Jeremy Strong has been a major figure in the acting world for a while now, but Succession really brought it to the forefront. Although this show is filled with complex, compelling, and darkly comical characters, all expertly acting, Strong’s non-ironic portrayal of shy but internally conflicting scion Kendall Roy has drawn special attention.
In fact, to achieve his performance in this show and others, Strong has adopted the technique of the acting method. Strong is far from the first to use his technique, however, and learned it from actors he found deeply inspiring – to the point of obsession! Which actors were so inspiring to Strong and how did they affect his career?
Jeremy Strong grew up with a surprising obsession
If you think of a typical gender-adjusted teenager, you can expect them to be obsessed with things like sports and cars, and to put objective photos of attractive women on their walls.
Strong was a little different: He pinned Daniel Day-Lewis, Al Pacino and Dustin Hoffman in his teenage room. A recent profile in The New Yorker spoke about Strong, his acting career, and his recent roles in depth, and opened with this fact to illuminate Strong’s career path.
These three actors are big names, but another thing that unites them is their acting method. Acting method is a technique in which actors embody characters in their everyday lives to provide a more realistic performance.
Day-Lewis lived in the woods and used a wheelchair for roles, Pacino feigned blindness off set for a role as a blind man, and Hoffman is known to stay up three days to portray exhaustion. It is clearly a technique that impressed Strong!
Strong built his career by emulating these actors
Strong, of course, emulated the acting method technique and practiced it in many of his roles. However, he not only followed the acting method of his idols – he also tried to trace their careers.
In high school, Strong worked small jobs for movie sets where actors worked: as an assistant in The crucible, starring Day-Lewis, and as an intern at Looking for richard, starring Pacino. Strong also did a college internship with Hoffman’s production company.
He returned to Day-Lewis working as an assistant at The last of the mohicans, and found in the actor a kind of mentor figure. Later in 2012, he could star opposite Day-Lewis in Lincoln, like the assistant to the president, John Nicolay.
Considering the wealth of inspiration Strong found in Day-Lewis as a teenager, this role must have been a huge moment for him, and indeed led to several more major roles on television and film.
Strong has an impressive career
Most people now know Strong from his role as Kendall Roy in Succession. However, it has had other important roles: in 2015 in The big bet as investor Vinny Daniel, in 2020 The Chicago 7 trial as activist Yippie Jerry Rubin, and has had some recurring television roles on shows like The good wife, the city of the mafia and the masters of sex.
About Succession, initially auditioned for the more laid back and less serious character of Roman Roy (now played by Kieran Culkin); When he was turned down, he convinced the producers to let him audition for Kendall. His first reading wasn’t convincing, but with a few notes, he was able to walk out of the studio with the role of Kendall Roy, one of the most important roles of his career. And in the style of Day-Lewis, Pacino and Hoffman, he has been embodying the sense of the role.
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