Beware the Perils of Marrying into the Roy Family

Succession’s Natalie Gold discusses her character’s mix of affection and distaste for her estranged husband.

HBO: Rava seems to have dueling and complicated feelings towards Kendall. Where do they stand now?


Natalie Gold: I spoke to Jesse [Armstrong] about their relationship when we were midway through the season. I told him that I believed Rava and Kendall once had a beautiful love story, but viewers are picking up at a very sad point in their relationship. Jesse added that in his view, Rava is the love of Kendall's life. They've been separated for a few years at this point. I love that she's pragmatic, level-headed and cool. In my mind, she loves Kendall and she married Kendall in spite of his family, not because of it. Their separation comes from her need to protect herself and her children from his behavior, obviously his substance abuse issues, and his family. I think that's what makes their encounter in the third episode so challenging for her. She's reminded of his charm, humor and intellect — but that morning-after shows that she still knows she can't fall back.

HBO: How does the character of Rava depict the challenges of marrying into extreme wealth?


Natalie Gold: I love that Rava is smart, discerning, and independent. She's interesting to me because she's decidedly not interested in the limelight. She’s personally not obsessed with the flash that comes from joining the Roy family or the material benefits it provides. The challenge for her, and this is something the writers helped me with as I prepped for the role, is that it's a hard family to leave and cut ties from.

HBO: That would explain why Rava shows up to the Thanksgiving dinner despite the obvious dysfunction.


Natalie Gold: Because she, as the one that married into the family, didn’t want to be the one making headlines and attracting negative press. Also, I think her concern over what the Roy family is doing to Kendall shows the difficulty of caring for someone raised in this mess. She's done what she can to remain as detached as possible for her kids' sakes, but it doesn't make it easy when there’s very little she can do for Kendall.

HBO: As an actor, how do you portray the tension between Rava’s attraction to Kendall and distaste for him?


Natalie Gold: The writing does a great job of telling this story, but part of my work as an actor is coming to the table with some conception of a history between the characters. Additionally, it helps to come to a place with some sort of compassion for Kendall's character. When the feelings of love are real, it breeds ground for a lot more pain -- and humor -- at the same time.