Succession Star Jeremy Strong Was Almost Cast As The Biggest Avenger

Jeremy Strong was almost cast as the pre-transformation body of Captain America.

By Gareth Skarka | Published

Jeremy Strong, star of HBO’s Succession, was nearly cast as Captain America’s pre-serum body in Captain America: The First Avenger, according to Deadline. In the 2011 film, star Chris Evans‘ head was digitally placed on a smaller, scrawny actor’s body, and Jeremy Strong was nearly that actor.

Captain America star Chris Evans, who grew up, along with Jeremy Strong, in Sudbury, Massachusetts, was unaware of the near-miss. Evans is a self-described fan of Strong’s, ever since seeing him portray a Hobbit as a kid, a performance that he described as “phenomenal.” His reaction to the news was dismay at what could have been. “Oh, no!” Evans said. “It just goes to show the industry is so unpredictable,” he says. “But I’m so happy things worked out, because I don’t think there was ever plan B for Jeremy.”

In a recent interview with the Times U.K., Jeremy Strong told the story. “They needed someone to play Captain America’s young body, before he turns into a superhero,” Strong said. “They said they needed a transformational actor and would use CGI to put the actual actor’s face and voice over my own.” The role would hardly have been a career-making gig, as only Strong’s body would have been seen. Still, Strong says, he was tempted.

Pre-transformation Steve Rogers

“I was broke,” Strong told the paper. “I needed money. I considered it.” In the end, the future HBO star turned the job down. “It was just never going to happen for me here. It didn’t feel like what I had to offer was valued.” He left Los Angeles for stage work in New York City, a path that eventually led to his starring role on Succession.

Succession has been running since 2018 and tells the story of the Roy family, owners of a major media company that resembles elements of Fox News with other elements like theme parks, cruise ships, and other assets that make up a massive empire. The show is mostly about the jockeying for power within the organization as the Roy children operate under their father Logan Roy, played masterfully by Brian Cox.

The rest of the main cast includes Jeremy Strong as Kendall Roy, the ex-drug addict turned outcast of the family who’s been vying for the throne for some time. There’s also Sarah Snook as Siobhan Roy, the only daughter, and Kieran Culkin as the youngest son, Roman Roy.

The show has been a success for HBO both with the viewing audience and the critical crowd as well. The first three seasons have scored 89%, 97%, and 97% respectively on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes and Succession has increased its viewership on HBO and HBO Max over the first three seasons as well. 

For Jeremy Strong, all this success seemed remote in the days when he was considered for Captain America’s weakling body double. “I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t difficult to see people I was close to getting work,” he says. “I felt that I had a lot to offer but was entirely cut off from those chances. It has been a 25-year grind of working hard and meeting with very little result.” But those days are behind him now. “I’ve spent my life preparing for this moment,” he says, smiling.