Succession, the Emmy-winning drama about a dysfunctional media dynasty, has captivated audiences with its sharp writing, dark humor, and stellar performances. But behind the scenes, one actor stands out for his dedication to his craft: Jeremy Strong, who plays Kendall Roy, the troubled eldest son of the ruthless patriarch Logan Roy (Brian Cox).
Strong is a method actor, which means he immerses himself in his character’s psychology and emotions, often staying in character even when the cameras are not rolling. His approach has been described as “intense”, “obsessive”, and sometimes “injurious” by his colleagues and critics.
One anecdote that illustrates his commitment to his role is that he once walked into a production office of another show and asked where the bathroom was, as a rehearsal for a scene where he had to do the same thing. A production assistant from Succession later confirmed that he was practicing for the scene.
Another example is that he fractured his foot while filming a scene where he had to run away from a car crash. He also hurt his tibia and femur while shooting another scene where he had to jump off a yacht. He refused to use stunt doubles or take painkillers, saying that he wanted to feel the physical pain of his character.
Strong’s method acting has earned him praise and admiration from some of his costars and fans, who appreciate his authenticity and vulnerability on screen. He won an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 2020 for his portrayal of Kendall Roy.
However, his approach has also raised some eyebrows and concerns from others, who question the necessity and effectiveness of his method. Some of his costars have admitted that they find his style “difficult” or “unhelpful” for their own work. Cox, who plays his father on the show, said that he worries about what Strong does to himself and that he hopes he can separate himself from the material.
Some critics have also argued that method acting is a form of “preening” or “self-indulgence” that does not necessarily result in better performances. They point out that other actors on Succession, such as Kieran Culkin (who plays Roman Roy) and Sarah Snook (who plays Shiv Roy), deliver equally brilliant performances without resorting to method acting.
Strong himself has defended his method as a personal choice that works for him. He said that he respects other actors’ processes and that he does not impose his method on anyone else. He also said that he has a sense of humor and irony about his work and that he does not take himself too seriously.
He explained that he sees acting as a form of service to the story and the audience, and that he tries to be as truthful and honest as possible. He said that he is inspired by actors like Daniel Day-Lewis, Robert De Niro, and Al Pacino, who are known for their method acting.
As Succession wraps up its third season this week, fans are eager to see how Kendall Roy’s arc will end. Will he finally overthrow his father? Will he reconcile with his family? Will he find peace within himself? Whatever happens, one thing is certain: Jeremy Strong will give it his all.