SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers from “With Open Eyes,” the series finale of HBO’s “Succession,” now streaming on Max.
Kendall Roy finds himself alone in Battery Park during the last shot of HBO’s “Succession.” He’s officially lost control of his family’s media empire, as Tom Wambsgans has been named the new Waystar CEO following the company’s purchase to GoJo. Kendall has been stripped of his life’s purpose. The show cuts to black with Kendall starring blankly at the river ahead, but that’s not where actor Jeremy Strong was ready to leave Kendall during filming.
In a recent interview with Vanity Fair following the “Succession” series finale, Strong revealed he attempted to jump into the river as Kendall during one take of filming the show’s final moment.
“To me, what happens at the board vote is an extinction level event for this character,” Strong said. “There’s no coming back from that…Listen to the John Berryman poem that Jesse [Armstrong] has named these finales after. John Berryman himself died by suicide, jumping into the frozen river. 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.”
“I didn’t know I was gonna do that, and he didn’t know, but he raced over and stopped me,” Strong continued. “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 called it “a much stronger ending philosophically” to cut to black as Kendall is stirring in his emotions about losing the CEO position.
“There’s a kind of doom loop that we’re all stuck in, and Kendall is trapped in this sort of silent scream with Colin there as both a bodyguard and a jailer,” Strong said, adding that he isn’t sure Kendall “would’ve had the courage to actually go in that water.”
“My God, it would’ve been hard to do,” Strong added. “But I think you even feel on a cellular level the intention or the longing to cross that threshold. The way [Armstrong] leaves us with a kind of ambivalence stays true to his vision.”
In an interview with , “Succession” executive producer and director Mark Mylod said “there was a safety element” related to Strong wanting to jump into the freezing waters of the Hudson River.
“The first thing to do was actually make sure he was safe,” Mylod said. “Once we got him back over the railing, we were able to safely continue with the moment because both actors were still in it.”
“Succession” is now streaming in its entirety on Max.
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