Il Successione star Brian Cox has said authentic casting, where roles are reserved for actors with the same lived experiences as a character, ignores the “craft of acting”.
Cox, who plays the media tycoon Logan Roy in the hit HBO show, said he had spent a lot of his recent time off from filming watching movies, including Russell Crowe as a mathematician with mental illness in A Beautiful Mind and Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything.
“Both brilliant performances,” Cox told the Radio Times. “My wife said: 'Bene, ovviamente, they wouldn’t be allowed to do that now.’ I said: ‘What do you mean?’ And she said: 'Bene, they’re not disabled or mentally ill.’ But that’s wrong, because it’s acting, it’s a piece of craft.”
Casting a severely disabled or mentally ill person to play such a part “might be exploitative”, the 75-year-old added.
Cox landed his defining TV role at 71 in Succession, which premiered in 2018, più di 50 years after his small-screen debut in a Wednesday play on BBC One. He was the first big-screen incarnation of Hannibal Lecter, and has played Hermann Göring (nel 2000 mini-series Nuremberg) and Winston Churchill (in 2017’s Churchill).
Cox has also played numerous Shakespearean leads, including King Lear at the National Theatre in 1990, in which he portrayed the titular character as paranoid and angry. The themes are similar to those in Succession, with Roy’s surname even deriving from roi, the French word for king – making him “King Logan”.
While Succession has been interpreted as a satirical expose of the Murdoch family, references to media tycoons and businessmen in the show are broad – with nods to Robert Maxwell, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.
“There are bits of all of them in Logan,” Cox said. “But also the family have increasingly become their own thing. And actually one of the reasons I like Logan is that he would never do what fucking [Richard] Branson or Musk or Bezos did: ‘Let’s go up in the sky because we need more spaceships.’ No, we don’t need more spaceships. What is happening to the planet that we need more rubble up in the sky? We don’t need to go into space. Where’s their head, their sense of proportion, their living in the real world?"
Cox’s memoir: Mettere il coniglio nel cappello, is released this month. In the book he writes about fatherhood and the trauma of losing his own father at an early age.