Director Aaron Sorkin expressed regret Friday for his part in Michael Schulman’s recent profile of “Succession” star Jeremy Strong in The New Yorker while slamming the piece as a “distorted picture” in a lengthy statement posted online.
“After reading Michael Schulman’s profile of Jeremy Strong — a profile in which I participated — I wanted to speak up,” Sorkin wrote. “I think I helped Mr. Schulman create what I believe is a distorted picture of Jeremy that asks us to roll our eyes at his acting.”
“I’ve worked with Jeremy twice — “Molly’s Game” and “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” Sorkin continued. “Mr. Schulman asked me five questions via email. Those questions, along with my answers, are below.”
Listing his five questions in italics, each followed by his typed out paragraph answers, Sorkin wrote about Jeremy’s style in previous productions, but Schulman did not use much of the responses.
“Only one and a half of these answers was used, which is perfectly normal, but they were the quotes about the tear gas and playing the kazoo,” Sorkin confirmed at the end of his statement. “Let me be clear, Jeremy would never suggest endangering a member of the cast or crew or anyone else.”
Sorkin’s statement was tweeted by actress Jessica Chastain with the words, “Aaron Sorkin doesn’t have social media so asked me to post this letter on his behalf xx.”
The New Yorker piece hones in on Strong’s method acting techniques, and reactions to the article are intensely mixed. Chastain herself defended Strong after the article blew up.
As TheWrap wrote in a separate piece about initial reactions, more responses played along the lines of praising the profile as proof that Strong is a soon-to-be-recognized genius. Others thought he was portrayed as a real-life version of his “Succession” character Kendall Roy, the damaged, try-hard heir of a media company whom he plays on the acclaimed HBO show.
Still others declared the profile to be a hit piece, and some even saw it as a classist, personal attack on Strong by the author. Quite a few people came away thinking he’s a big jerk.
The “Succession” Season 3 finale airs Sunday on HBO and HBO Max.