‘Succession’ Cast Member Brian Cox Points out 1 Major Difference Between Logan Roy and Tony Soprano

When The Sopranos ended, it left a void on HBO for a charismatic antihero figure like Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini). Logan Roy (Brian Cox) of Succession may be the heir to that throne. The CEO of Waystar Royco, Logan clings to his empire and even plays his own children against each other. But, there’s one big difference between Logan and Tony, according to the Succession cast member.

'Succession' cast member Brian Cox sits at Logan Roy's desk with his hands folded
Brian Cox | Macall B. Polay/HBO

Cox appeared on the Fresh Air podcast on Jan. 18 to discuss his new memoir. Host Terry Gross discussed Succession with the actor, and Cox pointed out one way Logan is not like Tony. HBO renewed Succession for a fourth season, and seasons 1-3 are streaming now. 

Logan Roy and Tony Soprano have a lot in common

Tony was a mob boss in New Jersey. Logan may be a criminal too, but he’s got the corporate means to shield himself from legal repercussions. Both were volatile personalities, but Cox said The Sopranos showed Tony in vulnerable moments, where Succession never does for Logan. 

“That’s why it’s an interesting role to play because there is a background that we don’t even explore,” Cox said on Fresh Air. “We never see him other than we see him through other people’s eyes and we hear him, see him and go but there’s never a moment like they did with Tony Soprano where he sits down and sees a psychiatrist and he can talk certain ways. We don’t do that. We never expose that element of him but from an acting point of view, you have to store all that stuff up even though you don’t play it. Anger is one of the key things.” 

Brian Cox understands Logan Roy’s anger

Cox has spent a lot of time thinking about Logan Roy’s anger. He’s come to some conclusions over the three seasons of Succession.

RELATED: ‘Succession’: Tom’s Betrayal Began in Episode 2, Creator Jesse Armstrong Says

“His anger comes from his childhood,” Cox said. “It comes from his lack, and I have personally a lot of anger in myself partly because of my background, which I didn’t realize. So the anger is something I can relate to. I can relate to his anger and he has this relationship with his sister Rose which we never discover. We also have his relationship with his mom. So there is this sense of family in him which is quite complicated because at the same time, it’s his burden. We all wish we could get rid of certain stuff but we can’t.”

Sometimes Logan Roy is right to be angry

Logan Roy rules Waystar Royco with an iron fist. However, sometimes it pays not to take any crap.

“His anger is based on the stupidity around him,” Cox said. “The other thing about Logan is what people forget, he fires people and rehires them. This is what he’s done. He has a team. There’s two families on the show. There’s the kids but there’s also the people he’s worked with for the last 30-40 years: Gerri, Frank, Karl, his financial director. What really is interesting about that from my point of view is he has shown to them, even though he’s treated them in a really appalling way, there’s something that’s ultimately loyal about his relationship to his staff.”

Cox admits it’s hard to give Logan credit for loyalty when it comes at such a cost. 

“People don’t even notice,” Cox said. “They never notice because they think he’s capricious. Yeah, you could say there’s an element of caprice but there’s also an element of constantly testing people, constantly testing their loyalty and it’s exhausting. He has a lot of respect and he can be curiously off hand like when he says, Gerri, he has a lot of respect for but then he says things like oh, she’s a million years old, what are you talking about? This just comes out because of his own element of ignorance about human relationships. 

RELATED: ‘Succession’ Season 3: Logan Roy Wasn’t Wrong for Making Kendall’s Son Taste Food for Poison, Creator Jesse Armstrong Explains