Jeremy Strong Doesn’t Like When a Director Yells ‘Action!’

If you ever find yourself directing “Succession” Emmy winner Jeremy Strong, then you might want to forgo yelling “action!” before each take. Strong told his “Serenity” and “Armageddon Time” co-star Anne Hathaway during their “Actors on Actors” conversation for Variety, presented by Apple TV+, that he prefers to take a nonverbal cue from a director when it’s time to start a take. Strong outright dislikes it when “action” is called on set.

“In a sense, every time somebody calls action — and I don’t like it when they call action; I like it when you just take your cue — but then you blindly follow a sense of truth and really rigorously do that,” Strong said about his process. “Then you discover what it is, and it reveals itself to you. But I don’t ever know where I’m going. If you prepare enough and have internalized enough, then you just know.”

While Strong’s career has surged in recent years thanks to his Emmy-winning run in “Succession,” it came after many years of roles going unnoticed by the public.

“It’s the central question. What keeps us going, despite any lack of evidence that we’ll have the chances to do the work that we want to do? I don’t know the answer,” Strong said about why he never gave up acting. “I think it was just the need to do this and the feeling that it’s something worth devoting one’s life to.”

“I don’t know if it was apocryphal — if you really were the ninth choice for ‘The Devil Wears Prada.’ But that ninth-choice feeling, whether or not it is the case, I find that it’s a great engine,” Strong continued, addressing Hathaway directly. “I remember you saying something once about Vivien Leigh and how she would crawl across broken glass if she thought it would serve the scene. This character [Logan Roy], this show [‘Succession’] is such a gift. It’s the mountain I’ve always wanted to climb.”

Strong is back in the Emmy race thanks to the third season of “Succession.” HBO has renewed the drama for a fourth season, which is currently being written. Watch Strong and Hathaway’s full “Actors on Actors” conversation in the video above.

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