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Matthew Macfadyen: Jeremy Strong’s Method Acting Is ‘Not the Main Event’ of ‘Succession’

Who's to say actors who don't stay in character between takes "aren’t as invested, or as involved, as someone who’s weeping in a corner"?

Succession Season 3 Episode 7 Jeremy Strong


Macall Polay

It takes a few method-acting criticisms to make a Tomlette.

Succession” star Matthew Macfadyen, who famously plays pivotal RoyCo executive Tom Wambsgans, is tired of debating co-star Jeremy Strong’s approach to acting.

“I find it slightly aggravating because — it makes [the show] about one thing, and it’s an ensemble piece,” Macfadyen explained to Vanity Fair. “You think of [fellow cast members] J. Smith-Cameron and Alan Ruck, who are fucking extraordinary actors. [Strong] is not the main event.”

Discussions over Emmy winner Strong’s method acting technique went viral following a December 2021 New Yorker profile that quickly made headlines due to Strong’s requests to be tear-gassed while filming “Trial of the Chicago 7,” among other painful endeavors.

Macfadyen added that the discussions of Strong’s on-set feats imply that co-stars who don’t stay in character “aren’t as invested, or as involved, as someone who’s weeping in a corner.”

He continued, “I look at Jeremy — that’s Kendall Roy, and so my heart starts banging a bit faster. Because I’ve made the imaginative leap. Because that’s my job. It’s not about what I’m feeling or what state I’ve got myself in before, or any of that. That’s not to say that’s wrong. That’s just not useful.”

“Succession” patriarch Brian Cox previously said Strong’s antics are “exhausting” to co-stars.

“But we weather it because we love him and because the result is always extraordinary, what he does,” Cox said to Deadline. “But at the same time, there is the double-edged sword that goes with it.”

Longtime friend Michelle Williams has since defended Strong, while director Aaron Sorkin slammed the past New Yorker article for presenting a “distorted picture of Jeremy.”

Strong told IndieWire that he brought tokens from his own childhood including a stuffed animal and a baby blanket to harness the vulnerability of playing Kendall.

“There is this sense of, ‘I can not keep it up anymore. I cannot hold onto the life raft of this belief that everything is OK,'” Strong said of getting into character for a tense Season 3 episode. “It was incredibly painful. It was a really hard episode to film. You get a piece of writing like that, and that is like opening the greatest Christmas present ever.”

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