Brian Cox: ‘We all kind of make space for’ Jeremy Strong’s Method acting

Jeremy Strong, Jesse Armstrong, Nicholas Braun, Sarah Snook, Brian Cox and Alan Ruck pose in the press room at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 5, 2020 in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, United States

Brian Cox is 75 years old and enjoying one of the great roles of his already-amazing career. On Succession, he plays the family patriarch, a Rupert Murdoch-esque figure, to a brood of dysfunctional idiots who all want to overthrow him without doing any work. Cox seems to enjoy his time on Succession, and the actors all seem to get along very well. Except maybe Jeremy Strong. Strong’s profile in the New Yorker made him seem like… well, maybe he’s not the most popular person on set, just because of the intensity he brings to the role. Cox was quoted in the piece, and he later appeared on Seth Meyers’ show and spoke about Strong:

“The thing about Jeremy’s approach is it works in terms of what comes out the other end. My problem — and, it’s not a problem, I don’t have a problem with Jeremy because he’s delightful. … He’s an extraordinary dad. He’s a pretty unique individual. But, he does get obsessed with the work. And I worry about what it does to him, because if you can’t separate yourself — because you’re dealing with all of this material every day. You can’t live in it. Eventually, you get worn out. Like, to me, Daniel Day-Lewis got worn out at 55 and decided to retire because [he] couldn’t go on doing that every day. It’s too consuming. And I do worry about it. But the result — what everyone says about Jeremy — the result is always extraordinary and excellent.”

[From THR]

Yeah, this is a 75-year-old actor telling a younger actor to be careful, that Strong could burn out and that there are easier ways to get where he needs to go. But it’s also like… every actor has their own process. Strong approaches the material like he’s playing Hamlet, and so be it. The result IS extraordinary. Anyway, Cox was once again asked about the New Yorker profile when he chatted with the Hollywood Reporter:

THR: You’ve already addressed the Jeremy Strong New Yorker profile to a certain extent. But what do you think about all these artists like Aaron Sorkin, Adam McKay and Jessica Chastain coming to Jeremy Strong’s defense in recent days? Is that necessary, in your view?

Cox: I think Jeremy does need some kind of backing, really, for what he does. [Jessica] knows him and she’s very friendly with him; they’ve spent a lot of time working together. And I think it’s right for Jeremy that he does get the backup because he’s chosen a difficult path. It’s his choice, and one has to honor his choice, whatever my views are — they’re different views — but that doesn’t mean he’s a bad person because he’s made that choice. I think it’s a very valid choice that he’s made. It’s clearly to do with [what] he believes and one has to respect that. And I think that Sorkin and Adam McKay standing up for him, I completely applaud and completely go along with.

THR: Do you anticipate that post-profile there will be any tension or weirdness on set in season four?

Cox: No, not at all. I don’t think so. We all know Jeremy, we all love Jeremy. So we all kind of make space for it. I don’t think there’s going to be any repercussions whatsoever, except to wish Jeremy the best and continue the excellent work that he’s already doing on the show. There’s no question about it: He’s doing excellent work, and one has to applaud that.

[From THR]

The vibe I get is that the other actors respect his process and that Strong doesn’t pal around with the cast that much. Which wouldn’t be notable except that I get the feeling that the rest of the cast enjoy each other a lot. Matthew Macfadyen, Sarah Snook, Nicholas Braun, Kieran Culkin, they’re all good friends. Is it a situation where they’re standing apart from Strong or is he the one pulling away.

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48 Responses to “Brian Cox: ‘We all kind of make space for’ Jeremy Strong’s Method acting”

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  1. BothSidesNow says:

    Cox has had a very distinguished career and is very well known and has always brought his A game in every character he portrays. I agree with Cox that JS has a method to which he plays his characters and it’s his choice. JS shouldn’t be looked upon as someone who should be criticized or chastised for his preferred way of working, as it’s his way of performing. Cox has been around the block and he brings not only support but also respects JS for his work ethic and also a cautionary bit of wisdom to JS to not allow himself to become burned out. Furthermore, as always Cox is a gentleman, as always.

    • STRIPE says:


      I kinda wish this story would just die. Jeremy has an intense process….so what? He’s not harassing coworkers (see: Jared Leto’s “method acting”) or hurting anyone. Why has this snowballed into such a thing??

    • RoyalAssassin says:

      I know right? Snowballed is the word. I watch Succession, and when this story came out, actually it made me realise that no one but Jeremy Strong could play this role…he does it brilliantly, so brilliantly that no one notices…I mean, his character is freakin’ psychologically dysfunctional, seriously…nice guy, but so lost, baseless, ungrounded….he’s a self-admitted mess, and he does this brilliantly. Anyone lesser than him would blow this role.

