When I mention the pizza review while we’re talking about Zoom, 33-year-old Braun lights up in memory. He sits in his New York apartment with disheveled hair, looking nothing like Greg at all, although he currently spends most of his days filming the long-awaited new series. I’m trying to analyze what kept him so balanced, after three years of Succession and much longer with a very different and much more rabid audience than a teenage Disney devotee. It wasn’t the first time he had approached someone he admired coldly, he told me. He once asked Vin Diesel for a selfie and, even crazier, at 19, he approached Quentin Tarantino on a plane with a torn magazine ad for his movie. Minutemen. “I was like, ‘Quentin? Mr. Tarantino? Hey, I just wanna say I’m an actor. I love your movies. I hope to be able to work with you one day. It was in the window seat, so I had to lean over someone to give it to him.
Its rooting, as I read at least, can be attributed to advice given to it by Daniel Petrie, the director of his first film, a made-for-television melodrama called Walter and Henri, when he was only 12 years old. It was extremely simple, a comment most kids his age would have ignored as the allure of fame and money drew them deeper and deeper into the Hollywood mechanic. To paraphrase, it was: don’t let acting and fame become the crux of your well-being. But Braun took it seriously, even as he watched his teenage co-stars, including Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato, grow into superstars. He still thinks about it today, when his profile is the highest it has ever been, at least among the adult population. This means that when someone walks up to him on the street, invariably calling him “cousin Greg” (this happens a lot), he appreciates him but doesn’t let him inflate his ego. He has learned to find his self-worth in things outside of the approval of others, an impressive achievement in an increasingly gamified entertainment industry. “I like when people like the show,” he says, “but if it makes me feel so much better about myself than someone told me, I think I need to work more on my self-esteem. me.”