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Jeremy Strong Still Can’t Seem to Separate Himself From Kendall Roy

A GQ profile highlights all the ways that the actor and the character are intertwined.
  • Jeremy Strong (photo: Kristin Callahan/Everett Collection)
    Jeremy Strong (photo: Kristin Callahan/Everett Collection)

    The New Yorker's viral December 2021 story on Jeremy Strong dealt a big blow to the Jeremy Strong brand. It revealed an all-too-serious and pretentious side of the actor, someone who connects a little too deeply to his Succession character Kendall Roy, taking on a method acting approach to portraying the emotionally stunted rich kid. The response to the piece was full of vitriol, including his co-star Brian Cox calling out how unnecessary and ridiculous method acting is — it’s a sentiment he doubled-down on in a recent profile in Town & Country, saying of the technique “oh, it’s f*cking annoying.”

    Strong called the finished article a “profound betrayal,” and he said as much again in a new in-depth interview with GQ. He told staff writer Gabriella Paiella that the New Yorker story was his “15 minutes of shame with a long tail” and that he hadn’t felt so judged and exposed in a long time. In many ways, this new profile felt like his attempt to right the wrongs from that piece. And while some glimmers of his life as a father and husband come through, the oddities of Jeremy Strong the actor still dominate the depiction.

    Those 15 minutes of shame seemed to have passed quickly and without much consequence (though we’re unsure where that long tail ended up). Strong indicated that he pretty much went back to business as usual on set after the story, saying “Am I going to adjust or compromise the way that I’ve worked my whole life and what I believe in? There wasn’t a flicker of doubt about that. I’m still going to do whatever it takes to serve whatever it is.” Strong addressed Cox’s comments, ultimately saying that everyone is entitled to their opinion and no hard feelings are held, but then admitted that he’s never really met Cox “outside of the context of Kendall,” implying that he’s only ever interacted with him in character.

    The glimpses at Jeremy Strong the man, the non-actor off set, reveal even more idiosyncrasies that if nothing else just feel like, for lack of a better phrase, a lot. He only wears varying shades of brown, for instance, because the neutrality counteracts all the costumes he dons in his work, and according to him it’s something of a monastic practice. Upon meeting Paiella, Strong is literally wearing a hat on a hat — a brown bucket hat with a brown cashmere beanie on top, to be precise. Paiella kept track of how many people Strong quoted or referenced in her presence, a list that clocks in at 31 names, ranging from Karl Ove Knausgård to Ralph Waldo Emerson to LCD Soundsystem. At one point, Strong interrupted the interview to follow the sound of a goose honking. It all still sounds very reminiscent of Kendall Roy.

    There is more and more validity to the idea that this upcoming season of Succession will be its last. Even though HBO hasn’t confirmed that the upcoming season will be the end of the series, both the show’s creator, Jesse Armstrong, and executive producer Georgia Prichett have publicly stated that the series will have a definite end, the latter going as far as telling The Times “the maximum would be five seasons, but possibly more like four.” And Strong said he’s spent a lot of time during the filming of Season 4 thinking about what it will be like to say goodbye to Kendall, acknowledging that it will feel like death to him. As he moves on to other projects, it will be interesting to see how long it takes for him to shake all of Kendall’s tendencies from his system.

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    Brianna Wellen is a TV Reporter at Primetimer who became obsessed with television when her parents let her stay up late to watch E.R. 

    TOPICS: Jeremy Strong, HBO, Succession, GQ, The New Yorker