Jeremy Strong: New York method acting profile was ‘foolish’

While Strong regrets the “noise and fog” the interview caused, he still stands by his acting process.

The popularity of “Succession” has made Jeremy Strong one of the most recognized actors in the world. But Strong’s rise to stardom has also been accompanied by his fair share of scrutiny of his unorthodox acting process. A 2021 profile in The New Yorker was particularly controversial, highlighting the lengthy efforts Strong made to get the role, including requests to prepare for his role on The Trial of the Chicago 7. being treated with tear gas.

This article sparked much discussion about Strong and the merits of what is colloquially known as method acting (although Strong’s approach differs significantly from the original definition of the term). Many celebrities have called on Strong for help, while others have been open about their lack of respect for method acting.

Strong isn’t particularly happy about that. Speaking to Vanity Fair at the Telluride Film Festival, where he is present to promote James Gray’s Armageddon Time, Strong expressed his regret at the infamous profile. While he still stands by his acting process, the “Succession” star believes the discourse surrounding the play ended up serving as an unnecessary distraction.

“[The profile] Ultimately, it said more about the person who wrote it and their perspective, which is a valid perspective, than how I feel and what I’m about,” Strong said. “The noise and the fog afterwards: I think what ultimately interests me is to feel as free as possible as an actor. Part of this is trying to isolate yourself from everything and what people might be saying or thinking about you. You have to free yourself from that. It was painful. I felt stupid. As an actor, one of the most important secret weapons you can have is the ability to feel stupid.”

However, no amount of media attention will force Strong to change his behavior. He believes method acting allows him to do his best work and sees no reason to change that to appease his detractors.

“At the end of the day, it’s very simple,” he said. “You do all this stuff so you can work as unconsciously as possible. When you work on the edge of your unconscious, I think good work is possible. There’s really not much you can say about that, because it’s your subconscious. All that stuff I have to treat as vapor and fog. It’s not really relevant to the work.”

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Lindsay Lowe

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