No disrespect to Jon Lovitz’s Master Thespian character from SNL – I know he takes his craft very seriously. But can he say that he was so committed to a role that he learned how to literately fix a refrigerator for a role? I think not. Only the deeply-committed capital-A actor Jeremy Strong would go to such lengths. And he did, according to Jeremy’s co-star and cheerleader Anne Hathaway, who recently revealed that he went all the way to prepare for a role as a plumber from Queens in the film Armageddon Time.
Most everything I know about being a plumber I learned from playing Super Mario Bros. on my Nintendo. And so if I was Jeremy Strong’s agent, I might congratulate him on landing the role of Irving Graff, the plumber from Queens, in James Gray’s period film Armageddon Time, and then suggest he throw Super Mario Bros. 3 into an NES to do some research. But Jeremy went one further and put his method acting to the test, by cosplaying as a plumber for a while. And eventually, Jeremy dove so deep into his research, that he ended up legitimately learning a trade. via Uproxx:
In a chat for Variety between him and his co-star Anne Hathaway, they discussed preparing for roles. Hathaway herself pointed out what Strong did before they embodying his character.
“[Your] character was a plumber. And you went to learn how to fix a refrigerator,” she said. “It was a humbling moment for me as an actor to realize that you have more children than I do, and you were coming off of this huge lift. Plumber is a trade. It’s something that you can go and learn.”
Anne ended her comment with a question about how far he went to study for Kendall Roy on Succession, so that’s what he talked about. But he did say that he approaches almost every character in the same way, which is to essentially become the rich dumb son of an entertainment company billionaire or a plumber.
“I think each time, you’re starting from nothing. Right? It tells you how to work on it and you follow the line of your intuition,” Strong told Hathaway. “Of course, I read everything possible to read on the media-industrial complex. So there’s a lot of well water to draw from, but nothing for character. Very little for character.”
Of course, Jeremy would take his role research all the way to Refrigerator Repair 101 at the local adult learning annex. He hasn’t developed a reputation as the most weirdly serious actor in Hollywood for nothing. I just wish Jeremy’s quest for acting supremacy would lead him to method acting as something that benefits us all. I’m crossing my fingers that Jeremy gets cast in a movie as a scientist who successfully reverses the climate change disaster, or a politician who can effectively get rid of student debt once and for all. At this point, I’d settle for Jeremy playing a Taco Bell executive who pushes to keep the Mexican Pizza on the menu for good.