Brian Cox on ‘Succession’ Ending And That ‘Fuck Off’ Catchphrase – Variety

Last month, when “Succession” creator Jesse Armstrong announced that the fourth season of the Emmy-winning HBO drama would be its last, the Internet howled in despair. But Brian Cox – who has played the ruthless mogul Logan Roy since the series premiered in 2018 – applauds Armstrong’s decision. “He’s very disciplined that way and he’s also very British that way,” says Cox, who is Scottish and in conversation seems to cite birthplace to explain behavior. “That American inclination is to milk it for all it’s worth.”

Not that Cox, 76, won’t feel the loss. “I’ll miss the cast, I’ll miss the atmosphere, I’ll miss the bonhomie,” he says, ticking off reasons during a recent Zoom interview from London. And Logan? “Logan, sure, I’m going to miss a bit. But onward and upward.”

Cox may be wary of the Murdochian founder of Waystar Royco — the mega-corporation at the show’s center, and the prize Logan has fought for his grown children Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Roman (Kieran Culkin) and Shiv (Sarah Snook), finally pushes them out completely at the end of season 3. But when he describes Logan’s motivations, Cox channels him. “They would absolutely destroy it,” he says passionately of the children’s aspirations for the throne. “It probably wouldn’t last more than five minutes in their hands. And yet that’s what he wanted. He wanted his successor. Four seasons to prove it! And they just haven’t proven it.”

The March 26 season 4 premiere sees Logan isolated, agitated — almost lonely. Alienated from his offspring, who do not attend his birthday party (except for the leech-like Connor, played by Alan Ruck), Logan is out of sorts. “When the kids aren’t around, he’s very focused on who he is,” Cox says. “And not in a good way.”

Brian Cox as Logan in the final season of “Succession”.
Courtesy of Macall B. Polay/HBO

But speaking for Logan, Cox continues to toss them around as candidates for his job. Roman is “the gifted one” but he accidentally sent Logan the cock pic meant for Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron) and he can’t be trusted. Shiv is Logan’s “darling,” but “she just doesn’t know who she is or where she is. And she can’t stop talking either.” As for Kendall, “his own greed is what’s gotten in the way,” not to mention his “Oh, poor me” kind of thing, which Logan finds “very unpleasant.”

Speaking of dramatic poses, the two actors have engaged in a public back-and-forth about Method acting, which is Strong’s preferred approach — and a style that Cox detests. He criticized it in his 2021 memoir “Putting the Rabbit in the Hat” and has said that there is “a certain amount of pain at the root of Jeremy.” In a recent GQ cover story, Strong allowed that Cox has “earned the right to say whatever the hell he wants,” but dismissed his claim — saying Kendall is in pain, not him. When asked about it, Cox says, “I’m glad he’s not hurt personally,” praising Strong as “a wonderful actor.” But there is more. “It’s really a culture clash,” says Cox. “I can’t figure out all that American shit. Sorry. All that ‘I think therefore I feel’ stuff.”

“Just do the job,” Cox continues. “Do not identify.” He points to the case of esteemed Method actor Daniel Day-Lewis, with whom he worked on the 1997 film “The Boxer,” and blames these immersive techniques for Day-Lewis’ early retirement. “He retired at the age of 55 and I say, ‘That’s when the roles get really interesting. You’ve retired just when the roles are actually getting better!’” Cox exclaims. “Of course Jeremy was Dan Day-Lewis’ assistant. So he’s learned all that from Dan.”

He delivers this soliloquy with an underlying cackle and a twinkle in his eye. Still, there is love in his tone: Cox loves his children, as does Logan. “If he didn’t love his children, it would be so much easier,” he says. “It is his Achilles heel.”

As for Logan, Armstrong has said he wasn’t meant to survive Season 1, and his health has been uncertain throughout, so we’ll see what happens as “Successions” barrels toward its conclusion. Regardless of Logan’s fate, his catchphrase – “Fuck off!” — will follow Cox for the rest of his days.

He tells a story about being invited to an event at Rosanna Arquette’s house where Ronan Farrow moderated a conversation about the #MeToo movement. “I was standing in the back listening to this very intense stuff, and Farrow was actually quite brilliant. And I thought, ‘Wow, this is really interesting stuff. Brilliant, amazing,'” Cox recalls. “It was over, they saw me and they immediately started bringing out their devices and said, ‘Can you tell us to fuck off?’ And I’m like, ‘Jesus Christ. This is a #MeToo rally! And you’re asking a white dinosaur to tell you to fuck?'”

Aside from that inconsistency, are people yelling that at him on the street? “They don’t yell ‘Fuck off.’ They just say, ‘Can you tell us to fuck?’ And I do that with pleasure:’Shit of.'”

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