‘Succession’ star continues rampage against method acting, taking Daniel Day-Lewis as his latest victim
The two leading men of HBO’s smash-hit dark comedy Succession, Jeremy Strong and Brian Cox, have been keeping fans plenty entertained to make the time between seasons three and four fly by. It seems like every time Cox speaks to the press recently, the topic has been method acting, and his latest target, after moving on from co-star Strong, is the acclaimed actor and method master Daniel Day-Lewis.
Cox has been vocal in the past about his dislike for what he calls a very “American” way of approaching acting. Officially known as The Method, this technique was developed by Lee Strasberg, founder of the renowned Actors Studio, and teacher of such thespian notables as Paul Newman, Marilyn Monroe, Anne Bancroft, Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, and Robert De Niro. Stereotypically, it entails living as your character outside of your time on camera and even outside your time on set, which can be a nuisance to those around you.
Cox believes Day-Lewis, who is actually British, is responsible for Strong’s intense method acting. Strong idolizes Day-Lewis, and has taken his time as his assistant on the set of The Ballad of Jack and Rose — a film for which the Oscar-winning actor starved himself in order to look the part of a hippie suffering from heart disease — as inspiration throughout his career.
“Jeremy was Dan Day-Lewis’ assistant. So he’s learned all that stuff from Dan,” the Succession patriarch told Variety, adding that the reason Day-Lewis retired from the job so young was because that approach is unsustainable. “You’ve retired just at the point when actually the roles get better!’,” Cox remarked.
Cox has expressed concern for how seriously Strong, his on-screen son, takes his character, to the point of not being able to separate who he is personally from Kendall Roy. While he recognizes that his cast mate is indeed a brilliant actor, he’s called the whole shtick “f-cking annoying,” and “exhausting,” warning Strong against the toll it’ll take in the long run.
“I worry about what it does to him, because if you can’t separate yourself — because you’re dealing with all of this material every day. You can’t live in it. Eventually, you get worn out,” Cox told Seth Meyers.
Strong has responded to all this, saying Cox has “earned the right to say whatever the f-ck he wants,” but denying that Kendall’s pain is his pain too.
Although most of his comments have been directed at Strong due to their proximity working together on Succession for the past six years, it’s not personal for Cox, who clearly hates method acting regardless of who it’s coming from, even if it’s Daniel Day-Lewis. “It’s really a cultural clash. I don’t put up with all that American sh-t. I’m sorry. All that sort of ‘I think, therefore I feel.’ Just do the job. Don’t identify,” he told Variety.
The fourth and final season of Succession premieres Friday, March 24.