- Jeremy Strong injured his leg while filming Kendall Roy’s 40th birthday party on “Succession.”
- He told The New Yorker that he leaped off a five-foot-high stage at The Shed while in Gucci shoes.
- Strong hurt his leg, specifically his femur and tibia, and had to wear a brace afterward.
The bulk of “Too Much Birthday,” the seventh episode of the HBO series’ third season, plays out at the exorbitant birthday bash that Kendall, the middle Roy child ostracized from the rest of the family, throws for himself.
Filmed at The Shed in Manhattan’s Hudson Yards, the party is completely over the top, even for Kendall. Guests enter through a pink tunnel modeled after his mother’s birth canal and are promised a visit from the Tiny Wu-Tang (and, in predictable “No. 1 boy” fashion, a live vocal performance of Billy Joel’s “Honesty”).
Even though Kendall pulls out of a stunt to fly through the air before landing on a massive wooden cross, Strong was still left wearing a leg brace after filming the episode.
While rehearsing the scene in which Kendall plans out his rendition of Joel’s 1978 ballad, Strong told The New Yorker he experienced a pang of “exultant anticipation” that led him to leap off the five-foot-high stage wearing Gucci shoes.
“I jumped off a stage, thinking I could fly, but it turns out I can’t,” said the actor, who employs a process he calls “identity diffusion,” similar to method acting, to become Kendall.
The Emmy winner added that the leap “made sense in the moment,” however his footwear proved unconducive to a high-impact landing. Strong injured his femur and tibia, and the jump didn’t make it into the show’s final cut, he told The New Yorker.
It also wasn’t the first time Strong said he hurt himself on set. He previously fractured his left foot as a result of running in Tom Ford dress shoes on a season one episode in which Kendall was late for a board meeting, he told the publication.
Lorene Scafaria, the director of “Too Much Birthday,” praised Strong’s devotion to his craft after working closely with him on the episode.
In an interview with New York Magazine’s Vulture, she said he’s “one of those very special actors who’s so in touch with himself and so honest and truthful that he can make a likable character out of this very complicated, half unlovable person who has a moral center but is completely out of touch with the real world.”
Because The Shed features eight levels at its base, Scafaria knew that she had a lot of space, in addition to a lot of characters, to work with on episode seven. She collaborated with production designer Stephen Carter to pull together some of Kendall’s more absurd requests.
“We knew Kendall would absolutely demand that every detail of the party express his view of himself, even when it came to the music playing. When we were setting it all up, we got to ask questions like, ‘What’s Kendall’s taste like? What vibe is he trying to get from the crowd here? What seeds has he planted? What tiny little traps has he tried to set that maybe no one will see?'” she recalled.
And in Scafaria’s mind, Kendall was too occupied with taking the temperature of others’ opinions of him to enjoy the celebration.
“I liked to think that maybe Kendall didn’t even get to do a final run-through himself because he was too busy,” she said, adding, “Jeremy Strong and I were born the same year, so there was something lovely about us throwing this party together.”