Mark Mylod has been one of premium cable’s go-to directors for quite some time, having helmed episodes of Showtime’s “Shameless” and “The Affair,” as well as “Entourage” and “Game of Thrones” at HBO. Now Mylod is one of the key directors on “Succession,” handling episodes such as Season 2’s “Tern Haven” and the season finale “This Is Not for Tears.” The in-demand director also managed to find time between “Succession” seasons to direct a key episode (“The Rift”) of Steven Spielberg’s “Amazing Stories” reboot for Apple TV Plus.
The characters on “Succession” are pretty appalling. Why do you think viewers can’t help but be drawn to a Cousin Greg or a Tom?
The human struggle is for survival and just to make your way in the world, no matter the extraordinary kind of gilded cage they’re all in and this extraordinary privilege of wealth that they’re trapped by. You can’t help but feel a certain sympathy for Tom — who is on so many levels such a horrible human and yet is in a viper pit, he’s so out of this league. You can’t help but see him as a kind of innocent in this context.
How did you film the final scene of the season, when Kendall drops the hammer on his dad?
There were months of working our way through the production day by day, knowing that the scene was coming up and knowing that I had to nail it, to find an authenticity for it to have the emotional impact it needed. It felt almost like the whole season hinged on this one moment, which felt like a terrible kind of burden. But obviously massively exciting as well.
What made it so intimidating?
It needed to be authentic. But I think by the time I walked out of that room I felt confident that we had it.
We see Logan smirk as Kendall takes him on. What should we read into that reaction?
The primary intention on the page was “game sees game”: “My son’s a killer after all.” Hopefully with all things when we’re doing our jobs well in “Succession,” there is ambiguity, there is room for interpretation. There is a theory that it was planned between them, it was part of the plan. And I think that’s a possibly valid theory.
How did you wind up directing an “Amazing Stories” episode?
I just loved the idea of just doing something that was completely different in tone, with a different audience. A very different grammar and a different style of storytelling.
What’s it like to direct an anthology episode? Would you compare it to a mini-movie?
That’s exactly how I treated it. We were trying to get a little bit of kind of childhood wonder into this. I have a 10-year-old son and I thought it would be lovely to do something for once in my life that he could watch and hopefully enjoy. So tonally, I liked just tuning in to that with influences from watching the “Amazing Stories” from back in the ’80s.