“For me, what is at stake is life and death. I take it as seriously as I take my own life . ” There are many such high-sounding statements as this on Jeremy Strong’s profile recently published by Michael Schulman in the New Yorker . Under the title of “Jeremy Strong does not get the joke” , the journalist draws a devastating portrait of the Succession actor , where he plays Kendall Roy. Following the obsessive attitude towards work popularized by Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino or Daniel Day-Lewis (whom he considers his mentor), Strong plays the possibly most pathetic character of Succession. And he does it thinking that it is all a great Shakespearean drama .
The actor even has a name for his acting style, which distances himself from the famous “method” even though it incurs its most cartoonish features: “diffusion of identity”. “If I have a method, it is simply this: eliminate anything, anything, other than the character and the circumstances of the scene.” Such an attitude, naturally, was going to make his fellow filmmakers uncomfortable, and Strong’s irritating behaviors have flown over the networks these days as the New Yorker article went viral. To the point that some of his acquaintances have not hesitated to come to his defense, such as Aaron Sorkin , celebrating the commitment he maintains with his work.
The director does not have a Twitter profile, so he has published a complete defense letter from Strong through the account of Jessica Chastain , an actress with whom he worked on Molly’s Game . Strong, in fact, also starred alongside Chastain in said film, and reworked with Sorkin on the acclaimed Chicago Seven Trial . According to the filmmaker, Schuman’s article presents “a distorted image of Jeremy that urges us to roll our eyes at his acting process.” “Jeremy is not crazy. He doesn’t make people call him by the character’s name on set, ” says Sorkin.
The signer of The West Wing of the White House shares his full answers to the questions that Schuman asked him at the time, of which he apparently only used “one and a half” for the body of the article. “Jeremy Strong is a great actor and a great member of the guild. There is no scriptwriter, director or producer who does not want to hire him ” , he insists. As we read in the text, during the filming of The Chicago 7 Trial, Strong’s behavior put Frank Langella on the ropes , and he went so far in preparing his role as to ask for tear gas to be sprayed on him. So that? To better understand his character’s experience, Jerry Rubin, a prominent activist from the 1960s.
Performance to the limit
Strong, apparently, is used to isolating himself from his co-stars, immersed in a demanding preparation that sometimes hinders the development of the shoot. Sorkin’s words have been endorsed, on the other hand, by Jessica Chastain herself who shared her letter: “I have known Jeremy Strong for 20 years and have worked with him on two films. He is a charming person and passionate about his work. The profile that was posted about him is incredibly one-sided. Don’t believe everything you read, friends. The sharpness sells, but perhaps it is time to overcome it, ” proposes the actress.
Adam McKay , producer of Succession , is in the same vein . “Jeremy is not just a charming guy, but a brilliant actor who was hired at Succession precisely because of the passion that the New Yorker scoffs at . ” Who has not been so dissatisfied with the article is Brian Cox , who plays Strong’s fictional father in Succession , Logan Roy. Schuman’s text includes the following statements: “I have worked with intense actors before. It’s a particularly American disease, I think, this inability to separate while doing work. “. And Cox has subsequently delved into them during an interview on Late Night with Seth Meyers .
“Jeremy’s approach works in terms of what comes out on the other side. My problem (and it is not a problem either because he is charming, an extraordinary father and a unique type) is that he becomes obsessed with work, ” declared the veteran interpreter. “And I’m worried about what it does to him, because if you can’t separate, you deal with this stuff every day. And you can’t live like this. Over time, you wear out . ” Strong’s profile has sparked so much controversy that the New Yorker has finally had to speak out.
“This is a nuanced and multi-faceted portrait of a very delicate actor,” says a spokesman for the magazine, in defense of Schuman. “It has inspired mixed reactions from people, including many who say they are even more impressed by Jeremy Strong’s talent after reading the article.”