The actor, who is known for his intense method acting approach, revealed in a new interview that he tried to jump into a river in the last shot of the wealth satire, which drew to a close after four critically acclaimed seasons on Sky Atlantic on Monday (29 May).
Strong, 44, has won two Emmys for his performance since the HBO show began in 2018. Created by Jesse Armstrong (Peep Show), the series is a brutal satire on the uber-rich and follows the heirs to the fictional Waystar Royco media dynasty as they fight over who will replace their father Logan, played by Brian Cox, as head honcho.
In the scene that made the edit, Kendall is seen gazing out over a river as his bodyguard Colin (Scott Nicholson) keeps watch behind him. It then cuts to black and the credits roll.
But on set, it wasn’t that straightforward.
“The water was calling to me,” Strong told Vanity Fair. “I tried to go into the water after we cut – I got up from that bench and went as fast as I could over the barrier and on to the pilings, and the actor playing Colin raced over.
“I didn’t know I was gonna do that, and he didn’t know, but he raced over and stopped me. I don’t know whether in that moment I felt that Kendall just wanted to die – I think he did – or if he wanted to be saved by essentially a proxy of his father.”
The river scene takes place after Kendall finds out that the board have not voted for him to take over the company.
“To me, what happens at the board vote is an extinction-level event for this character,” Strong told Vanity Fair. “There’s no coming back from that.”
The shot of Kendall looking out over the river was a “much stronger ending philosophically” than him jumping in the water, he said, adding that “Kendall is trapped in this sort of silent scream”.
Speaking on the Succession podcast, Strong also revealed that he actually drank the retch-inducing smoothie that his character’s siblings give him in series finale, because he “wouldn’t know how not to”.
Strong’s approach to acting has made headlines in the past. A now-infamous New Yorker profile with Jeremy Strong revealed the actor’s extreme dedication to the craft after he told the magazine that he takes his role as Kendall as seriously as his own life, and does not think of Succession as a comedy.
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