Over the weekend, “Succession” co-star Jeremy Strong was the subject of a lengthy and revealing New Yorker profile that dug deep into his biography and career… and also provoked astonishingly intense, heavily divided reactions from Strong’s fans and friends.
For instance, his friend Jessica Chastain, who had this to say:
A great many readers proclaimed it proof that Strong is a soon-to-be-recognized genius (full disclosure: We think those people are right). Others thought he came off as basically a real world version of Kendall Roy, the damaged, tryhard failstorm 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. And quite a few people came away thinking he’s a big jerk.
Like we said, the discussion has been… intense.
Written by Michael Schulman, “On ‘Succession,’ Jeremy Strong Doesn’t Get the Joke,” takes readers into Strong’s approach to acting while winding through his 20 years as an actor. Along the way, readers are given glimpses into his personal and professional life, along with some absolutely delicious — and occasionally bonkers — quotes from several people he’s worked with.
The article, essentially, painted him as a dedicated, extremely serious actor whose insistent seriousness is part of why his performance is so widely acclaimed. But the wry tone also encourages the reader to find his personality amusing. For example, when told that many people consider “Succession” to be a comedy, Strong tells Schulman, “In the sense that, like, Chekhov is comedy?”
Immediately after, we learn from executive producer Adam McKay, “That’s exactly why we cast Jeremy in that role. Because he’s not playing it like a comedy. He’s playing it like he’s Hamlet.”
The article also includes this gem from “Succession” star Brian Cox: “The result that Jeremy gets is always pretty tremendous… I just worry about what he does to himself. I worry about the crises he puts himself through in order to prepare.”
The article also hints at — though it doesn’t provide any real examples — the possibility that Strong might be “difficult” to work with, and there are also parts that insinuate insincerity and freeloading, again without evidence or named critics. But generally it’s just a deep dive into Strong’s approach to acting and his intense personality. But you came here for the reactions, not the post, which you can read for yourself at the link above.
As for those reactions, we leave it to you to determine for yourself what they mean, but author Anne Helen Peterson has a very compelling argument that they’re evidence of how insubstantial and superficial profile articles have become.
“Fandoms are so used to consuming total banal s— that anything that feels like scandal or insight feels, well, electrifying,” she continued.
See some more reactions below: