Mar 10, 2024

Jeremy Strong Isn’t Sure He Knows Who He Is

For years, Jeremy Strong was a relatively anonymous, steadily gigging actor. He did theater and some recurring TV work (“The Good Wife,” “Masters of Sex”), and was able to land decent supporting roles in big movies (“The Big Short,” “Selma”). Then “Succession” changed everything. The hit HBO show, a biting satire about the emotionally dysfunctional, media-conglomerate-running Roy family, became an icon of 21st-century television. Within it, Strong created an icon of his own with his portrayal of the damaged and tragically self-defeating eldest son, Kendall Roy. The show, which ended last year after four seasons, sent Strong’s career into a different orbit. It also made people interested in the man behind the character. This was not always good. In 2021, a much-discussed profile in The New Yorker depicted Strong as — depending on your point of view — a deeply dedicated and ambitious artist or a self-serious pain in the butt. In a way, Strong’s current project — he plays the lead in an adaptation of Ibsen’s “An Enemy of the People,” which opens on Broadway on March 18 — is his attempt to address some of what “Succession” opened up for him, for better and for ill. The play, in which a doctor who expects acceptance for telling the truth about an environmental disaster in his small town instead receives scorn, allows Strong to tell another socially relevant story. It also serves as a comment on how your public and private selves can feel at odds. “I had the experience of being taken by this incredible current,” says Strong, who is 45, about “Succession” and its wake. “It left me somewhere different from where I began.”

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