Thursday, August 09, 2018

Eric Bogosian Does Double-Duty on Billions and Succession

I've been a fan of the business-oriented series  Billions (Showtime) and Succession (HBO) since they started. Both unfold in New York amidst the lifestyles of the incomprehensibly wealthy: hedge funds for Billions, a family-run (or mis-run) media empire Waystar Royco on Succession. Their worlds float on a soulless ocean of estates, fixers, lawyers, security goons (on an as-needed basis), lissome models, deal hustlers and mostly ignored children. In these circles, far too much is never enough.

In a flight of fancy, I imagine crossovers between the series, as in those CSI programs and Marvel superhero movies. I'd like to see Billions' Bobby Axelrod join the team making a hostile takeover bid for Logan Roy's faltering media empire. His irresistible Queens ruthlessness and resources perfectly match the immovable force of ailing Logan Roy. Their corporate helicopters could sprout Hellfire missiles as they engage in aerial combat over Westport and East Hampton.

The two series already share one actor who plays two very different characters. That's Eric Bogosian, who appears as Lawrence Boyd, CEO of investment bank Spartan Ives on Billions; he's also liberal presidential candidate Gil Eaves on Succession, where he bitterly opposes Waystar Royco's influence and vows to hammer its expansion plans with the help of Logan Roy's insurrectionist daughter Siobhan (Shiv).

Bogosian brings a gravelly voiced weight to both rolesintelligent, scheming, weary, driven by ambition and haunted by his wife's suicide on Succession, wheeling and dealing out of a sense of self-preservation on Billions.

While I doubt HBO and Showtime would intermingle characters (does Macy's tell Gimbel's, as the phrase used to go), perhaps they could agree to take a page from 1961's The Parent Trap, a movie where Hayley Mills played identical twins Sharon McKendrick and Susan Evers, trying to get their parents back together again. Bogosian could play both Lawrence Boyd and Gil Eaves on both series. As Gil Eaves, he'd be especially useful on Billions as a possibly sympathetic character, with the moral center sorely lacking from most of the characters of Billions. As banker Lawrence Boyd, he'd be one of the scheming financiers on Succession, and he could teach the youngsters a thing or two about the investment strategies. Unlike Axelrod's in-house business psychiatrist, Wendy Rhoades, Boyd wouldn't be shown prancing around in bondage gear in his more intimate hours, although it couldn't hurt (maybe it would hurt a little, but he'd have an appropriate safe phrase, like "peso-denominated municipal bonds!").

Another snappy idea: since both series involve woefully strained family relations, especially Succession, why not bring in Hayley Mills as Sharon and Susan, now veteran family therapists tasked with bringing parents and children back together? Granted, Succession already pursued that plot line with a therapist who had an unfortunate pool accident, but now it's time to bring in a team therapy approach, and who better that Sharon and Susan interacting with Lawrence and Gil to get everybody on the straight and narrow golden road to peace and happiness?

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