‘Succession’ Cast Member Brian Cox Reveals Jesse Armstrong Made a ‘Totally Bizarre’ Change to Logan Roy at the End of Season 1

The Succession cast is full of fascinating actors and characters but Logan Roy (Brian Cox) is at the top of the hill. Both by nature of his authoritative role and Cox’s performance, Logan Roy is an onion viewers keep trying to peel, and he won’t really let them. Cox said in a recent interview that he only learned one detail in the penultimate episode of the first season. 

'Succession' cast member Brian Cox sits outside looking bewildered
Brian Cox | Graeme Hunter/HBO

Cox was a guest on the Fresh Air podcast on Jan. 18 to discuss his new memoir, Putting the Rabbit in the Hat, released last year. When host Terry Gross asked Cox about Succession, he revealed a change creator Jesse Armstrong made that he considered bizarre. 

Logan Roy was originally American on ‘Succession,’ against Brian Cox’s suggestion

Cox was born in Dundee, Scotland. As an actor, he can do accents from anywhere, so American on Succession is no problem. However, Cox initially suggested to Armstrong that they could use his authentic heritage for Logan Roy.

“He’s sort of partly American,” Cox said on Fresh Air. “I always had the idea that Logan Roy could be Scotch. I thought Logan Roy, it’s a Scottish name. So I thought he could be Scotch. I suggested it to Jesse and he said, ‘No, he’s got to be American.’ I said, ‘Okay, fine,’ so I’m American. So I played it for 9 episodes in the first season.”

A ‘Succession’ cast member alerted Brian Cox to the ‘totally bizarre’ change

Cox explained that originally, Succession determined that Logan Roy was born in Quebec, Canada. However, he found out from a fellow Succession cast member that Logan’s origin had changed.

Then in the 9th episode, Peter Friedman, who plays Frank, had done an ADR session. He came to me and said, ‘You know, they’ve changed your birth place.’ I said, ‘What do you mean they’ve changed my birthplace?’ He said, ‘You’re no longer born in Quebec’ and he’d done a big speech in the first episode. I said, ‘So where am I born?’ He said, ‘Oh, I can’t remember.’ He looked at his device and said, ‘Oh, here we are. Somewhere called Dundee, Scotland.’ I went, ‘That’s where I’m from.’ And he said, ‘Oh, that’s a coincidence.’ I said, ‘I’m not sure if it is a coincidence.’

Brian Cox, Fresh Air, 1/18/22

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Cox asked Armstrong about the change and was not quite satisfied with the answer.

“I went to Jesse and said, ‘What the hell was going on?’” Cox said. “He said, ‘We thought you’d be a little surprised.’ I said, ‘It’s a hell of a surprise. I’ve been acting this character for 9 episodes thinking he’s born in Quebec, Canada with a kind of mutt Vermont Canadian accent. Now I’m a Scot.’ He says, ‘Yeah, well, we just thought it was more interesting.’ That whole thing was totally bizarre.”

Brian Cox did not change his voice for Logan Roy

The 11th hour change did not require Cox to redub his lines. Cox continued to play Logan Roy with the same voice throughout three seasons of Succession, with a fourth on the way.

“Because he’s lived in America and basically we slip in and out, so it kind of works that I do it,” Cox said. “When I was a kid, when I was a little boy, playing movies, I was always doing American accents right from the age of about 5.”

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