Jeremy Strong, star of HBO’s hit show Succession, has become something of a cult favorite among the coastal city intelligentsia for his performance as Kendall Roy, a well-moneyed failson-slash-rapper, as well as for his delightfully rambling interviews. His latest is no exception; in an interview with GQ published on Tuesday, the Yale-educated thespian reveals his feelings regarding the fallout from a particularly infamous New Yorker profile that exposed his method acting techniques.
In said profile, which was published in 2021 and titled “Jeremy Strong Doesn’t Get the Joke,” the actor is painted as a somewhat desperate, sullen, lifelong background player whose seriousness about his portrayal of Kendall renders him laughable, as well as an irritant to his fellow cast members. “I just feel that he just has to be kinder to himself, and therefore has to be a bit kinder to everybody else,” his Succession co-star Brian Cox told New Yorker writer Michael Schulman.
Now, Strong is describing the widespread mockery that the profile triggered as his “15 minutes of shame, with a long tail.” He told GQ, “I hadn’t felt judged like that in a very long time.”
When asked what exactly felt so shameful about the experience, Strong said that “the shadow is the part of ourselves that we don’t want to share with the world and we want to disavow. The part of me that is striving. The part of me that wants what I want. I was less bothered by other actors having feelings or opinions about the way I work. Really, it was just feeling exposed.”
Despite the discomfort he felt over the New Yorker’s take on him, Strong insisted to GQ that the article ultimately didn’t change his process. “I also think Brian Cox, for example, he’s earned the right to say whatever the fuck he wants,” he said. “There was no need to address that or do damage control.”
“I’m still going to do whatever it takes to serve whatever it is,” he added, referring to his method approach. “Acting is a bit of a game, right? And depending on how you look at it, it can be quite a ridiculous game. The thing is to commit to the game. If I were to be halfway in and at the same time aware of the artifice of what we’re doing, I would just think the whole thing is ridiculous. And so I have to do whatever I have to do to believe in it and to create my own sense of belief.”