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Jeremy Strong

Maddening his Succession co-stars

Jeremy Strong, left, and Brian Cox in Succession. HBO/Kobal/Shutterstock

Jeremy Strong doesn’t style himself as a Method actor, says Michael Schulman in The New Yorker, but he certainly seems like one. The 42-year-old, who plays angst-ridden middle brother Kendall Roy in Succession, is devoted to his character. He bases his moods on Kendall’s moods and tries not to speak about Kendall in the third person. It’s an approach that has left many of his co-stars exasperated. “I just feel that he just has to be kinder to himself,” says Brian Cox, who plays his patriarch father, Logan. “And therefore has to be a bit kinder to everybody else.”

Kieran Culkin, who plays Kendall’s brother Roman, is less patient, says Lloyd Evans in The Spectator. Strong hates the word “scene” because to him Succession is real, and he often refuses to rehearse – which drives Culkin mad. Rumour has it he once screamed at Strong on set: “This is a SCENE, and in this SCENE I’m going to rehearse because it’s a f***king TV SHOW!”

“I don’t know how popular the way I work is amongst our troupe,” Strong tells Schulman. But playing Kendall properly is what matters: “I take him as seriously as I take my own life.” Acting isn’t the only thing Strong takes seriously. He is so snobby about coffee that he travelled to Italy with his own grinder and personal supply of beans. He makes countless lofty artistic references – he compared some trees we passed to a Hieronymus Bosch painting, and told me Kendall reminds him of a Dostoevsky character. And when I suggested that Succession was a comedy, “he looked at me with incomprehension and asked: ‘In the sense that, like, Chekhov is comedy?’” That’s precisely why we cast him, says the show’s producer, Adam McKay. “He’s not playing it like a comedy. He’s playing it like he’s Hamlet.”