It’s been nearly a full calendar year since The New Yorker published an in-depth profile of Succession actor Jeremy Strong that described his intense process—he sometimes actually imbibes before filming scenes when his character is drunk!—and people still just can’t stop talking about Method acting. Now that’s the power of journalism!
Meanwhile, Brian Cox, who plays the Roy family patriarch on the HBO favorite, is currently promoting his new film Prisoner’s Daughter at the Toronto International Film Festival. A man of choice words even when Jesse Armstrong isn’t writing them for him, the Scottish-born actor’s thoughts on process certainly differ from his onscreen son’s.
“I don’t hold a lot of the American shit, having to have a religious experience every time you play a part,” he says, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s crap.”
In fairness, Strong does not consider himself to be a Method actor and instead refers to what he does as “identity diffusion,” but things like staying in costume off-camera and learning how to fix a refrigerator before playing a plumber obviously have certain connotations. He was also once famous Method-acting adherent Daniel Day-Lewis’ assistant.
“I don’t hang onto the characters I play,” Cox adds. “I let them go through me. The thing is to be ready to accept, as an actor. You stand there, you’re ready to accept whatever is thrown at you.”
While there’s no doubt that Strong’s efforts pay off, it’s probably a lot easier to go to work with Cox’s more fluid approach. Dude be the OG, after all.
“We’re British. We come from a ‘great tradition,’” Cox jokes. “You just let it come through you. And you don’t get in the fucking way.”
Of course, the two actors’ techniques almost certainly inform their onscreen dynamic, which frequently finds them at odds. It’s a central part of what has made Succession so compelling.
“The result that Jeremy gets is always pretty tremendous,” Cox told The New Yorker last year. “I just worry about what he does to himself. I worry about the crises he puts himself through in order to prepare.”