Sarah Snook was sleeping at friend’s house in her native country of Australia when this year’s Emmy nominations were announced.
“He was the one who woke me up to tell me. He ran into my room,” Snook says on Thursday’s episode of the Variety and iHeart podcast The Big Ticket. “He went and bought some Prosecco and flowers and we were like, ‘Cheers.’ And then, crickets.”
“There’s like nothing going on,” she continues. “What do you do? That’s, by the way, what I feel like what the actual event will be like as well in some ways. It’s so distant and so surreal. Will it ever have happened, apart from like in my fantasy and dream? I don’t know.”
Snook is up for supporting actress in a drama series for her work as Shiv Roy on the second season of the hit HBO series “Succession.” In total, the show received 18 noms. “I’m so proud of everybody,” she says. “All the crew as well, the technical production nominations, the production design and obviously [composer] Nicholas Britell.”
The 33-year-old Snook is also showing a very different side of her talents in the new Seth Rogen comedy, “An American Pickle,” available on HBO Max. She plays a Yiddish-speaking Eastern European Jew in the early 1900s who immigrates to New York City with her ditch digger husband (Rogen).
Snook recalls first reading the character description. “She had a limp and there was a fight scene, and she bites the head off a fish and has a very distinctive sneeze,” she says. “I was like, ‘Oh, okay, and you instantly thought of me. Awesome. I don’t know how I feel about that. I hope I don’t get typecast, but I’m in, I’ll do it. I accept. I’d love to play this part.’”
What was the big difference between Seasons 1 and 2 of “Succession” for you?
For me personally going into it, a little more confidence. I think a hell of a lot of actors go through imposter syndrome, that sort of like fraud situation, but at least I really enjoy being here, and I’m going to make the most of being here. Then, being able to have the scripts that we got for second season and the journey that she went on. What a delicious situation to sink your teeth into.
That’s the right word — delicious!
It’s like that delicious gateau mud cake that’s like, “Oh, my God, amazing, and this part, you’re like oh, someone eats this every day. Why are they making food like this? It’s too much. It’s too rich.”
What scene made your mouth drop to the floor when you read it?
Shiv being offered the CEO, so like being offered the company. That also was the first scene that I went back to shoot for second season, and it was like, “Oh, I’m going to head-to-head with Brian, the titan. Oh, no. I’ve really got to prove that I am worth being on the show. It seems that they’re offering Shiv a really good story line this season. What if I eff this up and I’m really bad in this scene?” They’ll be like, “See, oh, no, no, no. We can’t give her this storyline. She doesn’t have the chops. We’ve got to rewrite the whole season.”
Will Season 3 incorporate coronavirus?
I think [show creator] Jesse [Armstrong] wants to be delicate about it and just classy. I think it’s a thing that everybody’s aware of, and audiences are really intuitive these days. Even just seeing a mask in the background of something or hand sanitizer, those things that have become part of our daily lives, those things maybe, but nothing that is so overt that is going to really tackle it head on, because that’s not the show. We want to see the Roys doing the thing that they’ve been doing that we love, not pivoting towards a pandemic story.
We have to talk about “An American Pickle.” How much Yiddish did you know before getting the role?
I learned word-for-word my lines and then I knew what Seth’s were when he was speaking. I worked with a Yiddish coach who had done the Yiddish adaptation of “Fiddler on the Roof.”
I guess you didn’t ad-lib or do any improv.
I had genuine nightmares — and I’m not a person who dreams that they turned up on stage naked or anything like that. I do have waking anxiety, but not sleep anxiety very often. But this one, I had nightmares where I was on set and I had decided not to learn my lines. I rocked up on set and was desperate to find an AD who had sides because I didn’t know what I was meant to say in Yiddish, and Seth was coming towards me to start his shot, and I was seeing him approach and I’m going, “I don’t know my lines. I don’t know my lines.” I would go to sleep dreaming of Yiddish scrolling across my brain.
Have you heard Nicholas Braun’s new song “Antibodies”?
I love it so much. It’s been in my head for like three, four days straight. I go to sleep at night, and I’m like, “Mask on, mask on, mask on, mask on.” Every time I’m leaving the house, I’m like, “Okay, keys, wallet, phone, hand sanitizer, mask on, mask on, mask on, mask on.”
What are you going to wear to the Emmys?
I don’t know. Is it we could just wear whatever we want? I don’t know how they’re going to do it. I could go like full tux and just subvert the norm and be in a pajama tux.
This interview has been edited and condensed. You can listen to it in its entirety above. You can also find “The Big Ticket” at iHeartRadio or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.