We’ve heard it all when it comes to actors going to extreme lengths to prepare for their roles, from Leonardo DiCaprio sampling raw bison liver to play a rugged tracker out for revenge in The Revenant and Christian Bale losing (and gaining, and losing, etc.) weight over the course of 20 years of movie stardom, to the always-immersed Daniel Day-Lewis using his character’s voice at all times while making Lincoln.
And thanks to a recent New Yorker profile, we know that Jeremy Strong approaches the role of scorned, endlessly self-defeating media empire scion Kendall Roy on Succession with utmost seriousness and intensity, enough so that some of his co-stars expressed their concern for the guy.
Which then prompted more past and present colleagues to rally to his defense in response to what they thought was an unfair portrait of the artist as a suspiciously Method young man.
“Jeremy’s great,” Sarah Snook, who plays Kendall’s unhappily-scheming-in-her-own-way sister, Shiv Roy, explained on Variety‘s Awards Circuit podcast last month. “He is a very singular, unique person and actor and he works in a different way than other people. We all work in different ways. We all have a different process.”
But nothing about what Strong does, however much he rakes himself over the coals to do it, sounded like a particularly pioneering way of doing things. Though some of his co-stars might suggest the process affects his personability, others insist that he’s still a great guy no matter how much he might inject Kendall into his veins—and no one disagrees that the end result has been all-around brilliant.
He mainly sounds really, really committed to his craft, something he was inspired to be from closely watching the careers of his idols, like Day-Lewis. Strong had a poster from My Left Foot on his wall growing up, got crew jobs on two of the English actor’s films and then 10 years later played the president’s secretary in Lincoln.
And though the term gets thrown around a lot, Strong doesn’t consider himself a “Method actor,” which has become the go-to label every time someone physically transforms or starts doing wacky things off-camera because that’s what his character might do. (Looking at you, Jared Leto.) At its core, however, it really means to infuse a performance with one’s own feelings and experiences to make it more authentic.
Strong is more of a lose yourself in the moment, you own it, kind of guy.
“If I have any method at all, it is simply this: to clear away anything—anything—that is not the character and the circumstances of the scene,” he explained to the New Yorker. “And usually that means clearing away almost everything around and inside you, so that you can be a more complete vessel for the work at hand.”
Which has meant that whatever Kendall wants, Kendall gets, even if it’s Strong fracturing his foot because he did too much running in Tom Ford dress shoes to make the farcically misguided Roy sibling believably sweaty in a scene.
But here are some other actors who might look at Strong and say, “Yeah, I get it, that’s just what you do”:
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