Succession's Jeremy Strong Explains Acting Techniques Following Co-Star Brian Cox's Criticisms About Acting Being 'Religious'

Left: Jeremy Strong as Kendall Roy in Succession, standing in a green shirt. Right: Brian Cox sitting at a desk as Logan Roy on Succession.
(Image credit: Photograph by Macall B. Polay/HBO)

Ever since the New Yorker profile on Jeremy Strong was released, many have been critical of the actor’s immersive acting style. This includes his Succession co-star Brian Cox. Strong plays Kendall Roy on the HBO hit series, while Cox plays his father Logan Roy. With Strong’s new movie Armageddon Time on the way, his acting methods have come back into the spotlight, and Cox has some thoughts on the manner.

The profile from THR discusses Strong’s acting, noting that he is aware of “his reputation of artistic zealotry.” It then addresses Cox’s open opposition toward Strong’s methods. Cox said at the Toronto Film Festival: 

I don’t hold a lot of the American shit, having to have a ‘religious experience' every time you play a part. It’s crap.

 The journalist asked Strong if acting was his religion, to which he said:  

I think it is a sacramental activity expressing a faith, if that’s what a religion is. I feel wary of saying that because religion is religion and I don’t want to diminish what religion is. But for me, certainly. Theaters have always been a place that feel kind of holy. And the communicative and healing power of film is completely profound and mysterious. So, yeah, I’m a devout devotee of that. Yeah.

The actor behind Kendall Roy is super serious about acting. In the New Yorker profile, he explained that he takes his character as seriously as his own life. While many have scrutinized his method, he has also been praised for his acting, especially on Succession. He was part of the Emmy winners in 2020 and was nominated this year again (it's worth noting Cox has also been nominated both years too). 

Strong has been open about how the New Yorker profile felt like a “betrayal.” While people like Jessica Chastain and Aaron Sorkin did stand up for Strong, Cox is not. In the initial profile that started this whole conversation, Cox was a source and he explained that Strong’s “total immersion” into his roles worries him.  He was later on Late Night With Seth Meyers and while he complimented Strong as a person, when it came to his acting Cox worried about how obsessed Strong gets with his work. 

Cox is not afraid to speak his mind, and he tends to not hold back his opinions. For example, he called Johnny Depp “overrated” and “overblown,” specifically referencing Depp’s performance as Jack Sparrow. He then walked back these comments, saying while he does think sometimes he’s “overblown” he’s also done “some considerable work.”   

Much like Logan Roy, Cox does not seem afraid to speak his mind, even if it’s a tad hurtful. Even though Cox seems to have called out Strong at TIFF, he has also made it clear he thinks his on-screen son is a very good actor. 

Succession is currently not on the air, but it has been renewed for Season 4, we just don’t know the release date. While we wait to see the Roys return, you can watch the first three seasons of Succession with an HBO Max subscription

Riley Utley
Weekend Editor

Riley Utley is a Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. She spent many years working in local journalism across the country writing about art, news and sports. One of her favorite films is When Harry Met Sally and she walks around constantly quoting Ted Lasso.