Spoiler alert: Midway through this story we vaguely discuss some spoilers from “Succession” Season 1, including Kendall Roy’s (Jeremy Strong) cliffhanger in the Episode 10 finale. Do not read on if you prefer to remain in the dark.
Jeremy Strong landed a great gig as one of the lead actors on HBO’s excellent media-empire drama “Succession” — but that doesn’t mean he has a “fun” job, something we asked the actor behind the troubled Kendall Roy to talk about.
“I’ll be honest with you: It’s not a fun job. ‘Fun’ is just not the word for it,” Strong told TheWrap. “There are times where I experience real joy just in the creative process itself, but this is a f—ing heavy thing on me.”
That Outstanding Drama Series Emmy nod the first time out probably helps Strong’s medicine go down a bit easier. And again, we’re the one who introduced the concept of “fun”-ness — or really, the lack thereof — here.
“The writing on this show — in-particular in this role — has demanded that I go to hell and back,” Strong added. “The good news is I think I come back from the place that we find [Kendall at] in the beginning of the second season. But those first few episodes [of Season 2]…that was hard, and the headspace, as you can imagine, is not a place that anyone would want to stay in.”
Jesse Armstrong’s writing is also nominated for an Emmy, as is the show’s casting, directing and main-title music.
“I wish I could say it was fun, but it’s not without a tremendous sense of relief and release that you get out of those episodes and into the rungs of the ladder towards some kind of redemption and some kind of return and resuscitation coming back to life,” he continued.
This is where you might want to stop reading if you haven’t seen Season 1.
For those who missed it but don’t foresee a binge in their future, Kendall’s story arc goes a bit like this: The eldest son from Logan Roy’s (Brian Cox) second marriage is about to be named his father’s successor atop mega-media company Waystar Royco. Then a whole bunch of bad stuff goes down, with Kendall eventually ending his downward spiral as a murderer — or at least, a manslaughter-er, legally speaking.
There’s also a divorce he’s still taking on the chin, rampant drug abuse, and more professional setbacks that even the loaded pilot could foreshadow.
After all that insanity, as you might imagine, Strong said it is a “very schizoid experience” to snap back into his normal life as a husband and a relatively new father to a 14-month-old baby girl.
“Yeah, you take it home with you,” he said of Kendall’s struggles. “The truth is it weighs on you until you wrap the season.”
For Strong, he was just dismissed from Season 2 production on Saturday, Aug. 3 — so give him a minute.
Strong said he already feels a “looming dread” about getting back into character for the Season 3 that we’re all hoping for — himself included. After all, somewhere in the sadness there will be more of this “incredibly, profoundly meaningful and exciting” acting experience for Strong.
Just, you know, after he gets a f—ing vacation.
“Succession” returns to HBO with its Season 2 premiere Sunday night at 9/8c.