In 2021, a New Yorker profile of Succession star Jeremy Strong revealed the actor’s heavy dependence on Method acting to fully embody the characters he plays, often to the bemusement of co-stars like Brian Cox or Robert Downey Jr. Well, Strong doesn’t call it Method acting—he calls it “identity diffusion”—but the principles are the same: Strong tries, to the best of his ability, to live through whatever the character he’s playing is living through. Then he doesn’t let up the persona until the project is complete.
In a new Town & Country profile discussing season 4 of Succession, Brian Cox weighed in on this much-discussed profile, for which he’d shared a few choice quotes already. To the New Yorker, Cox had commented that “the result Jeremy gets is always pretty tremendous,” but that “I just worry about what he does to himself. I worry about the crises that he puts himself through in order to prepare.”
To Town & Country, Cox repeats that Strong is “a very good actor,” and allows that “the rest of the ensemble is all okay with this.” But Cox neither believes Strong’s methods are necessary for achieving his acting success nor does he particularly enjoy the process of being around it.
“It’s fucking annoying,” Cox says of being around Strong resolutely remaining in the character of Kendall Roy. “Don’t get me going on it.”
Of acting itself, Cox insists that “it’s not a big fucking religious experience,” and describes being surprised when Strong wouldn’t break character after filming the emotional season 3 finale scene in which he confesses to his siblings about the man who drowned after Shiv’s wedding.
“He’s still that guy, because he feels if he went somewhere else he’d lose it. But he won’t!” Cox told Town & Country. “Strong is talented. He’s fucking gifted. When you’ve got the gift, celebrate the gift. Go back to your trailer and have a hit of marijuana, you know?”
While Cox doesn’t elaborate on what Strong’s staying in character entails on Succession, the New Yorker profile noted that Strong would occasionally get “tipsy” for Kendall’s relapse scenes and would wear Kendall’s wardrobe items out in the real world. It also described other on-set behaviors like requesting to be sprayed with real tear gas on Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7.
“I’ve worked with intense actors before,” Cox told the New Yorker. “It’s a particularly American disease, I think, this inability to separate yourself off while you’re doing the job.”
Strong, in his own GQ profile out today, has refuted the idea that Cox has any special insight into his character, responding to Cox once saying that “there is a certain amount of pain at the root of Jeremy.”
“You know, I don’t think so,” Strong told GQ. “There’s certainly a lot of pain in Kendall, and I haven’t really met Brian outside of the confines of that.”