      Also, look at Sarah Snook’s smile and inner BLING in these last pics, she looks FABULOUS….

  2. Erica says:

    Actors like Jeremy annoy me. I don’t understand being so method that it affects your every day life. It makes other actors on set and just people around you uncomfortable. Actors are just…acting. They aren’t saving the world and I wish people like Jeremy wouldn’t take themselves so seriously. It’s off-putting.

    • Robyn says:

      People in all industries throw themselves into their work, and *everyone’s* job affects their daily life, stress, wellbeing, etc in some way. This can be especially true in creative and artistic fields. Most of us aren’t “saving the world” but our jobs can feel very intense.

    • Kristen says:

      I don’t think anyone has said that Jeremy makes them uncomfortable? Everyone has said that while he pretty intensely inhabits a role, he’s a delightful person.

    • RoyalAssassin says:

      Actors are just acting? Well yeah! But some are brilliant, others just average, some just show up. They’re not all one, Erica, and this role that Jeremy Strong plays is a fabulously messed up character that he plays brilliantly; there aren’t many who could pull this role off like he has. The strange thing about what you say is that if you had a complaint about the inefficiency or “care less” attitude of a K-Mart worker, would you have the same view, that “hell, it’s just a job, they’re just showing up, they just WORK at Kmart, don’t they?” If someone said that to you about a complaint you have towards a particular industry worker, you might not be able to accept that. Pretty much in the same way none of us here are accepting that what you say, “actors just act.” That’s undermining a lot of actors, the field, their input, all of it. I get what you are saying, basically “why all the fuss,” and I agree to that, but this story has been taken out of all proportion, and blown up to be something it’s not: no one hates him, he’s not “alienating” his co-actors, he’s just different. I agree with Brian Cox, it’s not worth it, look what happened to DDL, but still, I see what Strong does in this role, and it’s remarkable…

  3. Monica says:

    Eh. Not everyone on a project has to be best buddies. They respect his work. That would be enough for me.

    • Lucy2 says:

      I agree- I think people always want to tv show casts to be close offscreen, and forget that it is a professional workplace, and not everyone is going to get along like bffs. As long as everyone is doing their job and not making it harder for each other, great.
      I think the profile and the reaction to it are both a bit overblown, and it’s just not that big a deal. Actor is intense. News at 11.

    • Onemoretime says:

      Work is a place to work, not make friends. I have made a few friends at my place of employment but I go there to work not to socialize. I have friends outside of work and that’s perfect for me. Some folks don’t have a lot going on outside of work & it shows.
      Maybe it’s me but I am a firm believer that you should be rewarded by your job performance not who you are friends with. Jeramy is doing great a Kendall and yes I am biased! My poor broken Kendal Roy.

    • nicobel says:

      Monica, this! Friendships are based on shared interests. I retired early two years ago after 25 years and while many of my coworkers were nice enough, they aren’t the people I surround myself with now that I’m not being paid to hang out with them. I never “lived to work” and always maintained a healthy social life outside of my job; those are the people I choose to spend time with now. TBH I think companies like the coworkers=friends narrative because it keeps employees in the office working unpaid overtime (and I worked in HR, team building exercise anyone?). As long as his coworkers are fine with his behavior and the end product is incredible (it is, huge Succession fan) who cares if everyone is best buds?

  4. Eve says:

    Just passing by to say I LOVE Brian Cox to bits and it’s a shame I don’t have HBO Max and, even worse, about 5 days ago my TV broke…with less than a year of use.

    Now I’m cancelling all my streaming services (eh…just two) and hope that whatever happened to its screen is “fixable” — although I doubt it is.

    • Driver8 says:

      He plays Daphne’s father on Frasier. One of my favorite performances by a guest star on that show, just so well done. My friends and I share streaming services, maybe you can reach out to someone?

      • Eve says:


        Ohhhh, I love Frasier! My favourite sitcom of all time — it’s on Amazon Prime here (Brazil) but you have to pay an extra to have access to one of the private channels (within Amazon Prime — I think it’s on Paramount+).

        But now it’s all gone, at least for some time. I’m “TV-less”. So, my problem isn’t streaming, it’s where am I going to watch them? I have yet to cancel Netflix because I still can watch it on my phone but eventually I’m going to (cancel it) because watching anything on a tiny screen sucks.

        P.S.: Back in the early 2000s I used to have cable tv and Frasier was aired on a channel called simply Sony. There are at least 4 seasons I missed, Cox must have been in one of these.

      • MelOn says:

        Daphne’s family is so messy! I love them especially Simon!

      • Eve says:


        Anthony LaPaglia! Then there were Richard E. Grant and Robbie Coltrane.

        All guest appearances in Frasier were perfect. The dynamic among the characters was on point. Flawless show, in my opinion.

