Jessica Chastain defends ‘lovely person’ Jeremy Strong: ‘Snark sells’

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I was genuinely surprised that people had strong feelings about Jeremy Strong’s New Yorker profile, which dropped on Sunday hours before the latest Succession episode aired. Strong came across as pretentious, too Method-actor-y and maybe an annoying coworker. But my point still stands: a lot of actors are like that, and a lot of actors brag about how “Method” they are and how they ruin their lives and the lives of people around them for a movie or role. Did Strong get so much backlash because it was “just” for a TV role? Does it matter that his performance on Succession is actually brilliant, and he’s already won an Emmy for it? There’s more nuance there besides “this guy is a total douche.”

Strong’s Succession costars were quoted within the New Yorker piece, and they made it sound like Strong isn’t the most popular person on set (that would probably be Nicholas Braun, Cousin Greg), but there’s some respect for his process. Well, one of Strong’s old costars decided to chime in. Jessica Chastain tweeted this:

They worked together on Molly’s Game and they probably know each other from living and working in New York for years and years too. Chris Evans also knew Strong because they both grew up in Massachusetts and did local theater, and Chris made him sound like he was crazy-talented even at a young age. But yeah… other than Evans and Chastain, it’s not like Strong’s other coworkers are riding to his defense. Which is notable.

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49 Responses to “Jessica Chastain defends ‘lovely person’ Jeremy Strong: ‘Snark sells’”

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  1. Southern Fried says:

    Glad to see this since the article sure sounded biased to me. All the chatter felt like a pile-on.

    • Soni says:

      LMAO it wasn’t biased at all.

      • Tooby says:

        Even if the reporter was biased the quotes from his costars tell the tale.

        Like…I don’t think I’ve ever seen actors describe coworkers they still have to work with that way. It wasn’t impolitic but you could read between the lines.

        I don’t think it was one-sided either. If anything the article implies that Strong is quite socially successful for someone who seems a pain. (I guess it helps that his friends aren’t on set with him daily)

      • Isabella says:

        A lot of that piling on from his fellow actors sounded like jealousy. Like, why are they talking about this twit? What about ME? My performance.

        We can judge Jeremy by his performance. Awesome.

    • Summergirl says:

      @Southern Fried, you can’t decide if something was biased before you even read it. I found the profile fascinating. It was a character study.

      • likethedirection says:

        @Summergirl I agree!! I read the entire profile and think that social media has, unsurprisingly, cherry-picked and then warped certain key parts of it.

    • Emma says:

      Okay I read it just now. Wow, that was a long and fairly boring article. The New Yorker is just as pretentious in its own way as a Method actor.

      I don’t think it is biased at all on the part of the writer. In fact, it is primarily in Jeremy Strong’s own words with a few quotes from costars and Chris Evans.

      Also, I don’t think he comes off that bad. Intense and pretentious, for sure. The tear gas is about him asking for *himself* to really be tear-gassed, and the director pointing out they’d then have to tear-gas everyone else too.

  2. Soni says:

    “and a lot of actors brag about how “Method” they are and how they ruin their lives and the lives of people around them for a movie or role.”

    No they don’t? And if they do they generally get mocked and roasted for it, just like this guy is rightfully getting.

    • Lester Bangs says:

      For real… I don’t get why people are caping so hard for someone whose coworkers basically said that his process is self-indulgent and makes other people’s jobs harder. Like…. I love succession and think he’s great on it and he might even be a nice guy (for sure he might! I don’t know him!) But clearly his professional approach is problematic. Two things can be true.

    • Mika says:

      Yeah, this is a guy who wanted a 200 extras and a crew of 70 to get tear-gassed so HIS performance would be more authentic. He deserves to be roasted. And this interviewer did what good journalists should – start a conversation, and report what was said. Jeremy Strong gave us this information about himself willingly. He likes who he is.

  3. TIFFANY says:

    On one hand, Jeremy strikes me as intense about his craft and job, on the other, he is still doing the same thing he did in receiving the 1st acting award for the show.

    If the process at my job resulted in the good of my company and me getting a bonus (that does not cross any lines or results in abuse), why would I not think to continue on to keep the success going.

