Australian actress Sarah Snook is contemplating the vast differences in her own life to that of her on screen alter-ego, Shiv Roy, the ambitious only daughter of billionaire media mogul, Logan Roy, (Brian Cox) in the hit series, Succession.
"In my life I don't flounce about in private jets or holiday in villas or live in high-rise apartments. I've got a great view at the moment but HBO's paying for that," Snook laughs, gesturing to the vast Manhattan skyline behind her.
"This is not me, so it certainly helps getting into character for sure – wearing nice clothes and being around helicopters."
Snook says accessing the in-built confidence that comes from growing up with extreme wealth also helps her to embody the character of Shiv.
"One of the things I've always loved about Shiv is she always feels like she deserves to be in any room that she's in," Snook tells News Corp during an interview in New York.
"And part of becoming that character as an actor is getting access to these spaces and going, actually I'm being begged to be here right now so great, I'll put that on as a character as well. What an experience and what a luxury to go and view these amazing places – being on a luxury yacht in Croatia, I never thought I'd get to do that as a kid."
Now, after a year-long Covid-induced delay, Shiv and the rest of the ruthless Roy clan are back as Succession returns for its much anticipated third season.
The new season begins as the Roy family deal with the fallout of Kendall's (Jeremy Strong) magnificent betrayal/victory over his father (depending on how you view these things) as he tries to unseat the ageing mogul from the family media business, Waystar Royco.
The show has scored a legion of devoted fans, desperate to see which family member will stab each other in the back next. Snook says familial tensions are at the very heart of Succession's appeal.
"It's a family drama, in the end," she says. "It's a family that's very wealthy and who have problems that some of us will never experience like flying around in private jets and helicopters. But in the end, it's a family drama about a sister, three brothers and a dad who struggles to show his affection and love for them and them all vying for his attention. It's a universal story about family."
And though they might trade brutal barbs on screen, Snook's fictional family are glowing in their praise of the Emmy-nominated Aussie.
"I think Sarah Snook is unbeatable, absolutely unbeatable," gushes Brian Cox, who plays Snook's emotionally distant billionaire dad, Logan.
"What a gifted actress and funny and wise and very smart, fiercely intelligent and just a joy to play with. I always look forward to our scenes together – we always have great scenes, and we love working with one another. She's truly gifted, Sarah. I can't think of anybody better, she's just incredible. I adore her, she's lovely."
"Sarah is bliss," adds Matthew Macfadyen, who plays Snook's on-screen husband, the hapless Tom. "She's a wonderful actress and a wonderful human being. I'm very lucky to have her as my pretend wife."
"Snook surprises me, man," adds Kieran Culkin, who plays the actress' on-screen brother Roman. "I often forget that she's Australian because she improvises in an American accent and it's flawless. Then later, she's showing me pictures of her house in Australia and I hear this accent come out and it's like, 'Oooh," he cackles. "It's like, 'F***ing you! Where did you come from?' She's very, very impressive."
But fans have had to bide their time to see the Roys go at it again; the show's season two finale screened two years ago, just months before the world was turned upside down by the pandemic.
A year later – in November 2020 – production finally kicked off again.
"It was difficult – we were shooting at the height of the pandemic in New York – there were however many thousands of cases per day and we were shooting unvaccinated in a crowded room of extras and often had to be unmasked because that's what our characters were doing," Snook recalls.
"It was high anxiety and a lot of stress but at the same time we did manage to pull it off and really banded together and doubled down on what Succession is and banded together to create something that we're really proud of."
Snook says she spent most of 2020 "stuck in Melbourne" before being able to return to New York to shoot the show. She returned home after shooting wrapped in August.
"I'm about to head back to Australia to quarantine for the same amount of time I had left for, so that'll be good," she laughs. "Cool!"
There was, however, a bonus to being locked down at home in 2020 – Snook fell in love and married Melbourne comedian Dave Lawson.
"I got locked down in Melbourne with one of my best mates and we fell in love. We've been friends since 2014, lived together, travelled together, always excited to see each other, but totally platonic. We've just never been single at the same time. I proposed and we got married in February in my backyard," Snook told Vogue in a new interview.
"It's been a ride. There's so much heartache and sadness in the world, but on a micro personal level, I've been very fortunate. There's a really lovely grace in that without the pandemic, we might not have ended up together so quickly."
And though Snook has found her own happiness, she says she sort of hopes that Shiv "never does".
"Dealing with that baggage as a character is not fun but dealing with that baggage, as an actor is brilliant, that creates complexity and interest and that's where all the juice lies for me," she says.
"I don't know what's going to happen to Shiv or what was meant to happen – maybe I was meant to die in the first season, who knows? I'm still here, I'm still kicking," she laughs. "Just."