Brian Cox entertained attendees of the Edinburgh TV Festival on its third and final day on Friday with stories from throughout his career, while emphasizing that he couldn’t share much detail about Succession at a time when fans are eagerly anticipating season 4.
“The Gestapo-element of HBO are present,” Cox said, “because they don’t want me to talk about Succession.” He told people not to ask about the hit show, which last year was renewed for season 4, before divulging some behind-the-scenes insights and thoughts on his character in the hit series, media mogul and patriarch Logan Roy.
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The Emmy- and two-time Olivier Award-winning star said Succession creator Jesse Armstrong was “an absolute genius,” but the actors often get scripts only two days before shooting. “Getting a script is like getting gold,” he said, quipping: “I like to learn the lines.”
He has worked on more than 200 films and TV shows before turning heads around the world in Succession. Cox recalled suggesting early on that his character could be Scottish, but Armstrong disagreed initially before making the change and letting the character be from Dundee like the actor himself. “We thought it would be a little surprise,” the creator told him later when asked about his change of mind, Cox shared. “That is fucking writers for you.”
Asked about his character, Cox said he likes that “he is self-made unlike … Trump,” Rupert Murdoch, Conrad Black and other real people. “A deep disappointment in the human experiment,” Cox said about what he has in common with Logan Roy, but argued his character would “hate me” and think: “I wish that Brian Cox would just shut the fuck up.” He summarized their common worldview as “human beings are fucked,” but expressed optimism that things can improve for the better, which he argued Roy is lacking.
The actor also quipped that he “never used to swear as much” until he played Roy.
Addressing the character’s key weakness, Cox also said about Roy: “His curse is that he loves his children.”
Questioned about having played various baddies, Cox suggested he probably seems “vaguely threatening” to people.
Touching on his hope for Scottish independence, Cox said wants to see “my country being free” instead of “at the mercy” of a central British government.
Criticizing “corrupt” politics, he called the U.K. government of Boris Johnson “absolutely appalling.” used to ridicule independence.
Asked about Scotland’s expanding studio facilities, Cox said: “I don’t think the future has ever been brighter.” But he also noted: “They want to make Scottish films, and I’m not opposed to Scottish films,” but Scottish crews should work on all sorts of content, he argued. For a shoot in Glasgow, crews once built an apartment in San Francisco, he recalled.
“Scotland is very much open for business, … and we got the people to do it,” he concluded. “I just want to see Scotland get its just desserts.” He also recalled: “We lost Braveheart (mostly to Ireland) because we didn’t have the (financial) incentives.”
Cox on Friday also shared that he hopes to shoot his first movie as a director, previously announced Glenrothan, about a family-owned whisky distillery in Scotland, next year.
The star had already kicked off his appearance with laughs. “How did I get so ridiculously fat,” Cox joked after watching a reel of him in some of his iconic roles.
Among others, the Scot has worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre and played supporting roles in Rob Roy (1995) and Mel Gibson’s Braveheart (1995). He was also the first actor to portray Hannibal Lecter on film in Manhunter (1986).
At the festival on Friday, he was interviewed by Angus Robertson, cabinet secretary for the constitution, external affairs and culture in the Scottish government.
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