Succession Season 3 finale Mark Mylod director
Kieran Culkin, Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook and Brian Cox in the Season 3 finale of Succession, courtesy of HBO

Mark Mylod, director of the third season finale of HBO’s beloved billionaire family drama Succession, never wanted the episode shot in the Tuscan countryside to “fetishize the trappings of wealth.”

The director explained his thought process for the epic finale that aired this week in an interview with IndieWire‘s Sarah Shachat on Wednesday.

“We try not to fetishize locations and we try not to fetishize the trappings of wealth with the camera,” Mylod said. “By taking it for granted, then we better reflect the characters and their attitudes towards that world.”

We spoke with Raffaella Conti, head of the Toscana Film Commission, about working with the Succession crew for Season 3, and she told us that parts of the Italian scenes are filmed in “a beautiful villa in the countryside of Siena.”

Not that Kendall, or any of the other characters, care — Jeremy Strong, who plays the non-eldest brother (Connor wouldn’t have it any other way, obviously), said in his much-talked-about New Yorker profile that he couldn’t appreciate the beauty of the Italian countryside until after the season was completed — because to Kendall, it’s always just “another day, another villa.”

Mylod, who we also spoke with about the episodes he directed earlier this season, told IndieWire that he used the beautiful and unique scenery in Tuscany to emphasize emotional moments in the finale.

Also Read: Kendall ‘Absolutely Trashed’ Those Definitely Not Poison Donuts In a Deleted Scene, Succession Director Says

“There was a very specific kind of graphic moment that I wanted to use, to take advantage both of the architecture and to capture these three siblings, and force them into one space and to bring them together,” Mylod said.

“When I read a scene, [the blocking] is just in my head,” Mylod said. “It seems to me with any family, there’s a pecking order. It’s usually unspoken but it exists. There is a hierarchy, and if our characters gather in a room, I feel like I know where they would be.”

Shooting the final scene, he said, was the “biggest technical challenge” and “probably the longest scene that we’ve ever shot.”

“That was even harder than shooting at Matsson’s villa [which had no roads going into it]. For the walls to be closing in, [and for more] pressure on these characters as the light and the countdown to facing their father… there was an element of the operatic to that scene and to build that tension in the changing light… Because obviously there’s different coverage looking to different directions, towards Kieran [Culkin] and back towards Jeremy [Strong] and Sarah [Snook]. It was a lot of coverage,” Mylod said.

He was also very purposeful with the actors’ blocking to show how they react to changing power dynamics in the room — and to mirror the previous scene when Kendall finally tells Shiv (Sarah Snook) and Ronan (Kieran Culkin) about his feelings of guilt about Chappaquiddick’ing the server at Shiv’s wedding in Season 2.

“The siblings cluster for protection together… [And when] one of them starts to drift, the others will come in and gather around them. That was important,” Mylod said.

“In that final moment when Kieran found his way to the ground, that was just really intuitive. I can’t remember the stage direction that Jesse [Armstrong] had written, but it was along the lines of, you know, in this moment of desolation and defeat that they have each other. That was the moment of hope for me and the actors responded to that… Kieran’s instinct was to go to ground there and Jeremy’s was to support him, as his brother had done for him.”

The third season finale of Succession aired Sunday on HBO and is now streaming on HBO Max. 

Main Image: Kieran Culkin, Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook and Brian Cox in the Season 3 finale of Succession, courtesy of HBO.