  4. Harper says:

    You can be well-liked but still have annoying qualities that affect your co-workers. I read the whole article and it seems like Strong, despite his quirks, has the ability to make long-lasting friendships, has a happy home life, and his co-workers are only concerned for his well-being. He hurt himself filming Kendall’s birthday party by adding in an unscripted jump off the stage and landing badly. It’s that kind of overdoing of the drama that his co-actors probably think is over the top.

  5. Acal says:

    A lot of MALE actors brag about how method they are. Women are not given this grace to be snarky or method. They have to be sunshine and roses all the time or they are labeled as difficult

    • BothSidesNow says:

      @ Acal, yup!! If only women actors were given the same respect and free from labels and character assassinations.

  6. Teebee says:

    I don’t have access to Succession. Damn.

    But one of my favourite parts of The Big Short was Strong as Vinny, especially the scenes with Ryan Gosling. His intensity while everyone around him were chattering like teenagers in the lunchroom was so funny. Sounds exactly like what is happening in Succession. Which sounds like something I need to get my hands on.

    I like hearing about behinds the scenes stuff in the biz. I hope whatever dynamic exists between actors is understood as differences of personalities and therefore can be dealt with in service of the quality of the show. But no one player should make others uncomfortable or compromise the work environment for the sake of their process. That is a pretentiousness that I can’t get behind. Hope that’s not the case here.

  7. Jane says:

    I read that profile in its entirety (it was LONG) and while I don’t think Jeremy came across as a pretentious douchebag or an asshole who makes his co-workers’ lives hell (unlike, say Jared Leto when filming Suicide Squad), I think it’s fair to say that he came across as an absolute chore to be around, someone who takes everything including himself far too seriously. And really, in the grand scheme of things, is there anything wrong with that? He seems to have plenty of friends in the business who are willing to go to bat for him (and people like Jessica Chastain and Chris Evans aren’t exactly easy breezy themselves). As far as we know, he’s not sexually harassing or assaulting the Succession actresses, he’s not bullying younger actors, he’s not terrorising the crew members, he hasn’t accidentally killed anyone on set, he’s not disseminating harmful political misinformation. He’s only inflicting pain and suffering on himself, and in doing so he’s doing an amazing job with Kendall Roy and absolutely deserves the accolades and awards he’s getting. He’s the heart of the show.

    • Merricat says:


    • Mika says:

      Well, according to Aaron Sorkin, he did want 200 extras and a crew of 70 to be teargassed on the set of “The Chicago Seven” so…. that would have terrorized a lot of crew. Luckily, there was an adult in the room.

    • YAS says:

      I agree with this comment. There’s also a sense of camaraderie that develops among a lot of costars and crew sort of the way you would with coworkers in an office and it becomes expected that on shoots you’ll hang out and make small talk, go out to drinks and stuff like that. And just like in an office, if you deviate from what people want out of a shooting experience, you get labeled a pain. “Oh, he’s difficult because he doesn’t go out of his way to riff and joke and hang out with us.” But he doesn’t owe that to co-stars. What he owes is respect, his own preparedness, and executing the things he’s being paid to execute. Sure it’s a different relationship than the work wife/husband dynamic that develops among a lot of costars, but it’s not inherently problematic. He doesn’t seem to have an issue in developing and maintaining nurturing and healthy relationships in his personal life, so as long as he’s not hurtful or abusive to his coworkers, I don’t see what the big deal is.

      Also, I think people are reading A LOT into the Sorkin comment about tear gas. I don’t think Sorkin implied that he wanted everyone else to be tear gassed. His comment can very easily be interpreted, he asked me for this and I said no because I was going to be shooting it in a way that would require everyone else to be tear gassed and we’re not going to do that. As an employee, the least you can do is ask for what you need in the workplace and then your employer/manager can say no based on the picture they’re looking at.

  8. Driver8 says:

    I listened to Kieran Culkan’s interview with Marc Maron last week and he was supportive of the whole cast. It sounds like his coworkers are more concerned that JS is tormenting himself over the process. At any rate, his performance has been the standout for me from the beginning. As others said yesterday, Kendall is heartbreaking and I buy every damn thing JS is selling.

    • sally says:

      That’s the impression I’ve been getting too and I’ve seen Brian Cox’ comments cut/edited interestingly on some media outlets, that made them look way more critical than they were.
      I like Jessica, she is a hard worker herself, so she may see some intense work techniques more relaxed than the average person, but I generally do trust her assessment of people. None of the people she’s been openly supporting have turned out be secret a-holes so far and she seems to make good choices in her professional circle, despite working in a hellish environment.

