SUCCESSION Star Brian Cox Covers TOWN & COUNTRY’s OG Issue

Posted on February 21, 2023


SUCCESSION star Brian Cox covers TOWN & COUNTRY’s March 2023 OG issue photographed by Marc Hom and styled Matthew Marden.





On how living his childhood in poverty has stayed with him throughout his life: [His father] died when Cox was eight, leaving a bank account with “the princely sum” of 10 pounds in it. His mother, who worked as a spinner in Dundee’s vast jute mills, suffered a series of nervous breakdowns. “We were left destitute,” Cox says. “Being plunged into poverty affects me to this day. It’s a demon in my life.”

On how he has given a lot of thought to Logan Roy and has imagined for him an elaborate backstory, which is occasionally hinted at in the series but never made explicit: “He’s not Rupert Murdoch,” Cox says. “He’s certainly not Donald Trump, and he’s not Conrad Black. He is a self-made man, but there was something in his childhood that made him decide, ‘F**k it. It doesn’t work. None of it works.’”

On how he shares with Roy a sense that the human experiment has gone terribly wrong: “He does so from a nihilistic point of view,” he says. “I’m an optimist. I believe if we can attend to it, we can shift it. But we don’t attend to it enough. But Logan doesn’t give a f**k. He just says, ‘That’s the way it is.’” Sometimes, Cox admits, Roy’s anger is hard for him to fathom. “It comes from a bitter experience. It’s a mystery, because Jesse [Armstrong] hasn’t revealed it. I mean, you saw me swimming [in season one, episode seven], and you see the marks on my back. But it’s never explained.”

On his relationship with the character Logan and how he thinks Logan feels about his children: “I have a sneaking affection for Logan,” Cox says. “I think he’s a misunderstood man.” He says Armstrong insisted to him that Logan Roy loves his children, and so he is disappointed in them. Kendall has turned on him. Roman is a bit of a weirdo. Connor is off in la-la land and Shiv, who Cox says Logan was hoping would be the One, “can’t keep her mouth shut. She’s got no reserve, no tactical skill, no subtlety whatsoever, and that’s why she fell out of place.”

On the Roy children: “They are wedded to avarice. He can see that, and he knows it’s his creation. He knows that they’re going to f**k it up. He knows that they haven’t got the stuff to do it but they’ll try anyway. And that, again, is what the show is all about: entitlement.”

Cox, a classically trained actor, on how he finds Strong’s devotion to method baffling: “He’s a very good actor. And the rest of the ensemble is all okay with this. But knowing a character and what the character does is only part of the skill set.” Is it annoying being around someone who is always in character? “Oh, it’s f**king annoying,” Cox says. “Don’t get me going on it.”

On how Strong’s method acting complaint isn’t about inconvenience: He brings up a 2009 video (which is now on YouTube) of him teaching a toddler Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” soliloquy. After some coaxing by Cox—and occasional pauses and distractions—the child learns the famous speech. “There is something in the little boy that is able to convey the character,” he says. “It’s just there and is accessible. It’s not a big f**king religious experience.”

On Strong’s performance in last season’s final episode where Kendall tells Shiv and Roman that he accidentally killed a man after leaving Shiv’s wedding in a frantic search for drugs: Cox says he thinks Strong played the moment extremely well, but he was, again, surprised that he wouldn’t break out of character once it 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 f**king gifted. When you’ve got the gift, celebrate the gift. Go back to your trailer and have a hit of marijuana, you know?”

On how for all its business world parallels and real life family dynamics, Cox thinks Succession is a bit of a send-up: “It’s essentially satirical,” he says. He also believes the writers have written the show from a socialist perspective, although I tell him I don’t think Americans see it that way. “It’s a critique,” he continues. “But the interesting thing is that people love it. They love the characters. They love that degree of selfishness. They think, Isn’t it great how nasty they are? And that’s the thing that you can’t account for.”



[Photo Credit: Marc Hom for Town & Country Magazine]

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