SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 15: Jeremy Strong attends the Virtuosos Award ceremony during the 2023 Santa Barbara International Film Festival at The Arlington Theatre on February 15, 2023 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Elyse Jankowski/WireImage)
Movies - TV
Kendall Roy Wasn’t The Succession Role Jeremy Strong Was Shooting For
Jeremy Strong gives a devastatingly real performance as Kendall Roy on HBO's “Succession,” but he was actually vying for a different role. Strong developed a reputation for being a real-life Kendall Roy, and he takes the part so seriously, it's hard to imagine him playing anyone else; however, Strong originally wanted to play Kendall's devil-may-care brother Roman.
Executive producer Adam McKay gave Strong the “Succession” script over lunch and asked him to pick a role he connected with. Strong was attracted to Roman, as he shared, “I thought, 'Oh, wow, Roman is such a cool part.’ He's, like, this bon-vivant prick. I could do something that I hadn't done before.” Unfortunately for Strong, the part had already gone to Kieran Culkin.
Ultimately, Culkin is a better fit for Roman. Strong is darkly serious even in his most comedic moments, but Culkin manages to mask his character's pain with a naughty glint in his eye. However, that letdown fueled Strong’s performance as Roy, as he added, “the feeling of being thwarted — it only sharpened my need and hunger. I went in [to the audition] with a vengeance.”