No Longer Having ‘Succession’ Scared Jeremy Strong: ‘Was This the Event of My Life?’

But he says the show gave him “agency to manifest things” that he wants to “put my whole self into”

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“Succession” star Jeremy Strong admitted in an interview released Sunday that “there was a moment when the show ended where I felt a profound sense of, Was this the thing? Was this the event of my life?” Strong shared the confession in a deeply on-brand, thoughtful conversation with the New York Times on Sunday.

Strong shared that he found the prospect of being interviewed for the paper of record “very fraught,” tying that in with his other fears. As he put it, “Some acting teacher said that acting is basically standing naked and turning around very slowly in front of an audience. It’s vulnerable and there’s so many fears. But I guess I’m interested in learning how to live with less fear.”

In that vein, he continued, to be an actor is to try to “touch the third rail in this work.” Strong demanded, “Which you better do or I don’t think it’s worth a damn. Especially because you’re being called on to experience and embody the extremities of human experience.”

Luckily for Strong, his doubt was almost immediately met with “a great determination to achieve exit velocity from it so I could attempt to do more.” He added that he is focused on “creating a sort of negative space so that I can be a vessel for writing and create character through a pastiche of writing and imagination and whatever things activate me,” and now that he is in a position “where I have some agency to manifest things, that’s what I want to put my whole self into.”

Strong was asked by the Times’ David Marchese how he manages his career, a question that the writer admitted he often asks interviewees, though he has rarely received an answer he believes. The actor responded, asking his own question: “Can I give you a very Jeremy Strong answer?”

He then proceeded to do so.

As an actor, he said, “You want to play in first chair and you want to play pieces that will make you grow and allow you to be fully expressed; there’s a reason to try to gravitate toward the best material. The fact is, sadly, you don’t have access to that unless you have a certain amount of power — access to what they call in the business ‘deal flow.’ I guess actors don’t want to talk about the idea of there being a marketplace, because that does feel, as you said, gauche.”

When it comes to his future prospects, Strong is interested in everything. Marchese asked if he would pursue comedy, to which the actor admitted he thought “Succession” was “wickedly funny” more often than not. The genre as a whole, though, is “not something that I gravitate toward, but it’s not something that I am against.”

After all, he added, “It’s a myth that I am this humorless person.”

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