Jeremy Strong Got Fired and Lost a Role in ‘Succession’ During His Wedding Week: ‘It Was a Devastating Experience’
But before he found success on the small screen, he worked on major motion pictures alongside Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, Jessica Chastain, and Chris Pratt. He also appeared in five movies that have been contenders for a Best Picture Oscar.
Despite his impressive list of credits, an acclaimed director who thought he wasn’t right for the part fired Strong. This happened at the same time as he prepared to tie the knot. The Molly’s Game actor says, “It was a devastating experience.”
Jeremy Strong identified with ‘Succession’ character Roman Roy
In 2016, director Kathryn Bigelow of Hurt Locker fame cast Strong to play the role of a National Guardsman in the film Detroit.
The 43-year-old actor married Emma Wall, a Danish psychiatrist, that year. According to The New Yorker, the couple, who met in 2012, married at Dragsholm Slot castle in Denmark. Together, they share three children.
When Strong was preparing for Detroit, director Adam McKay, who he worked with on The Big Short, approached him. The Anchorman screenwriter told Short about his new gig as executive producer for a new HBO series titled Succession. McKay asked the Selma actor to read the script to see if he resonated with any characters.
When Strong first read the script for Succession, he immediately connected with Roman, the youngest son of Logan Roy, the family patriarch. In the interview with the New Yorker, Strong explained, “I thought, Oh, wow, Roman is such a cool part. He’s, like, this bon-vivant prick. I could do something that I hadn’t done before.”
Why was Strong fired from ‘Detroit’?
Meanwhile, Strong’s deep-dive character study for Detroit was underway. He practiced his shooting skills at a local range and binge-watched military documentaries to learn as much as he could about his upcoming role.
The Lincoln actor even missed part of his wedding-week festivities to focus on filming. One day into shooting, Bigelow fired him, saying he “was just not the character that she had in her mind.”
Devastated, he pleaded with the director to keep him involved in the project. Eventually, Bigelow agreed to create the character of an attorney so he could remain working on the film.
Kieran Culkin landed the role of Roman
After Strong straightened things out on the set of Detroit, he flew to Denmark for his marriage ceremony. While there, he received word that Kieran Culkin, who originally auditioned for the part of cousin Greg, got the lead role of Roman in Succession.
Apparently, “the role hadn’t been McKay’s to give.” Show creator Jesse Armstrong agreed to let Strong audition for Kendall Roy, the second-oldest son, and heir apparent to Waystar Royco.
Once again, The Good Wife actor researched the character and learned as much as he could about corporate greed and power. He read a biography about Rupert Murdoch, saying, “The disappointment and the feeling of being thwarted – it only sharpened my need and hunger. I went in with a vengeance.”
At the audition, Armstrong appeared skeptical and asked Strong to “loosen the language.” He worked through the scene as he toned down his “Beastie Boys-ing it up” dialect. He eventually won the part.
Strong told The New Yorker, “To me, the stakes are life and death.” Talking about his role as Kendall Roy, he says, “I take him as seriously as I take my own life.”