'I interviewed Nicholas Braun and now I understand why the Internet is thirsty for him.'

The first unavoidable fact about Nicholas Braun is that he is ridiculously, comically tall. 

I'm sitting about half a metre away from the man most recognisable to the world as Cousin Greg from HBO's earthy-shatteringly successful show, Succession and he's kind of towering over me. Standing (well, sitting right now) at about two metres, in another universe, Braun could be described as imposing if it weren't for the fact that he's an incredibly polite and generous interviewee. 

Meanwhile, I'm perched on the edge of my armchair and leaning in awkwardly with my iPhone to try and catch the audio and, unfortunately, I have just asked him an incredibly stupid question.  

The question was in reference to the breakout meme that transpired from the first episode of Succession's fourth – and final – season: "the disgusting brothers". It's a nickname that has appeared somewhere between seasons three and four without much context between the series' beloved losers Tom (Matthew McFadyen) and Greg (Braun). 

I've asked Braun if he subscribes to or even really understands the philosophy of the 'disgusting brothers' and the actor is now tipping his head back and pausing to reflect in the way that lets me know very quickly he has not thought about this at all. 

"I think it's good for those guys to get a little disgusting but I don't even know how disgusting they get," he manages finally. "The fact that Greg 'rummages to fruition' isn't the most disgusting thing – it's just kind of pathetic or something. They're more like the 'pathetic brothers'." 


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Video via HBO.

It seems like Braun may have developed a healthy amount of disdain for cousin Greg after nearly five years of inhabiting this character, which is lucky because he can set him aside soon enough. 

The confirmation that the fourth season will be Succession's last came earlier this year in a New Yorker interview with the show's creator, Jesse Armstrong and now, two episodes in, the season is ramping up with the promise that the show will end with a bang. What exactly that bang will be is obviously a close-guarded secret for the moment. In fact, everything about the show's ending has been incredibly close-guarded, including from the cast. 

Sarah Snook, who plays Shiv Roy – possibly the show's most benevolent narcissist – claimed that she wasn't aware the show was ending until she sat down for the final table read. 

Braun tells me he received the news in a slightly more conventional way than Snook seemed to, with Armstrong calling a group of cast members over Zoom. 


"I think we were pretty shocked," he said. "He told our little family crew about it and I think we've been guessing how many it's going to go for from the time we started shooting and I think we all knew that Jesse wanted to lean towards being more conservative and protect the story, as opposed to be super indulgent and giving people six or seven seasons of this thing just because they like it. He values story over fandom or the numbers." 

Despite being caught somewhat off-guard by the news, Braun says that he trusts Armstrong's decision-making and ultimately, ending the show feels right. 

Image: Binge


When I ask him what it feels like to set aside somebody like Greg – the unwieldy, timid punching bag, the man who came in as an outsider to the Roys' narrative and has since existed largely thus far for Tom to torture like a killer whale gleefully tossing around a seal – Braun tells me that there are mixed emotions. 

On one hand, it's hard to walk away from a project after this long. After all, the second undeniable fact about Braun is that through Succession he has found mind-bending success and established one of the most meme-worthy, delightful, comedic characters that has ever emerged from a drama of this magnitude. His wild on-screen chemistry with Mcfadyen's Tom is a cornerstone of the show's, frankly, insane popularity. 

But on the other hand, Braun says he's now looking forward to taking on roles that feel spiritually worlds away from wherever Greg is. 

For reference, Braun tells me that he first modelled the character around the time of his casting on a guy that he saw dancing at a wedding. "There was a guy that was on the dance floor and he kind of looked like me but he was just kind of recklessly dancing and I don't even know what it was about him but there was something about him being sort of unaware of how crazy it looked. It was something I loved about how he didn't care... he kind of felt like a pure soul." 


Braun thought that if he could bring this kind of energy to the "seriousness, self-consciousness and drama" of being in a room with the Roys, it might set him up with a good starting spot to get "slowly beaten down into submission".

Ultimately, he makes it clear that he's ready and willing to play more assertive characters. He doesn't want to be the weird guy on the wedding dance floor anymore. 


In fact, his first major extremely non-Greggish role in Cat Person aired at Sundance earlier this year. Braun plays the male lead, Robert, in the film adaptation of the New Yorker short story that first went viral back in 2017 for the incisive way it captured the fraught power imbalances and anxieties of millennial dating. 

Braun is excited to talk about the project. He tells me he's fascinated by exploring the messiness of relationships outside of rom-com formats that romanticise what can, ultimately, be a rather nightmarish and nauseating process. 

"Nobody wins in this movie, nobody does it better than the other person. Dating is  – essentially – two strangers trying not to be strangers and checking out if they have feelings towards the other person. So, there are bound to be missteps, and it's bound to be messy and uncomfortable," he says. 

While he's expressing these deep and genuine contemplations on dating and relationships, I can't help but feel distracted by the third (and final) undeniable fact about Braun, which is that he is, maybe weirdly, a bit of a heartthrob and I don't doubt that the full potential of this will be revealed in years to come. 

When I first tell female friends and colleagues that I'll be interviewing him the overwhelming reaction is a hungry, very aggressive "WHAT?!" as horniness wins out over basic social decorum. I didn't expect it but somehow it the 'boyfriend material' vibe emanating off this man has seeped into the demographic of young left-leaning millennial women I tend to interact with and they are starving for any news about where they'll see him next. 


Apparently Cousin Greg became a sex symbol. And sitting in front of him, I'm kind of unsurprised. The guy is shockingly good-looking and well-spoken and kind and I start to get why an (unnamed) colleague caught me in the hallway earlier and told me she wants to – quote – "climb him like a tree". 

I can confirm that his blue eyes are huge and make you feel like a fourteen-year-old with a crush.

When I ask Braun what the plan is next and if there are any series roles he's looking for now – horny or not – he just says he basically doesn't want to repeat anything. He wants the 'next thing' but he doesn't know quite what it looks like, only that he's waiting for something that "feels right". 

"I haven't found it yet but we'll see." 

Images provided by Binge. 

Season 4 of Succession is available to stream now on Binge

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