The Inspirations for Alexander Skarsgård's Lukas Matsson Character in Succession
Season three of Succession introduced Lukas Matsson, played by Alexander Skarsgård. Lukas is a billionaire CEO of GoJo, a new tech streaming media giant. Just as the Roy family is modeled on real-life families, like the Murdochs, and the Pierce family, too, has its own real-life counterparts, the character of Lukas Matsson takes inspiration from a few real tech CEOs.
Skarsgård's character is playing a big role in the final season, and one episode even filmed in Norway. "Once he focuses on a task he is almost unstoppable and it's almost like a fun challenge to him to see if he can do this, if he can pull it off," Skarsgård says. "He has to figure out a way to work the different members of the family and the different members of the board."
With the tech billionaire's return in season four of Succession, here's a look at the key inspirations for Lukas Matsson:
Since Skarsgård's Matsson is Scandinavian, a main inspiration can be found in Daniel Ek, the co-founder and CEO of Spotify. Ek, a Swedish billionaire, was young when he founded a streaming platform and Ek, like Matsson, has ambitions for a larger media empire (see Spotify's Ringer acquisition).
As one user wrote on Reddit, Lukas is "Generic Scandinavian tech boss. Really nails the Nordic blunt/terse and slightly awkward demeanor — especially next to the show's stereotypically American Americans."
At the end of season three, many were concerned about Lukas's Twitter presence. Sound familiar? Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, Tesla, and now Twitter, is known for his own erratic social media posting.
One redditor noted, "I mean part of [Lukas] is definitely Elon, the stuff about going on Twitter and posting tweets that affect the share price and the way he talks seems like the same as Elon talking about giving up possessions and stuff, both seem like they think they're being way more profound than they really are."
Skarsgård even addressed the comparisons in an interview with Rolling Stone. "I definitely didn’t try to play an Elon Musk character," the actor said. "I think it’s an amalgamation of different people in the tech industry and other business leaders that I’ve met, seen, or read about. I tried to draw some inspiration from a lot of them and instill some ideas that I came up with in order to find something idiosyncratic about it. It wouldn’t be interesting to say, 'I’m playing Elon Musk!' That’s not what I went for. There’s a lot of Elon Musk out there. He’s a very visual character and a very interesting character, but I wanted Lukas to be something else. I’m sure I’ve been inspired by some things I’ve seen [Elon] do and other tech giants do, but I didn’t go for that type of character."
The German-American billionaire co-founder of PayPal, Palantir, and venture capitalist is another person who has been cited as an inspiration for Lukas—specifically with regard to his funding of psychedelics. As Sandy asked Logan in season three, "How will you feel if he starts microdosing and tweeting about angels again?"
Last, if we're talking young, tech billionaire CEOs, Mark Zuckerberg has to be on the list.
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