicholas Braun has made a career out of playing slightly awkward characters

While Cousin Greg on Succession is perhaps the best example of Braun’s adeptness in cringe-acting, he’s no stranger to the character type. In one of his first big roles, Braun played Zach in the Disney movie Sky High. The character is a designated “sidekick” who has the seemingly useless power of glowing in the dark.

More recently, in 2021’s Twitter-thread-based film Zola, Braun played Derrek, the gawky, slouching boyfriend to Riley Keough’s Stefani. He will also play Robert in the upcoming movie Cat Person, based on a short story of the same name. Robert initially comes across as sweet and sheepish in the short story, though he has some darker proclivities. 

All these roles are very different, but they emphasize Braun’s ability to melt into a character who is an outsider trying to make their way in. 

Nicholas Braun learned to lurk ahead of ‘Succession’

Though Braun gives a strong performance as Greg in Succession, many parts of Greg’s personality do not come naturally to the actor. In particular, Greg inserts himself into situations where he does not belong without understanding he shouldn’t be there.

“I think his lurkiness is a big part of his character,” Braun said on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. “So I guess I wasn’t a real lurker before this part.”

Braun explained that, unlike his character, he does not like to linger in conversations. He had to learn to hang on for much longer than he should. 

“I was in the airport, and I was like, ‘I need to figure out how to do this.’ So I went into various shops, and I just stood next to people,” the Succession Season 3 actor explained. “And then I would have a really mundane conversation about the headphones they’re looking at, or, you know, the jewelry they’re looking at.”  

In order to fully understand Greg, Braun tried to “win” at the conversation.

“People hang in conversations a lot longer than you think,” he joked. “So I just kept going and going, and then, I think I won a lot of the time.”

His cringing performances have gained Braun many fans

Despite his sometimes tough-to-watch performance as Greg, Braun’s clumsy character has gained him many dedicated fans. He’s picked up over 200,000 followers on Instagram and fans consistently recognize him in his day-to-day life. He’s also scored a record deal and is working on a screenplay.

While he’s not his character, as he’s quick to note in the Colbert interview, people often refer to him as Greg. With his recent work, though, he’s trying to establish himself as a successful actor outside of his famous role.

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