Amidst the dad trend, “Succession” star Jeremy Strong is doing just fine as a kid.
During an interview with The New York TimesStrong has addressed his character Kendall Roy’s memes, some of which have labeled him a “babygirl Kendall,” while elsewhere on HBO, “The Last of Us” star Pedro Pascal is billed as a reverse dad.
“It’s crazy, the way people project all kinds of things onto the character,” Strong said, adding that Kendall “is a bit of a litmus test” for viewers.
“I managed to avoid all of this because I’m not really online and I’m not on social media. Now I see people walking around with bags and T-shirts,” Strong explained. “Some people use the word ‘cringe’, while others find it incredibly sympathetic. Do I think any of that is misunderstood? I don’t know.”
He added, “There’s something about this character, this kind of boy-man – there’s a lot of masculine vulnerability, which is something that always struck me growing up when I saw that in storytelling. At this moment in our culture, people respond either derisively or empathetically. It’s not my job to tell anyone how to react, but there’s something about vulnerability that’s polarizing.”
Strong, who is famously a Method actor, previously shared an alternate ending for Kendall in the series finale “Succession” in which the actor almost jumped into the Hudson River. The latest shot of the Emmy-winning HBO series focuses on Kendall looking across the river after being voted out in the board meeting and losing her CEO job. Strong called it “extinction-level” devastation for the character.
“There’s no going back from that,” she said, noting that during one take, she attempted to jump into the river as suicide for Kendall. “My God, that would have been hard to do,” she said. “But I think you also feel the intention or desire to cross that threshold on a cellular level. The way he (series creator Jesse Armstrong) leaves us with a kind of ambivalence stays true to his vision.
He added, “It’s a much stronger ending philosophically, and has more integrity to what is Jesse’s very bleak overall view of humanity – which is basically that people don’t really change. They don’t do the spectacular, dramatic thing. Instead, there’s a sort of cycle of fate that we’re all stuck in, and Kendall’s caught in this sort of silent scream with Colin there as both her bodyguard and jailer.