Aaron Sorkin replied to The New Yorkerrecent and viral profile of Succession star Jeremy Strong, writing in a letter that his contributions to the piece may have helped create a “distorted image” of the actor and his approach to his performances.
The long note was posted on behalf of the director by actress Jessica Chastain, who worked with Strong and Sorkin on Molly’s game, to his verified Twitter account on Friday. At various points, he addresses the responses Sorkin provided to the magazine for the profile and why he believes Strong’s approach to acting does not inherently endanger those who work with him.
“After reading the profile of Michael Schulman, Jeremy Strong, a profile that I participated in. I wanted to talk, ”says Sorkin’s letter. “I think I helped Mr. Schulman create what I think he is, it’s a distorted image of Jeremy that asks us to roll our eyes at his acting process.”
In the letter, the director shares the “five email questions” the profile writer asked him, as well as his full responses about the actor whose process he compares at one point to that of Dustin Hoffman. This includes Sorkin’s responses about Strong’s use of a kazoo during a Chicago 7 trial scene with actor Frank Langella, who played Judge Julius Hoffman, as well as Strong’s request while filming that same movie to be tear gassed.
“Jeremy is not crazy,” says Sorkins, defending the Succession star process. “He doesn’t make people call him by his character’s name on set. But he himself built an entrance ramp so that he could already start giving the performance when the director calls for action. “
Sorkin claims that “only one and a half” of his answers were reused for the profile – those answers about the request for tear gas and the use of the kazoo on set – which he admits that “it is perfectly normal” for the type of piece reported that New Yorker the profile was. Even so, the director clarifies that his comments on any of those topics were simply him “telling the story with affection and as a way to demonstrate [Strong’s] commitment.”
Aaron Sorkin has no social media, so he asked me to post this letter on his behalf xx pic.twitter.com/3Ol1KGoJKM
– Jessica Chastain (@jes_chastain) December 10, 2021
“Let me be clear, Jeremy would never suggest endangering a cast or crew member or anyone else,” he wrote. “Nor would Jeremy ever consider disrespecting an actor. And certainly not Frank Langella. Frank, a four-time Tony Award-winning actor who asked not to be in the makeup trailer at the same time as the actors playing the defendants, would tell you himself that he encouraged the defendants to tease him. “
In a tweet on Saturday morning, Succession Executive producer Adam McKay also responded to the profile, endorsing Sorkin’s letter. “I couldn’t agree more,” the Don’t look up director tweeted. “Jeremy is not only a charming guy, but a brilliant actor who was cast for Succession precisely because of his passion the New Yorker writer scoffs. “
In a statement, a New Yorker the spokesperson said THR, “This is a nuanced, multi-faceted portrait of an extremely dedicated actor. It has inspired a variety of reactions from people, including many who say they are even more impressed by Jeremy Strong’s art after reading the article. “
Strong’s request for tear gas, which became known before the profile was published, was an effort to replicate the experiences of Jerry Rubin, the real-life 1960s and ’70s social activist, peace leader and icon of the counterculture played by Strong, who was indicted by the United States federal government and acquitted of conspiracy and incitement charges related to the anti-Vietnam War protests in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Sorkin declined the actor’s request given that there were around 200 other artists on set along with 70 crew members.
Sorkin finally praises Strong’s approach to the craft, writing: “Actor Jeremy reminds me more of someone I’ve never worked with, Dustin Hoffman. It has so much game and the actors get better as they get older. So it’s exciting to think that Jeremy Strong has given one of the three best performances he’s ever had. “
“Jeremy Strong is a great actor and a great member of the company,” concludes Sorkin in his letter. “There is not a writer, director or producer on Earth who does not want to take the opportunity to cast him.”
Strong’s acting options have been publicly discussed before, with his Succession co-star Brian Cox, in an interview for Late night with Seth Meyers just a day before Sorkin’s letter was published, which addressed concerns that Strong’s style could lead to burnout.
“The thing about Jeremy’s approach is that it works in terms of what comes out the other side,” Cox said. “My problem, and it’s not a problem, I don’t have a problem with Jeremy because he’s charming. … He is an extraordinary father. He is quite a unique individual. But he becomes obsessed with work. And I’m worried about what he does to him, because if you can’t break up, because you’re dealing with all this stuff every day. You can’t live in it. Over time, you wear out. “
December 11, 12:40 pm Updated with statement of The New Yorker.