Scottish actor Brian Cox, 77, was on the cover of a digital British GQ spinoff called GQ Hype in October 2021. This ruled, because in the cast of Succession, Cox was surrounded by hypebeasts. Nicholas Braun is certainly a hypebeast. Jeremy Strong portrayed 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 said straight up that there would be only one or two more seasons of Succession, “then I think we’re done.” This wasn’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. Even after the fourth and final season came and went, Cox is still oversharing. 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.
January 15, 2023: Cox is still defending J.K. Rowling
On BBC One’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg, Cox is basically teed up to fail when a talk-show host says that when it comes to battles for gender-identity recognition and proper health care, “there’s been a lot of abuse flying around, not least at J.K. Rowling,” which yikes, BBC, you’re really airing this stuff on national television? Anyway, she asks Cox to share his feelings on the way she’s “been treated,” and he answers, “I don’t like the way she has been treated, actually. I think she’s entitled to her opinion, she’s entitled to say what she feels, as a woman, she’s very much entitled to say what she feels about her own body. There’s nobody better to say that, as a woman. So I do feel that people have been a bit high and mighty about their attitude toward J.K. Rowling, quite frankly.” Anyone can talk about their own body as much as they’d like, Brian. That’s not really why people are upset with Joanne, now is it, Brian!!
February 21, 2023: Cox thinks the cure for Jeremy Strong’s method acting is weed
In an interview with Town & Country ahead of Succession’s fourth season, Cox says that co-star Jeremy Strong’s method-acting approach of staying in character as Kendall during the entire shoot is “fucking annoying.” Cox says Strong’s “a very good actor” but that his commitment is not only baffling but unnecessary. Cox mentions a video from 2009, in which he teaches Hamlet’s soliloquy to a 30-month-old toddler named Theo through repetition. At the end of the video, Cox says, “He’s fantastic! He’s the best drama student I’ve ever had!”
“There is something in the little boy that is able to convey the character,” Cox tells Town & Country. “It’s just there and is accessible. It’s not a big fucking religious experience.” So Cox was naturally surprised when, after filming the finale scene of season three, when Kendall confesses to killing someone in a car crash, Strong didn’t break character even after it had wrapped. “He’s still that guy, because he feels if he went somewhere else he’d lose it. But he won’t! Strong is talented. He’s fucking gifted. When you’ve got the gift, celebrate the gift. Go back to your trailer and have a hit of marijuana, you know?”
March 16, 2023: Cox thinks Meghan Markle should’ve seen it coming
In a cover story for Haute Living, Cox espouses the belief that it’s time to say “Fuck it! Move on!” from the British monarchy: “It’s not viable; it doesn’t made any sense.” That first part’s all well and good. But regarding the “innocence” of Meghan Markle, he says, “she knew what she was getting into, and there’s an ambition there clearly as well — the childhood dreams of marrying Prince Charming and all that shit we see as fantasy that could be our lives in our dreams. I’m a Cinderella person, you know.” He doesn’t explain what he means by that last part, but it paints a great mental image.
July 11, 2023: Cox takes aim at ‘woke’ millennials and runners
While speaking on Piers Morgan Uncensored, Cox turns his attention to “woke culture” and “shaming culture,” which he describes as “truly awful.” He’s apparently looked into who the main culprits are. “It turns out it’s usually a bunch of millennials,” he says. “I suppose in a way they’re probably saying, ‘Well you’ve all screwed it up so we may as well do something about it.’ But it’s from the wrong principle. It comes from the wrong place.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Cox points out that he “looks amazing” for his age, noting that he regularly goes to the gym and pumps iron. “I look at people running, and I go, no. Don’t run,” he says. According to Cox, he’s seen men who look healthy and strong at age 52, but — ostensibly because they’ve been running — look noticeably less so by the time they’re 56. “They’re gone,” Cox reflects. “And I just go, ‘Stupid.’”
This post has been updated.