Scottish actor Brian Cox, 75, was on the cover of a digital British GQ spinoff called GQ Hype in October 2021. This rules, because in the cast of Succession, Cox is surrounded by hypebeasts. Nicholas Braun is certainly a hypebeast. Jeremy Strong portrays one as Kendall. But no one goes full fucking beast to the press like Cox, who can be disarmingly candid. In the Hype interview, Cox says straight-up that there will be only one or two more seasons of Succession after this one, “then I think we’re done.” This isn’t the first time Succession’s five-season ceiling has been invoked, but it was a confirmation, and he said it so casually and assuredly. Plus it reminded us of our favorite Succession C-plot: Brian Cox just sort of running his mouth to the press. Season three came and went, and Cox is still running his mouth. So we’ll keep updating this post. Below, some highs and lows for Brian Cox’s PR team.
September 23, 2020: This guy just has to weigh in on J. K. Rowling
For context: Cox has two (in his own words) “giant teenage sons” named Orson and Torin. They sound absolutely terrifying. According to an interview with Cox in U.K. Reader’s Digest, he asked one of his sons about what was going on with J. K. Rowling:
“He said, ‘Well, she believes women menstruate.’ That’s what they do, don’t they?” He belly laughs. “He said, ‘Well, people don’t like that.’ And you go, ‘Oh, for Christ’s sake!’ Call something what it is as opposed to something that you think it should be. And it is — it’s the cancel culture. I keep well away from it.
So hulking Orson or massive Torin misrepresented why people were really upset with Rowling (hint: It rhymes with Smurf), Cox didn’t look any further into it, and U.K. Reader’s Digest thought this section of the interview would be worth publishing. Based on this anecdote, part of me wants to give Cox the benefit of the doubt and believe he didn’t even realize any of it had to do with transphobia, trans men, and TERF-dom. Maybe he thought this was something else entirely. Maybe not!
September 2, 2021: Cox spills the wrong premiere date on Cameo
In a Cameo message that has since been taken down, Cox said Succession’s third season would premiere October 12. That was not the correct date, but it led many fans to speculate — correctly — that October 12 would be the cast premiere and that, therefore, the new season would premiere on HBO October 17.
September 28, 2021: Cox spoils a surprising plot point
In a profile, Cox told the New York Times, “In this season — I don’t know if I’m supposed to say this — but at one point he has a UTI.” Spoilers, Brian! We never would have guessed Logan would share a plotline with Rebecca Bunch.
October 20, 2021: Cox calls American audiences mindless
Circling back to GQ Hype, Cox began the interview by recounting the U.K. premiere of Succession’s third season: “And a British audience, too … They’re not like American audiences, which have a sort of mindlessness to them. They’re much more discerning. But they were whooping and hollering. It was unlike anything I’ve seen before.” Oh, Brian.
October 26, 2021: Cox trash-talks other actors in his autobiography
At the height of Succession mania, Cox released his memoir, Putting the Rabbit in the Hat, in which he absolutely roasts some of his fellow actors and filmmakers. The Big Issue rounded up some of his most savage burns, and … you didn’t have to body them like that, Brian.
On Michael Caine: “I wouldn’t describe Michael as my favourite, but he’s Michael Caine. An institution. And being an institution will always beat having range.”
On Johnny Depp: “Personable though I’m sure he is, is so overblown, so overrated. I mean, Edward Scissorhands. Let’s face it, if you come on with hands like that and pale, scarred-face makeup, you don’t have to do anything. And he didn’t. And subsequently, he’s done even less.”
On Quentin Tarantino: “I find his work meretricious. It’s all surface. Plot mechanics in place of depth. Style where there should be substance. I walked out of Pulp Fiction … That said, if the phone rang, I’d do it.”
January 14, 2022: Cox negs Game of Thrones, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Harry Potter
In another memoir excerpt, this time shared by GQ, Cox explained why he passed on being involved in most of the big fantasy franchises of our era. Cox says he was offered the role of Robert Baratheon on GoT and said no, because the pay was piss poor. “When it was originally offered the money was not all that great, shall we say say,” he wrote. “Plus I was going to be killed off fairly early on, so I wouldn’t have had any of the benefits of the long-term effects of a successful series where your wages go up with each passing season. So I passed on it, and Mark Addy was gored by the boar instead.”
Doubling down on his Johnny Depp anti status, Cox explained that he was offered the part of the Governor in the first Pirates movie, eventually played by Jonathan Pryce. “It would have been a money-spinner, but of all the parts in that film it was the most thankless,” he wrote, “plus I would have ended up doing it for film after film and missed out on all the other nice things I’ve done.”
Cox said he would have done “Harry fucking Potter,” but the part of Mad-Eye Moody went to Brendan Gleeson instead: “Brendan was more in fashion than I was at that point, and that’s very much the way of the world in my business, so he got it.”
January 19, 2022: Cox addresses that Jeremy Strong profile
Cox’s memoir rollout continues to just barrel along unabated, like a Katamari Damacy of good quotes. In an interview with Deadline, Cox addressed the highly talked-about Jeremy Strong profile published in The New Yorker. Cox says that doing the profile “was Jeremy’s idea, the whole article. He pushed for it … and people kept warning him about it. In a sense, he got hoisted by it, and I think it was unfortunate.” He goes into tender-dad mode here, saying Strong is brilliant at playing Kendall, “but it’s also exhausting for the rest of us from time to time. But we weather it because we love him.” Cox added that the profile put the sensitive actor in a vulnerable position.
The Deadline interviewer then asked if Cox feels that he, too, has put himself in a vulnerable position by publishing his memoir. To which Cox replied with the now-immortal words, “No, no. Listen, I’m too old, too tired, and too talented for any of that shit.”
June 8, 2022: Cox calls film directors illiterate
“I think where we, as actors, get completely underestimated is our literate sense,” Cox said during The Hollywood Reporter drama actors’ roundtable. “We are really, surprisingly, intuitively literate. We know about subject, verb, and object. We really do. We deal with that every day. And a lot of directors haven’t a fucking clue about that.” Not only is Cox implying that directors, unlike actors, can’t read, but he gets specific with it. Logan Roy comes alive when Cox picks the most unexpected of battles.
September 12, 2022: Cox shades Billions for no discernible reason
This time, he didn’t even make it past the paywall preview before saying something pot-stirring. When asked by The Times if Succession will have a fifth season, he answered, “I don’t know. No one’s had their contracts renewed. Who knows how long it will go on? We don’t want it to overstay its welcome like Billions; that’s past its sell-by date. That will not happen with our show.” We predict the next update to this list will be Cox throwing hands with Paul Giamatti.