It seems there wasn’t a dry eye in the house when Sarah Snook shot her gut-wrenching scene following the show’s biggest plot twist. Mark Mylod said series creator Jesse Armstrong was also incredibly touched by the actress’ heartbreaking interpretation of his words. Despite having written the scene himself, he too was shocked to his core.
“I found [it] incredibly powerful,” Mylod recalled in an interview with Vanity Fair. “Jesse and I, with this take, were stood next to each other at the monitor and I just had tears rolling down my face, and I could see out of my peripheral vision that he was the same. I was completely wiped out by her and just so in awe.”
It is the way Snook plays Shiv’s helpless desperation in this scene, “the seeking to control that which you can’t control and that regression to childhood,” as Mylod put it, that moves the viewer to tears. There is a rare vulnerability in Shiv that permeates through every part of her, from her wavering voice to her hunched back.
But it wasn’t just those spectating the scene that were overwhelmed by Snook’s emotion. Her scene partner Alan Ruck, who plays her elder step-brother, Connor Roy, also had a strong reaction to his co-star. In fact, he used the rawness of her performance to motivate his own.
“I was taught a long time ago that you just have to accept the fact that your performance is gonna come from all the other characters around you if you’re just open to what is going on,” Ruck explained in a look inside the episode. “And when Sarah came in to tell me, and Sarah was a puddle, you know, then it was just like game over. You don’t have to act.”