Here’s Why the Hungarian Hunting Castle in ‘Succession’ Looks Awfully Familiar


In Sunday night’s episode of Succession, Manhattan media tycoon Logan Roy (Brian Cox) treats the top brass at his media conglomerate, Waystar Royco, to a hunting-trip at a lavish mansion in Hungary. There is, predictably, lots of drama on the corporate retreat and a plethora of facetious dialogue that fans of the show have come to love and expect ("The safety briefing?" Logan says before going boar hunting with staffers. "Here’s the safety briefing: If you move against me, I’ll put a hole in the back of your fucking head.”).

Logan Roy (second from left) at the ’Hungarian castle’ in Succession.

Initially, show runners scouted palatial homes near Lake Placid in upstate New York—where the 1980 Winter Olympics were held—to film the episode. In the end, they opted for Oheka Castle, the grandiose Long Island former country residence of Otto Hermann Kahn, which boasts 127 rooms and over 109,000 square feet.

If you, like me, thought its pale-yellow facade and mushroom cap-shaped shrubbery looked vaguely familiar, here's why: The home was the site of Taylor Swift's descent into a "nightmare dressed like a daydream." It's where she destroyed her rich boyfriend's portrait with a knife, set his clothes on fire, and bludgeoned his vintage blue car with a golf club. Namely, it's the site where the singer's iconic 2014 "Blank Space" music video was filmed.

The mansion, which sits on the highest point of Long Island, "emanates the elegant refinement of a chateau in France coupled with world-class service and a rich history that is distinctly American," as stated on its official website.

Otto Kahn (center) with Douglas Fairbanks and Charlie Chaplin at Oheka Castle.

It was built by financier Otto Hermann Kahn between 1914 and 1919 and its name "Oheka" comes from the first several letters of Kahn's name. According to the site, Kahn commissioned architects William Adams Delano and Chester Holmes Aldrich to "design his palatial country residence to accommodate Kahn’s fondness to host lavish parties."

It should come as no surprise then that Oheka served as partial inspiration for Jay Gatsby's estate in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. It has also appeared in shows like Gossip Girl and Madam Secretary, and in movies like Citizen Kane and What Happens in Vegas.

Aerial view of Oheka Castle.

Oheka's primary use today is as a hotel (you can stay there for, at minimum, $400 a night) and an event space (an average wedding costs $100,000, the estate’s marketing director Nancy Melius told The New York Times in 2013).

Kevin Jonas got married at Oheka, and so did NSYNC's Joey Fatone. Former host of the Today show's third hour program, Megyn Kelly, tied the knot with security exec Douglas Brunt there. Disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin also wed at the mansion.

Grand staircase at Oheka Castle.
Grand ballroom at Oheka Castle.

Succession production designer Stephen Carter says he drove to Oheka in the middle of winter, and knew it was the perfect location to film the show. “We’re like, This feels like Hungary, why don’t we pitch that it’s in Hungary?" Carter told Vulture.

Production crew members swapped out the mansion’s “big portraits and paintings that were not particularly right for us” and hung their own fake “early 19th-century taxidermy … all cast out of foam and carved by our scenic artist at his home,” Carter told the outlet. “So they were incredibly lightweight.”

Oheka isn't the only real-life mansion that appears in the show: Shiv's wedding was filmed at Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire. According to Vulture, in forthcoming episodes the Succession clan will also gather at "Salutations," a $125 million North Shore mansion on a 48-acre island built by J.P. Morgan’s family.

Rose Minutaglio Staff Writer Rose is a Staff Writer at covering culture, news, and women's issues.

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