  9. Gigi says:

    Respectfully disagree that the profile was balanced. It wasn’t a blatant hatchet job, but it certainly sneers at him, and seems to take delight in it. I came away disliking the writer who betrayed their subject that way.

  10. Sal says:

    It’s easy to pile on a person from the wrong social class. It’s not surprising that some people who read The New Yorker would go all in that way.

    • mimic says:

      That ‘s a very interesting take that I had not considered. I’m going to ponder that some more.

    • souperkay says:

      This is what struck me from the New Yorker piece: Jeremy had no connection to the industry, he wasn’t nepotized or bought in. He did the work of acting, working on sets, being an assistant, and was able to go to Yale, work with all his heroes and is now reaping the rewards of his work. He came from nothing but managed to do the work to access gatekept institutions and network his way to success on the strength of the craft he’s been working at for years.

      • Sal says:

        He might be a pain to work with, but the way he got himself to where he is now is impressive.

      • Pilar says:

        Tbh there are plenty of actors who don’t have connections and have to work incredibly hard to get to the top. Especially many actors of colour. But kudos to strong for his achievements.
        But I don’t think you can claim that wanting to teargass himself in pursuit of a great performance is related to class it’s actually typically “ luvie” first world behaviour. And I say that as someone who just graduated with an MA in art so I am not dismissing his pursuit of excellence ( I admire that) as much as his methods. And honestly after 5 years in art school I am a little bored and over the tortured genius act of white male artists.

        Also for my money Matthew McFayden gives an equally good if not better performance with more nuances and colours. But strong is sort of the hamlet of the show so the reason he’s getting so much attention isn’t only related to his performance but also to how central his character is to the plot development of the show. That said he’s an excellent actor that serves the show fantastically with his performance.

    • Merricat says:


    • Isabella says:

      Jessica Chastain has been on set with Jeremy–and she has only good things to say.

      Only two Succession costars even commented and their remarks came across as petty. It’s like: Everybody is great on that show. So why is this twit, Jeremy, getting all the attention? What about ME? My performance. I don’t even sweat when I say my lines.

      The author of the piece keeps slipping in the knife. He needed to tell us he went to Yale. That Jeremy, on the other hand, went to Yale on scholarship. Which means, oh my god, that Jeremy is ambitious. A sweaty little striver.

      How uncool. How un-New Yorker.

      We can judge Jeremy by his awesome performance. I really don’t care if he forgot to send a fruit basket to his costars at the end of each season.

      • Nic919 says:

        I also think the comments from the costars were edited to read a certain way. I have read other interviews with Brian Cox and his comments about Strong have always been more that he’s concerned that being that intense might affect him. And his own training doesn’t run that way. He didn’t seem critical of Strong as opposed to the way the New Yorker article comments were framed.

        I also think that if Kieran Culkin was positive about him in a full interview with Maron that puts the comments included in. The New Yorker in a new light as well.

  11. Jillian says:

    He sounds like he’s thoroughly stuffed up his own ass, but I get that impression from nearly every actor of the “actually wins major awards” stripe. Honestly, these profiles about how Strong is so OTT make me want to watch Succession, so well done everybody!

    • Lyds says:

      I am so happy Strong wasn’t cast as Roman! Kieran kills it and so do other members of the cast. I think what Strong does works for Kendall…one would hope if he was cast as a happy-go-lucky character he wouldn’t be so burdened and tortured.

  12. lunchcoma says:

    This sounds like an issue of someone having annoying habits rather than one of someone harming others (like Jared Leto’s take on method acting). As such, it seems like reasonable people could differ. Jessica might thoroughly enjoy working with Jeremy, while he rubbed the reporter and some of his current costars the wrong way.

  13. Mtec says:

    Perhaps it depends on the character he’s trying to channel that makes him hard to work with. There was another account of him being a difficult scene partner on another project other than Succession.

    • Isabella says:

      What account? What show? Sounds unsourced.

      • Mtec says:

        You know, it’s very easy to find a source if you put in the least bit of effort.

