After last week’s season finale of Succession aired, Jeremy Strong, who plays Kendall Roy, revealed that he improvised a take while filming his final scene in the show that didn’t make it to air. In the scene, as it aired, Kendall wanders through downtown Manhattan after being stripped of his company, pausing to stare out at the water ahead, while his bodyguard Colin (Scott Nicholson) trails him from a distance.
The vague ending left the audience wondering what Kendall’s next move might be, but Strong revealed that for one of his takes, he actually climbed the guardrail and “tried to [go in the water].”
“I stood up and walked slowly to the barrier that was set up there and climbed over it,” Strong told Succession podcast host Kara Swisher. “And I didn’t really know what I planned to do. And the actor playing Colin saw me and ran and stopped me from doing it.”
Succession showrunner Jesse Armstrong was there that day and corroborated Strong’s story, saying that the unscripted moment left him feeling scared.
“I was terrified,” Armstrong told NPR’s Fresh Air host Terry Gross. “I was terrified that he might fall in and be injured. He didn’t look like he was going to jump in. But once he climbed over that barrier — when you film, there are generally a lot of health and safety assessments made, and that was not our plan that day”
“If we’d even been thinking of that happening, we would have had boats and frogmen and all kinds of safety measures, which we didn’t have,” Armstrong continued. “So my first thought was for his physical safety as a human being, not anything about the character. That’s what I felt on the day. Good Lord, above.”
Armstrong added that, in his mind, Kendall would not have killed himself: “Even if he is contemplating it, I don’t think it could ever happen to him. And yeah, for me, that’s not the way the story goes for this kind of person.”
If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 988.