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Jeremy Strong did an interview with Vanity Fair discussing the series finale of HBO’s Succession, and the fate that awaited his character Kendall Roy. He also dropped a bombshell of an alternative ending to the series.

In regard to the final scene of the series, in which an emotional distraught and spiritually crushed Kendall Roy wanders through Battery Park in New York City, looking out over the water as the music chimes in heavy, Strong offered Vanity Fair a remarkable exclusive in terms of his thoughts as an actor at the moment the scene was being shot:

That day, we were shooting down in Battery Park, and it was the coldest day in like, a century in New York. One of those days in February that they’d closed schools. I’d never been so cold in my whole life.…I found myself thinking about the ninth circle of hell, which in Dante’s Inferno is a frozen lake. The worst part of hell is ice cold, and so that scene became about that. It was so cold. It was almost burning.

As scripted, it was meant to end with an aerial shot where we see Kendall walking, and we see Colin following him. I begged [Armstrong and director Mark Mylod], “Can we go to the water? I want to keep walking.” We ended up at the bitter end of Battery Park, facing the water. I’d never seen waves like that in the East River. It felt biblical. And there was this terrible clanging on some scaffolding nearby. We didn’t know what we were looking for, but something profound happened. We only had about eight minutes to shoot that piece at the end because the sun was going down. The water was calling to me. It felt right to all of us.

Listen to the John Berryman poem that Jesse 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. 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.

Which ending do you prefer? We’re always here to discuss! That’s our Hustle!



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