Kieran Culkin and Alan Ruck break down what sets their characters apart from the rest of the Roys.
Roman and Connor don't know much about the inner workings of Waystar Royco despite sharing the family name. But they still have the baggage that comes with having an overbearing, power-hungry father like Logan Roy. Kieran Culkin and Alan Ruck bantered about what separates them from Kendall Roy, Connor’s unique place in the family, and why Roman just doesn’t give a shit.
HBO: Kendall is all about Waystar but you guys are, well, less so. How do your characters diverge from Kendall and the rest of the family?
Kieran Culkin: Oh, we're just not as serious or boring as Kendall.
Alan Ruck: Kendall is very intense, isn’t he? Very focused.
Kieran Culkin: Very focused. Both Kendall and Jeremy Strong.
Alan Ruck: This whole first season is Kendall's journey. It's an ensemble, but the two main arcs are about Kendall and Logan’s battle. Who's gonna be king of Waystar? Connor can't worry about the company politics — partially because he's got some mental issues. He’s a space cadet.
Kieran Culkin: Connor’s on a totally different wavelength.
Alan Ruck: Exactly. He's learned to cope with whatever it is he has because he's a bit older than the other siblings, plus he's benefitted from all the money he's surrounded with.
Kieran Culkin: I've approached Roman by adopting the mindset of someone that has never suffered any consequences for his behavior. Kendall's always had to work for everything to achieve his goals. Meanwhile, Roman has been appointed for positions he probably doesn't even understand. Yet, it all works out for him, no matter how lazy he is. In Roman's mind, why would he care? He's COO of Waystar Royco and Kendall's currently stressed, unemployed and on a drug-bend. He's like, "I've never had to take this job seriously and I'm killing it."
HBO: Roman shows some skill in his successful negotiation with Lawrence.
Kieran Culkin: That exchange shows the only thing Roman has over Kendall. He can really bullshit. People take him seriously because he knows how to charm. Roman may not have a brain for business, but he's a social animal. He can read the room and get the right people drunk enough to agree with him.
Alan Ruck: Roman is incredibly bright. He just doesn't give a shit.
HBO: In spite of Connor and Roman's relative aloofness, they're both ambitious in their own right. What motivates them?
Alan Ruck: I think a lot of it comes from a nagging longing to impress the old man. Connor is already out of the loop because he has a different mother than Shiv, Roman and Kendall, which creates even more distance from Logan. That distance isn't easy to close. That's part of why Connor gets obsessed with planning the charity ball earlier in the season. Logan asked him for help so he needs to prove to his dad that he’s capable.
Kieran Culkin: That's gotta be it. We already have the fortune. Roman could easily quit and fulfill my personal goal of being an unemployed billionaire. He's still involved because he wants his dad to think that on some level, he's doing a good job. As cool as he tries to play it around the family, he can't escape the need to make his father proud.