Jeremy Strong‘s devotion to Method acting has been a recurring topic as Succession became the prestige TV series of the moment, so it’s no surprise that the actor took that commitment all the way to the final episode of the show. In the closing moments of the series finale, a devastated Kendall is left staring at the water, but there’s a much heavier sense of foreboding than his prior stares into the sea.
“To me, what happens at the board vote is an extinction level event for this character,” Strong told Vanity Fair. “There’s no coming back from that.”
While the finale leaves Kendall’s fate open to the imagination, Strong revealed that he attempted to create an alternate ending that would have been much more definitive:
Listen to the John Berryman poem that Jesse has named these finales after. John Berryman himself died by suicide, jumping into the frozen river. I tried to go into the water after we cut—I got up from that bench and went as fast as I could over the barrier and onto the pilings, and the actor playing Colin raced over. I didn’t know I was gonna do that, and he didn’t know, but he raced over and stopped me. I don’t know whether in that moment I felt that Kendall just wanted to die—I think he did—or if he wanted to be saved by essentially a proxy of his father.
Despite his on-set improvisation not making the final cut, Strong “loves” how Succession creator Jesse Armstrong ultimately ended the series.
“It’s a much stronger ending philosophically, and has more integrity to what Jesse’s overall very bleak vision is of mankind — which is that fundamentally, people don’t really change,” Strong said. “They don’t do the spectacular, dramatic thing. Instead, there’s a kind of doom loop that we’re all stuck in, and Kendall is trapped in this sort of silent scream with Colin there as both a bodyguard and a jailer.”
Strong is also no longer sure that Kendall “would’ve had the courage to actually go in that water.”
“My God, it would’ve been hard to do,” Strong said. “But I think you even feel on a cellular level the intention or the longing to cross that threshold. The way [Armstrong] leaves us with a kind of ambivalence stays true to his vision.”
(Via Vanity Fair)