Jeremy Strong doesn't find 'Succession' funny.

Jeremy Strong plays Kendall Roy in Succession

Jeremy Strong plays Kendall Roy in Succession

The 42-year-old actor was stunned to learn his co-star Kieran Culkin, like many viewers, regards the show as a dark comedy because he takes it very seriously.

Asked about it being a comedy, he said: “In the sense that, like, Chekhov is comedy?”

And Kieran - who plays his on-screen brother Roman Roy - said: “After the first season, he said something to me like, ‘I’m worried that people might think that the show is a comedy.’ And I said, ‘I think the show is a comedy.’ He thought I was kidding.”

But showrunner Jesse Armstrong insisted Jeremy's intensity was what won him the role of Roman Roy.

He said: “That’s exactly why we cast Jeremy in that role. Because he’s not playing it like a comedy. He’s playing it like he’s Hamlet.”

Jeremy doesn't consider himself to be a method actor but practices what he calls "identity difusion".

He told The New Yorker magazine: "I think you have to go through whatever the ordeal is that the character has to go through.

“If I have any method at all, it is simply this: to clear away anything—anything—that is not the character and the circumstances of the scene.

"And usually that means clearing away almost everything around and inside you, so that you can be a more complete vessel for the work at hand...

"I can’t work in a way that feels like I’m making a television show. I need, for whatever reason, to believe that it’s real and commit myself to that sense of belief...

"To me, the stakes are life and death. I take [Kendall] as seriously as I take my own life.”

Jeremy often refuses to rehearse, much to the frustration of his co-stars.

He admitted: ““I want every scene to feel like I’m encountering a bear in the woods... I don’t know how popular the way I work is amongst our troupe.”

And Kieran said: “It’s hard for me to actually describe his process, because I don’t really see it. He puts himself in a bubble...

“That might be something that helps him. I can tell you that it doesn’t help me.

"The way Jeremy put it to me is that, like, you get in the ring, you do the scene, and at the end each actor goes to their corner. I’m, like, This isn’t a battle. This is a dance."

Brian Cox, who plays patriarch Logan Roy, worries his co-star pushes himself too far.

He said: “The result that Jeremy gets is always pretty tremendous. I just worry about what he does to himself. I worry about the crises he puts himself through in order to prepare...

“Actors are funny creatures. I’ve worked with intense actors before. It’s a particularly American disease, I think, this inability to separate yourself off while you’re doing the job.

"It’s the cost to himself that worries me. I just feel that he just has to be kinder to himself, and therefore has to be a bit kinder to everybody else.”

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