Jeremy Strong on 'Succession' Ending, Next Roles After Kendall Roy

Jeremy Strong’s Emmy-winning tenure as Kendall Roy on HBO’s “Succession” is over, and he told The New York Times Magazine in a recent interview 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?’ And then a great determination to achieve exit velocity from it so I could attempt to do more.”

That “more” is now coming into focus. Strong is currently on Broadway headlining the play “Enemy of the People” alongside Michael Imperioli and Victoria Pedretti. He’s also set to play Roy Cohn in the upcoming biographical drama “The Apprentice,” which features Sebastian Stan as Donald Trump and Maria Bakalova as Ivana Trump.

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Strong told the publication that “I haven’t spent much time worrying about” whether he’ll be able to distance himself from the career-defining role of Kendall Roy. The New York Times Magazine noted that many actors, be it James Gandolfini (“The Sopranos”) or Alan Alda (“M*A*S*H”), have struggled to move their careers beyond an iconic TV role. That doesn’t appear to be a concern for Strong.

“I went right into Roy Cohn, partly just to sort of shake [‘Succession’] off,” Strong said. “Roy Cohn, you can’t overstate his influence in our country, his legacy of the denial of reality and certain things that he imparted to Donald Trump. His playbook has a tentacular reach that is staggering — the most fascinating person I’ve ever tried to inhabit. I should say a disclaimer: My job is to be a humanistic investigator of a subject and to withhold judgment. So while I personally might have a lot of judgment about Roy Cohn, that is not the part of me that engages in the creative work.”

Strong also addressed the public’s image of him as a super-serious Method actor who loves self-suffering and does not have an ounce of levity in his body. When asked if he’s interested in making a comedy, the actor answered: “I thought ‘Succession’ was wickedly funny. I don’t know that that show can be put into any box, but it had an incredible amount of humor in it.”

“It’s not something that I gravitate toward, but it’s not something that I am against,” Strong added about comedy. “Peter Sellers, he’s like a god to me. The last time I worked with Sam Gold was a play called ‘The Coward,’ which was essentially ‘Barry Lyndon’ meets ‘The Jerk.’ I did the whole play in falsetto. Your very own paper, The New York Times, said that after two hours, you’re starved for silence. I thought, That’s exactly what I was trying to do. It’s a myth that I am this humorless person.”

Strong admitted that having fun is “probably something I’m not great at doing,” although he added: “I’ll tell you this. I like a good action movie. I saw ‘The Equalizer 3’ the weekend it opened in Denmark by myself. It’s a good decompressant for me.”

“An Enemy of the People” is currently in previews on Broadway and has its official opening night on March 18. Head over to The New York Times Magazine’s website to read Strong’s latest interview in its entirety.

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