After a decades-long slump, the actor’s career came roaring back with the role of Connor Roy. He talks about his 80s success, his ‘attitude problems’ and his excitement about Succession’s new series

Alan Ruck is talking to me by video about the present, but he appears to be sitting in the past. The present we are discussing is the forthcoming third season of Succession, the wildly adored HBO series about plutocracies and dysfunctional families, created by Jesse Armstrong, a co-creator of Peep Show. Ruck plays Connor, the neglected eldest son of a media magnate, Logan Roy (Brian Cox). Like all the actors on the show – as the Guardian’s unofficial Succession correspondent, I have interviewed Cox and Jeremy Strong – Ruck has thought deeply about his character and is very eloquent on the subject. It is, however, a little hard to focus on what he’s saying because the bright and spacious kitchen in which he’s sitting bears a striking resemblance to another kitchen audiences associate with him. More than 30 years before Ruck played Connor, he was Cameron Frye, another neglected son of a cruel and wealthy man, in the 1986 John Hughes classic film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Alan, I say, are you actually sitting in Ferris Bueller’s kitchen?

“Ha! No, I see what you mean, but this is my lovely kitchen. And upstairs are my lovely children,” he says in his occasionally ironic, lightly mocking tone, although that mockery is always directed inwardly rather than outwardly. At one point, he makes a fleeting reference to “a western I was once in”, and I interrupt him to say he cannot casually refer to the great 1990 movie Young Guns II as just some western.

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