Brian Cox Interview: ‘Succession’
“I put Logan on a level of a Titus Andronicus, or even a Julius Caesar and certainly a King Lear,” proclaims Brian Cox about his pivotal role on the epic HBO drama “Succession.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Cox above. SPOILERS ABOUT SEASON 2 BELOW AND IN THE VIDEO.
In “Succession,” Cox commands the screen as the larger-than-life intimidating force of nature Logan Roy, who leads the behemoth multimedia empire Waystar Royco with an iron fist. Over two seasons, Roy has survived health scares, boardroom assassination attempts and devastating family betrayals while he looms over his adult children Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Shiv (Sarah Snook), Roman (Kieran Culkin) and Connor (Alan Ruck).
“Ultimately it’s a morality tale,” Cox explains when pressed on what he thinks “Succession” is at its core. “It’s about the age we live in. You think about what’s going on in Washington at the moment,” he says. “We live in a world that lies. And a world that lies to itself. And so you get these extraordinary contradictions, and that’s what the show is.”
The show is about wealthy, entitled and often despicable brats and their dominating and withholding father, and fans and critics have been flocking to it in droves. Cox is amused at how popular the show is, despite how unlikeable its characters can be. “People can’t stand these people, but they’re still obsessed, literally obsessed,” he exclaims. “Our moral centers have shifted and are almost nothing, quite frankly. So the moral barometer has gone, so what this show does is it reminds people,” he says. “We do love bad people. We get assured by bad people, and the more we see them the more assured we are.”
One of the highlights of this season was the shocking finale, which ended with an explosive family betrayal as Kendall lashes out at his controlling father by implicating him publicly in the sexual harassment scandal engulfing his media empire. It was a clever and unexpected twist that left fans gasping for breath, eagerly anticipating what will follow next season. But what made it deliciously subversive was that it ended on Logan watching the betrayal unfold on his television, his usual sneer becoming a knowing smirk.
The Emmy winner (“Nuremberg,” 2001) believes it was exactly the reaction we should have been expecting from Logan. “It’s an extension of life and an acknowledgment that life will go on, in its usual chaotic condition. Logan knows that he had to push one of his children over the edge, in order to show some character really more than anything else,” he explains. “He’s seeing his children beginning to come to the fore [but] none of his children have proven to be worthy. Shiv has ended up a huge disappointment, Kendall has already tried to betray him and he’s always regarded Roman a little bit of an idiot,” he says. “That’s what I love about the show. It’s never black and white.”