'Succession' Creator Was "Terrified" for Jeremy Strong While Shooting the Show's Final Scene
Wish you would step back from that ledge my friend
Published Jun 06, 2023There is truly no one as committed to the bit as Jeremy Strong in his role as Kendall Roy. So much so that he reportedly risked his life for an alternate Succession ending shot.
Spoilers ahead: After the Roy siblings lose control of Waystar Royco, the final shot of the series shows Kendall sitting on a bench near the East River. In one of the alternate takes, Strong attempts to climb the railing into the river, but was stopped by Scott Nicholson, who plays Logan's former bodyguard Colin.
Since it was unplanned, Succession creator Jesse Armstrong was "terrified" that Strong could get seriously hurt. "I was terrified. I was terrified that he might fall in and be injured," he said [via Variety]. "He didn't look like he was going to jump in. But once he climbed over that barrier, when you film, there are generally a lot of health and safety assessments made, and that was not our plan that day."
He added: "If we'd even been thinking of that happening, we would have had boats and frogmen and all kinds of safety measures, which we didn't have. So my first thought was for his physical safety as a human being, not anything about the character. That's what I felt on the day. Good Lord, above."
Strong spoke of his brash beeline for the river with Vanity Fair in an article published shortly after the show's finale:
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 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.
Strong pushed the method acting envelope multiple times while filming Succession — though asking to use the bathroom and drinking gross smoothies are far less dangerous than jumping into a river.