This Bathroom Story About Jeremy Strong's "Method" Acting On 'Succession' Adds To The Legend Of The Mad Genius Behind Kendall Roy

This story originally came from an episode of the podcast Las Culturistas with Matt Rogers and Bowen Yang, and Variety captured the key excerpt in which Yang, a cast member on Nora From Queens, tells a hilarious story involving Succession star Jeremy Strong. He describes the odd Strong encounter better than I could ever paraphrase it:

"The most recent season of 'Nora From Queens' shot at the same studio as this season of 'Succession...The ‘Nora From Queens’ production office was pretty close to the ‘Succession’ stages and their production office, and as we famously know, Jeremy Strong is a method actor. At one point, Jeremy walks into the ‘Nora From Queens’ production office and says, ‘Excuse me, do you know where the bathroom is?’ and then someone in the office is like, ‘Yeah, it’s just down the hall to the left.’ He goes, ‘Thank you so much’ and he leaves.

"So Jeremy leaves...Ten minutes pass, and a [production assistant] from ‘Succession’ comes into the office and goes, ‘Hi, was Jeremy just in here?’ and they were like, ‘Yeah he was — he went to the bathroom’ and then this PA goes, ‘Did he ask where it was? Did he come here to ask you where the bathroom was?’ They were like, ‘Yeah, why?’ and the PA says, ‘He has a scene today where he has to ask someone where the bathroom is.’ I think that is method to such a ridiculous degree that he must be in on the joke.”

JEREMY STRONG, ladies and gentlemen!! What a guy. What an actor. What a beautiful weirdo and genius artist. Seriously. I know a lot of people are gonna bash on the guy for doing something so seemingly pedantic as this, but at least he wasn't being a total prick to anyone. Sure, maybe a little rude to interrupt a production office to stay in character. Whatever. If it helps to give us one of the all-time greatest prestige dramas ever made for TV, so be it! A small price to pay.

Brian Cox has been publicly critical in myriad interviews about how Strong's acting process works. Coming from across the pond, Cox is much more of the mindset that you shouldn't get all emotionally involved with your own characters. Just say the lines. Pretend. You know. Act.

That's not to say there isn't merit to any other acting techniques. I did a TikTok about this whole "method" acting thing a while back and how it's pretty much a sensationalized/mislabeled misnomer ascribed to actors who do unconventional shit as part of their preparation and ongoing work in front of the camera or on the stage.

Tried to put that MFA degree to use and encapsulate about a century of major American acting techniques in three-ish minutes. Sort of maybe pulled it off. But yeah, Cox basically tells Strong to chill the fuck out and smoke a joint every now and again.

IDK man. I'll poke fun at an actor's "process" as much as the next person from time to time, yet it's also important to understand how elusive it is to be a consistently great actor. Anything you have to do to trick your mind to get to that place, as long as you're not hurting anyone or being a douche canoe, I'm all for. Well, for the most part. 

So for sure, Jeremy Strong injecting himself into a real-life scenario where he has to ask a stranger where a bathroom is seems ridiculous from the outside. On the other hand, the amount of pressure he's under to help carry Succession and stick the landing for one of the biggest smash hit TV shows in recent memory has to be immense. It's almost like Strong is scared that if he pulls himself out of it whatsoever, it'll be like a dream he woke up from, or he won't get in deep enough to keep delivering kick-ass Kendall Roy performances.

Like that whole eulogy situation from the most recent episode? Coming in on the heels of Kieran Culkin's devastating breakdown and STILL doing this well?? Whatever suffering Strong voluntarily put himself through to get this, it certainly paid off:

This coming Sunday is the series finale. Sucks that it's ending but also cool to see Succession won't overstay its welcome with a definitive end in sight. I'm sure Strong has to be pretty relieved to distance himself from Kendall, though. Going to these types of lengths to put forth his best work had to be so psychologically taxing for so many years. I'm really eager to see what he does going forward. I imagine at least a few weighty, lead dramatic roles in Oscar-caliber films will be in his future.


Ohhh man. Strong is gonna star on Broadway next year in Henrik Ibsen's An Enemy of the People. I saw a production of that at The Barrow Group (interned there during my first summer of grad school, shout out!!) and the role of Doctor Thomas Stockmann is just so well-suited for Strong's sensibilities. Put him on Tony Award watch immediately.

For a little lighter take on "method" acting, I couldn't help but think of this Robert Pattinson remark from a while back.

Time to play you out with a Succession finale preview trailer. Cue the somber version of that FIRE piano intro. Can't wait to see Jeremy Strong and the magnificent ensemble — divergent acting processes aside — fucking slay one more time.

Twitter @MattFitz_gerald/TikTok