        I was devastated when I read that John Mahoney had died.

        P.S.: That’s it — as soon as I have a new tv, I’m going to subscribe Amazon Prime and its (embendded) channel Paramount+.

      • RoyalAssassin says:

        I LOVE Anthony La Paglia; I’m Aussie, so perhaps I’m biased, but damn he’s funny and good…he was one of the first Aussies decades ago to move to LA and work in series, did it for decades, could never detect a single flaw in his American accent…he and his brother both adored in Oz.

  5. teecee says:

    I wonder how the people who attacked Chastain, Hathaway, and Sorkin for standing up for Strong are going to react to Cox co-signing the defense? They’ll probably choose to overlook it, or make some excuse why it’s okay for Cox but not for the low classy Americans.

    The worship of white Britishness is a disease.

    And Strong is not a method actor, even he says so. He just has a slightly different way of working than most of the people he’s currently working with, and the worst thing they say about it is that it can be annoying. Everyone is sometimes annoying. As long as he’s not violating HR policies, it’s fine. There’s no crime in being a weirdo.

    • Erica says:

      i think Jessica Chastain and Aaron Sorkin did a disservice and insisted on bringing the article back up. The article was released, everyone had a laugh about it, and then people moved on. Then suddenly everyone is defending Jeremy and causing everyone else to seek out the article more. A total Streisand effect. Brian was asked after Jessica and everyone brought it up AGAIN.

      • Woke says:

        I don’t think so it’s people reactions to the article that was overblown I saw comments in the vein of method acting is a way for actors to be asssholes when there was no evidence of him behaving like that. People were acting like he was making the set not safe. So when you see comments like that about your friend it’s understandable that they got defensive.

      • sally says:

        @Woke exactly. I don’t get why this got so much attention and caused so many weird opinion pieces, but I thought Chastain’s and Sorkin’s reaction were warranted, especially since the latter was “quoted” in the article.
        @teecee have you looked up Cox? He’s very far from the idealised British gentleman actor people like to worship.

      • Isabella says:

        The article implied that everybody founds Jeremy hard to work with. That just isn’t true, say a bunch of people who’ve worked with him. Plus, he isn’t a Method actor.

  6. Lightpurple says:

    That sounds like a pretty strong defense of a coworker.

  7. Winnie says:

    Every time Brian and Jeremy have a scene together Brian blows him out of the water without having to torture himself over it. Calm the hell down dude.

    • Erica says:

      This comment made me LOL I completely agree. I can’t stand actors like Jeremy.

      • minx says:

        This is the problem I had with Succession and why I gave up on it. The Logan character is smart and cunning and has it all over his children. I’m just not interested in any of the children.

      • RoyalAssassin says:

        The children are an embarrassment to Logan, and I completely understand why. They’re whiney, do-nothing, entitled little b!tches. Roman is hilarious, I love him; and I love Sarah Snook, she’s a joy to watch because she’s just NORMAL and I love it; and Jeremy is actually pulling this role off brilliantly. But as children, their characters are a pain in the arse and I would disown them as Logan has done in that finale…I’d diss them for good…they’re worthless. Give ’em each $10m and tell them to piss off and make a life for themselves. He can do that….he’s worth billions…they just hang on and suck like leeches…I mean, what has Shiv even DONE for the company?!! At least Kendall kicked back! And Roman just takes the piss outta everything. But yeah, they’re useless offspring, for sure!

    • Am says:

      Exactly. I’ve said this before but o can’t see how he’s miles above everyone else. They are all heavyweights.

      • Diana says:

        Larry Davis new season of Curb has him staging a tv show about when he was young and the actor who plays the part is a method actor and has to get into being Larry all the time. It’s very harmless but pokes a bit of fun into this situation if you have HBO it’s the latest episodes subplot. I don’t like Larry but he’s funny..

    • Isabella says:

      You are confusing the actor with his part. Logan is the patriarch. He has all the power. Of course he wins.

  8. Case says:

    I think often the sentiment from actors is “hey, whatever you need to do to arrive in the scene and deliver is fine.” They seem to respect his work, so whatever he’s doing is working for him.

    As long as method acting doesn’t mean the actor is being abusive or horribly rude IRL, I don’t see a problem with it. I find it to be a bit ridiculous but whatever, I’m not an actor so what do I know!

    • Robyn says:

      Right – the creative process is different for everyone. In an ensemble, this means different things to get to the level of making it work and elevate to something truly special. It might be annoying or “off-putting” but it sounds like he’s doing his job and doing it well without harming anyone? I don’t get the fuss.

  9. Sof says:

    “and the actors all seem to get along very well. Except maybe Jeremy Strong.”
    Where are people getting this notion from, I read the article, I saw the cast memebers’s instagrams… and it seems they like him! Even the young lady who plays his daughter posted pictures with him, if he wasn’t nice I don’t think she would.

