The third-season finale of Succession (watch now on Crave) may have gone done on Sunday night, and while the internet is still reeling over the major moves the Roy family made, the bigger conversation over the weekend revolved around what was going down offscreen. Namely, the viral, divisive and delicious New Yorker profile of star Jeremy Strong and his famous friends’ reaction to it.
Following the December 5 publication of Michael Schulman’s “On Succession, Jeremy Strong Doesn’t Get the Joke,” it seems like everyone who read it (or went looking for it after they heard about it) had a takeaway. Many fans were baffled by his apparent extreme method acting tactics, while others were left asking, “What the Shrek just happened?” or thought it was a brilliant look into an equally brilliant and committed actor.
Over the past few days the story was shared and talked about so much (at this point it has its own Reddit thread) that some of Strong’s real-life buds came to his defence. Yes, other famous people felt the need to defend their famous friend from a profile that painted him as laser-focused, revered, highly committed, idiosyncratic and talented and in which he willingly participated and even offered up names of people in his life for Schulman to further connect with. Feathers. Were. Ruffled.
Jessica Chastain, who starred with Strong in Molly’s Game and Zero Dark Thirty, was particularly unimpressed with the piece and felt it inaccurately portrayed Strong in an attempt to get clicks.
“Ive known Jeremy Strong for 20yrs & worked with him on 2 films. Hes a lovely person. Very inspiring & passionate about his work,” she wrote on Twitter. “The profile that came out on him was incredibly one sided. Don’t believe everything you read folks. Snark sells but maybe its time we move beyond it.”
To further drive home her point, she engaged with some of the reactions to her tweet, and even had a full-on conversation about it with Variety’s editor-at-large, Kate Arthur.
The following day, Chastain returned to Twitter, this time to share a lengthy response from Aaron Sorkin. (Because would you expect anything less from the famously long-winded scribe?) Sorkin doesn’t have social media, so he asked Chastain to post on his behalf. In the letter, Sorkin shares the full context behind his quotes for the New Yorker piece, and includes the entire original email exchange between himself and the author.
“After reading Michael Schulman’s profile of Jeremy Strong—a profile in which I participated—I wanted to speak up,” he wrote. “I think I helped Mr. Schulman create what I believe is a distorted picture of Jeremy that asks us to roll our eyes at his acting process,” he continued.
“I’ve worked with Jeremy twice—Molly’s Game and The Trial of the Chicago 7. Mr. Schulman asked me five questions via email. Those questions, along with my answers, are below.”
Anne Hathaway also added her two cents to the conversation over the weekend, posting a black-and-white photo of Strong on Instagram and sharing a tribute to her friend. “As the week ends, I would like to send some love to Jeremy Strong who I’m lucky enough to have worked with twice and who I am proud to consider a friend,” she wrote.
“I deeply value his qualities of thoughtfulness, sincerity, authenticity, sweetness, depth, kindness, generosity, as well as his powerful intelligence and extraordinary sensitivity. He is an incredibly talented and inventive artist who is fully engaged and committed on set, as well as a passionate, open person in life. I find all of these things inspiring. (oh, and he’s fun.)” she added.
Succession executive producer Adam McKay also stepped in for his star over the weekend, sharing reactions to Sorkin’s letter and adding, “I couldn’t agree more. Jeremy is not only a lovely guy but a brilliant actor who was cast in Succession precisely because of his passion the New Yorker writer mocks,” he wrote.
The reactions even prompted The New Yorker to release a statement to Deadline about the whole thing
“This is a nuanced, multi-sided portrait of an extremely dedicated actor. It has inspired a range of reactions from people, including many who say that they are even more impressed by Jeremy Strong’s artistry after having read the article,” the publication shared.
However people feel about Strong’s methods and how fairly he was portrayed in the article, fans were certainly treated to some top-tier examples of Strong's talents during the season finale of Succession. People were throwing flowers at the actors by the end of the episode, with many calling for his Emmy win right now.
So, lest his celeb pals worry, it seems Jeremy Strong is going to be just fine.
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