Brian Cox has told Sky News that playing Logan Roy – the terrifying head of the Waystar family empire in drama Succession – has had “a terrible effect” on him.
Speaking at the Edinburgh TV Festival, the 76-year-old star, whose career has taken him from Dundee to Hollywood, said: “I was not really a swearer until I played this role. And now I swear all the time. It’s catching, it’s infectious.”
The Sky Atlantic show about the Roys and their affair with politics, power, and money has been a hit both with fans and critics, and the third season leads this year’s Emmy nominations, with 25 nods.
Cox is currently on a break from filming the fourth season while the rest of the Succession cast shoot scenes he is not needed for in LA.
But instead of putting his feet up, he’s here in Edinburgh. And he’s pretty busy – giving a talk about his career at the TV festival, promoting the play She/Her he has produced, which stars his actress wife, and also appearing at a book festival to talk about his 2021 memoir, Putting The Rabbit Back In The Hat.
As he says, he’s “a busy lad”, but clearly pleased to be back in Scotland, calling Edinburgh his “spiritual home”.
With two Emmys and two Olivier Awards to his name, Cox has worked on more than 200 films and TV shows during his impressive career, which spans over half a century.
It’s something he’s proud of, telling Sky News: “I’ve been very lucky. I’ve had a great career with such an extraordinary variety of parts, which is really what I believe acting is all about – variety.
“From playing Goering which I won an Emmy for, to Churchill, it’s a great challenge, and it’s a great way of stretching my instrument. And I’ve been very grateful and had a really good time doing it.”
While he won’t pick a favourite role to date, saying it would be like “choosing a favourite child”, he does have a soft spot for the part that has made him a household name, father from hell Logan Roy.
Cox explains: “Logan is quite a fascinating character because he’s so mysterious, we don’t really know how he thinks. We know how he acts. We don’t really know how he feels.”
As for tips on what to expect from the forthcoming fourth series of Succession, he says he disagrees with his co-star Kieran Culkin (who plays the youngest member of the dysfunctional Roy family, Roman), who has said the next season of the show “has gone in a way he didn’t anticipate”.
Cox says: “Kieran doesn’t really anticipate anything, he’s not an anticipator one way or the other, so for him to say [the show’s] going in a way he didn’t anticipate, is strange to say the least.
“I mean, we do our stuff, we’re still sorting out what we do with the children and [wondering] are they going to behave themselves and are they going to learn anything? We’re trying to secure the firm. And that’s really what we’re continuing to do. I don’t know about anticipating anything, in the way it’s all gone. I think it’s going according to plan.”
The Edinburgh Television Festival 2022 runs from Wednesday 24 August to Friday 26 August, with Sky News as its official media partner.
Stars including Strictly Come Dancing winner Rose Ayling-Ellis and Philomena Cunk actor Diane Morgan will appear at the festival, and on Wednesday, ex-BBC journalist Emily Maitlis gave the flagship MacTaggart lecture, calling out what she referred to as “Tory cronyism at heart of the BBC“.
The fourth season of Succession is expected to air on Sky Atlantic and NOW in early 2023.
She/Her is a multimedia performance featuring seven female performers, including actress Nicole Ansari-Cox. It runs at the Assembly George Square studios until 29 August.
Brian Cox’s autobiography, Putting The Rabbit Back In The Hat, is out now.