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 about Succession.
“The Gestapo-element of HBO are present,” Cox said, “because they don’t want me to talk about Succession.” He suggested people don’t ask about the hit show, which last year was renewed for season, before divulging some behind-the-scenes insights and thoughts on his character, media mogul and patriarch Logan Roy on the hit series.
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,” 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.” Humans “are fucked,” he argued, but expressed optimism that things can improve for the better.
Questioned about having played various baddies, Cox suggested he probably seems somewhat threatening to people.
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.”
“We lost Braveheart (mostly to Ireland) because we didn’t have the (financial) incentives” and the army, Cox also recalled.
“How did I get so ridiculously fat,” Cox joked after watching a reel of some of his roles.
Cox in May shared his views on “cancel culture,” calling it a “kind of modern-day McCarthyism.”
Appeared on Britain’s TalkTV show Piers Morgan Uncensored, he said: “I find the whole thing completely hypocritical. I am not religious but there is a thing in the bible where it says, ‘Let he or she without sin cast the first stone’ and there seems to be a lot of casting of stones. And it is like a virus.” He added: “It is total fascism. … The hypocritical notion of ‘I am being liberal’ but actually you are being fascist and people should just stop it and behave themselves.”
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.