    The only thing I got from this is that I had a wrong concept of method acting. Turns out it was “identity diffusion” all along.

  10. Merricat says:

    Most actors only care if the people they’re acting with are good, if they’re prepared, and if they’re on time–especially in a show like this.

  11. Paula says:

    I like watching Succession but the acting by Jeremy Strong drives me nuts because the dialogue is so choppy. It is like he is reading out of a book and very robotic. Brian Cox on the other hand is a wonderful actor and enjoy watching him verbally take people down

    • Notsoanonymous says:

      The way he speaks is definitely a big part of the character. For someone who clearly just wants acceptance and love, he’s incapable of it. He IS robotic at times. He’s also cold and calculating like his father and he’s finally realized it’s ruined his life. Kendall is the most try hard, want-to-be-the-cool-guy out of the siblings, which is saying something because Con is the ELDEST SON!

    • RoyalAssassin says:

      So right, @Notsoanonymous: that’s the role, the character of Kendall…Jeremy Strong is acting brilliantly, and people are attacking the personality of the character he is playing and saying “oh Jeremy is so wooden”…I can’t get my head around this. Where do people draw the line between what they’re watching and who the actor is who’s playing them?!!

  12. MellyMel says:

    Based on the cast’s social media and previous interviews, they seem to like him fine…they just worry about him. Whatever the case may be, they seem to respect him. You don’t have to be friends with your coworkers and his performance on Succession is amazing, so whatever he’s doing is working.

  13. Lohola says:

    Years ago I was applying for a super prestigious Shakespeare conservatory and in my application I likened nailing a piece of work on stage to getting high. The first time I felt that was playing Ophelia at 16 and I said that I’ve been chasing that dragon ever since. It got me an audition ( which I promptly blew over a boy, oh to be young and stupid) because I think actor kind of feel that too. I think using the “method” is kind of like shooting heroin in comparison to smoking pot regularly or going on a mushroom trip. Really in the end you are both getting high just one is more intense and hits you faster and one is more consistent and better for you health in the long run. That said “the method” is all one thing either, it has different components and teachers and schools of thought.

  14. The Hench says:

    I’m enjoying the irony of there being this much DRAMA over an actor’s method.

  15. Green Desert says:

    I love Succession and all the actors, including Jeremy Strong. If you watch the show and see him turn in Emmy-worthy performance after performance, you’ll get it. The scene in the dirt in the finale with Kendall, Shiv, and Roman? OMG. His method may not be for everyone but it sounds like he takes his job seriously and this is how he works best. It also sounds like he’s hardest on himself, not on anyone else. Sounds like cast and crew respect him – there aren’t stories out there about him mistreating people. I’ve thought the criticism of him was over the top.

    I also read that he deliberately keeps a distance between himself and the cast members to support the feelings of isolation Kendall feels from the rest of his family. All part of his method. If the Roy children band together in season 4 I bet he’ll be with the cast more. It may not be how everyone does things, but it works for him and he’s amazing. This whole cast is amazing, I’m so sad the seasons are as short as they are!

  16. Daisy says:

    Jeremy is actually really close to Nicholas Braun which I think is so funny considering how different they seem (but maybe that’s the reason). And regarding method acting, I don’t get it but as long as the actor is not horrible to his colleagues and the crew – and Jeremy seems to be fine in this sense – then I don’t see any problems.

  17. Kath says:

    Whenever I read ‘Brian Cox’ I think of the scientist first and get excited because I love him. But it’s never about him lol

  18. Lisse says:

    Nicholas Braun and Jeremy Strong are pretty close. But even if they weren’t, that’s fine too. I’m not friends with anyone at work. We’re professional and friendly from 8-5 and beyond that I don’t socialize any further than that. That’s a lot of us in regular jobs.

  19. Shari says:

    you can be as dedicated to the work as much as you want. But when you start to get on the nerves of the people you work with, the great work you are doing isn’t going to matter. This cast seems to support him. But I can read between the lines. He’s irritating. Everyone knows people like this. Maybe to a smaller degree. He is going to get a reputation. And if it sticks doesn’t matter how talented he is. Lots of actors have had this overshadow their talent.

    The reality is you are acting. Not curing cancer.

  20. Freddy says:

    Why is an actor’s process—which his colleagues and co-workers understand—being discussed by a bunch of non-actors? For everything Jeremy is doing on-set, he’s not being accused of sexual harassment or bullying, so maybe everyone zip it??

  21. MelOn says:

    Let people do what they do, as long as they aren’t making everyone around them miserable, let it go.

  22. Rea says:

    If someone says I don’t have a problem repeatedly then it’s a problem…