This article contains spoilers for ‘With Open Eyes’, the final episode of HBO series Succession.
Jeremy Strong has revealed that he attempted to jump into the river during his final scene in Succession, but was stopped by another cast member.
The popular drama series came to its bitter conclusion last week (May 28), with the last episode of the fourth and final season drawing to a close with the Roy children finally losing control of their family’s media empire, and Tom Wambsgans named new CEO following the company’s acquisition by GoJo.
In the last moments of the episode, the final scene shows Jeremy Strong’s character, Kendall Roy, alone in New York’s Battery Park contemplating the events that have just unfolded — and seemingly stripped of his life’s purpose.
According to a new interview with Vanity Fair, however, the actor admitted that he tried to choose an alternate ending for his character, and attempted to jump into the Hudson River when filming.
“To me, what happens at the board vote is an extinction level event for this character. There’s no coming back from that,” he explained, adding that he was stopped from climbing the railing by Scott Nicholson, who played Colin.
“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,” he said. “I 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 later agreed that, ultimately, the choice to cut to black after showing him sitting on the park bench was “a much stronger ending philosophically”.
“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,” he said. “The way [Armstrong] leaves us with a kind of ambivalence stays true to his vision.”
Speaking to Variety, executive producer and director Mark Mylod also confirmed that there were issues of safety preventing the cast from considering Strong’s alternate ending.
“The first thing to do was actually make sure he was safe,” he explained. “Once we got him back over the railing, we were able to safely continue with the moment because both actors were still in it.”
In other Succession news, earlier this month it was revealed that actor Fisher Stevens — who plays Hugo Baker in the series — had written a spin-off focusing on his character.
“I do that whenever I get a part. I write a bio,” he said to The Hollywood Reporter. “And yeah, Hugo’s got a plan… I can’t tell you the plan, because I don’t want to give it away. But I think he’s going to succeed.”