Brian Cox Was Concerned for Co-Star Jeremy Strong While Filming ‘Succession’ Season 3: ‘I Worry About What He Does to Himself’

The HBO television series Succession has captivated audiences with its portrayal of a wealthy family battling for control of a global media and entertainment empire. Jeremy Strong portrays Kendall Roy, the black-sheep middle son who often goes head-to-head with the family patriarch, Logan Roy, played by Brian Cox.

Recently, Strong’s dedication to his role earned him a 2022 Golden Globe for Best Actor. However, his commitment to being Kendall has worried his co-stars. During the filming of season 3, Cox expressed concern for his hard-working TV son, who he says gets so intensely involved in the character that he worried for Strong’s safety.

‘Succession’ becomes an award-winning HBO series

Succession has received 23 Emmy Award nominations and nine wins, including Outstanding Drama Series in 2019 and 2020. The satirical comedy-drama has gained critical acclaim through its use of unique cinematography methods.

Shot entirely on film, Succession utilizes mockumentary-style camera work, lingering on the character’s reactions for a split second to pull viewers into the scene. Writer/producer/director Adam McKay effortlessly blends the show’s dramatic elements with engaging storylines and witty dialogue. Most of all, the all-star cast keeps viewers tuning in.

Succession received five 2022 Screen Actors Guild (SAG) nominations, with Strong getting the nod for Best Actor in a Limited Series. His portrayal of Kendall has earned him worldwide recognition despite his already lengthy resume. The 43-year-old won the 2020 Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series and the 2022 Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series.

Jeremy Strong is incredibly committed to his acting roles

Kieran Culkin, Brian Cox and Jeremy Strong speak in front of cameras at the 'Succession' premiere in 2018
(L-R) Actors Kieran Culkin, Brian Cox, and Jeremy Strong attend the Succession premiere | Gary Gershoff/WireImage

The Big Short actor throws himself wholeheartedly into a role. In a compelling New Yorker profile, Strong stated, “I take [Kendall] as seriously as I take my own life.” Despite intense research and character immersion, the master of method acting often refuses to rehearse. “I want every scene to feel like I’m encountering a bear in the woods,” Strong explained.

While it works for him, some of his fellow actors can feel alienated by his unusual approach to acting. Co-star Kieran Culkin, who plays younger brother Roman Roy, told The New Yorker, “He puts himself in a bubble.” He said, “The way Jeremy put it to me is that, like, you get in the ring, you do the scene, and at the end, each actor goes to their corner. I’m like, ‘This isn’t a battle. This is a dance.'”

Cox also has issues with Strong’s worth ethic. The Hollywood veteran said, “The result that Jeremy gets is always pretty tremendous. I just worry about what he does to himself. I worry about the crises he puts himself through in order to prepare.”

‘Succession’ co-stars claim Strong is hard to work with

After the New Yorker profile, many actors came to Strong’s defense. Jessica Chastain tweeted, “He’s a lovely person. Very inspiring & passionate about his work.” Many in Hollywood took offense to how the article portrayed the hard-working actor.

Strong, however, acknowledges that his castmates don’t always understand his way of working, sometimes frustrating or concerning them. When asked about being “difficult” to work with, Strong said, “I don’t particularly think ease or even accord are virtues in creative work, and sometimes there must even be room for necessary roughness, with the boundaries dictated by the work.”

The Molly’s Game actor also frustrates set designers and prop masters with his demands as he seeks perfection in his scenes. A Succession writer recalled when Roy was supposed to eat a Waldorf salad. Strong claimed that it was too “old-school,” saying, “That’s something my dad would eat. It should be a fennel salad with a light vinaigrette.”

Strong is also well-known for his ad-libbing skills, often going off in unscripted tangents. Culkin recalled a season from Season 1 where Strong shows up a little “tipsy” for a scene where the family participates in group therapy in New Mexico. By the third take, the cast was so frustrated that Sarah Snook, who plays Shiv, declared, “Shut. Up. Kendall.”

Not immune to personal injury, Strong once hurt his leg when he jumped off a five-foot-high platform stage. He also fractured his foot running through NYC streets in dress shoes to look sweaty for a Succession scene.

Cox explained, “It’s the cost to himself that worries me. I just feel that he just has to be kinder to himself, and therefore has to be a bit kinder to everybody else.”

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