        It was mentioned in the other most recent article about him, other ppl have mentioned it in this comment section, and a quick google search led me to this:

        “ On one set (not Succession), he is reported to have requested to be tear-gassed to get in the zone. The request was declined, on account of the 200 other people in the scene. To allegations from Schulman that people find him difficult, Strong responded: “I don’t particularly think ease or even accord are virtues in creative work.”

        Even Strong himself admits to being inconsiderate of how his method affects others. Is that sourced enough for you?

  14. Am says:

    Maybe I’m just basic and don’t see brilliance as easily but to me his performance is just as good as everyone else’s (amazing) so I don’t understand why he must go to such lengths. Maybe I say this because Kendall is my least favorite Roy so I don’t intensely study his scenes.

  15. JJ says:

    Unrelated: For those people who watch Succession, I’ve heard it gets really good in Season 3 (and Alexander Skarsgard is in season three) is there somewhere I can jump into it closer to Season 3 that will make sense? I’ve watched the first two episodes but don’t know if I want to commit to watching the two whole seasons before “it gets better..” iykwim…

    • backyard mogul says:

      I encourage you to stick with it! I read somewhere that if you approach it as a dark comedy with some serious moments it’s more enjoyable. And my husband and I have both found that to be true. I mean… they are all bonkers in the worst way.
      For us, season 2 is the highlight because of Jeremy Strong, he really deserved that Emmy. Season 3 has been less remarkable, IMO.

  16. TheInvisibleWoman says:

    I’m an actor and stand in, I’ve worked on HBO shows as a stand in for one of the leads. I know people who work on Succession. Working 12-14 hours a day while the atmosphere feels like you have to walk on eggshells all day long is terrible for your mental wellbeing and can ruin your performance. Plus there is no excuse for being disrespectful to your cast and crew (only using makeup/hair when you’re alone, refusing to rehearse, changing the script, doing your own stunts). As a stand in it would infuriate me if I worked for 2 hours blocking a scene (my directors are usually insanely specific) only for the actor to refuse to rehearse what I just worked on with the director, DP, etc. Plus there’s no need for extreme method – the best actor I worked with went from roughing up my co-star in an emotionally charged scene to eating the prop chips and cracking jokes with his mouth full after they yelled cut.

    As for Succession, from what I’ve heard the cast is very chummy and upbeat so when Jeremy comes in with his bullshit the set atmosphere sinks like a lead balloon. On a positive note everyone I know LOVES Kieran and says he’s their favorite actor to work with, ever.

    • Teebee says:

      What a cool job you have! Thanks for sharing, I love behind the scenes stuff, glimpses from behind the screen are my jam!

      Also interesting perspectives of what is happening on set. Sounds like a little from column A and a little from column B…

  17. A.Key says:

    That Olivier quote never gets old: “Why don’t you just try acting?”

  18. Casper says:

    I wouldn’t expect any of the other Succession stars to speak up – it might sound like they were criticising Keiran Culkin and Brian Cox (the two that were accused of slamming Strong in the article). Anyway Culkin and Cox were really only saying that Strong goes to extreme lengths which everyone knew anyway.

    My question is, if Strong is really as insufferable as the article suggests how come he has so many celeb friends? Something doesn’t track here.

    • corralee says:

      I mean have you been on Jessica chastains Twitter? She’s just as insufferable as he is (in fact her Twitter turned me from a fan to finding her annoying as hell lmao)

      • Ashley says:

        Chastain was a NY theater kid right? Or Juilliard or something, when I found that out I instantly got turned off. Those are the WORST. I took theater for 4 years, hated it and had to deal with theater kids that are so far up their own a$$ it made me hate it even more. If Strong is anything like them I can see why he turns everyone else off. It’s a bit shocking that even actors are turned off by him, but NY stage actors are usually far worse than you’re typical Hollywood actor. Theater thinks they’re better than film. Always has.

        That said I love Kendall. I always root for the underdog so I stan Kendall Roy. I just want him to be happy and loved.

        For the poster asking about starting the series, it is a slog. I couldn’t understand why it got so much hype, plus the excess wealth. But it’s interesting watching everyone throw everyone under the bus for faux Fox News. That said this season has been bad. I watched it on my plane trip from Paris to the US so in one sitting and it felt like one long episode. Nothing has really happened. It all feels like only a day has passed Kendall shows up less and it feels really dark for him. Their mother! My god. It’s a show about very dark people who have a gorgeous life but that life really sucks, no one is happy. Except maybe Connor.