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Succession directors didn't learn about Shiv twist until after they filmed scene

sarah snook, succession, season 4
Succession directors didn't know about Shiv twistHBO Max

Succession spoilers follow.

Succession directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini have revealed that they didn’t know of the twist involving Shiv Roy until after filming had been completed.

In the seventh episode of the fourth season, Shiv (Sarah Snook) and Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) engaged in a strong war of words, with the latter landing a cruel blow by saying that Shiv was "incapable of love" and "not a good person to have children".

sarah snook as shiv roy talking on the phone
HBO/ David M. Russell

Related: Succession's Alexander Skarsgård on Lukas and Shiv’s relationship

Unbeknownst to Tom, Shiv is secretly pregnant, as the audience found out in the fourth episode, but this information wasn’t revealed to Berman and Pulcini by writer Jesse Armstrong until after the scene had been filmed, because the episode 4 scene in which Shiv discovered she was pregnant had yet to be written.

"We knew that Sarah was pregnant. But we didn’t know that Shiv was going to be pregnant. We didn’t have that specific piece of information when we shot it," Berman told Vanity Fair.

The pair revealed that they were subsequently informed by Armstrong that the pregnancy would be written into the show, despite the directorial duo not knowing "when the audience was going to find out".

The pair, who have been married since 1994, spoke about the argument between Shiv and Tom in more detail, saying it proved to be an "uncomfortable" shoot.

shari springer bermana and robert pulcini on the red carpet
Roy Rochlin/WireImage - Getty Images

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"It felt very [much like] Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf," said Berman. "It was incredibly uncomfortable to shoot for everybody, because it’s so raw. They go there in a way that people in Succession don’t really – saying directly what they mean.

"So much of Succession’s dialogue is half committal," added Pulcini. "There’s so much subtext in every line. To get a scene like that, especially between these two, was so exciting. The characters have been through such a labyrinth…. Lines that [are] direct in Succession are very powerful."

The HBO show is gradually coming to its conclusion, with the final episode set to air on May 28.

Succession season 4 airs on HBO in the US, and Sky Atlantic and NOW in the UK.

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