‘Succession’ Star Brian Cox Shares His Thoughts on Missing Out on ‘Harry F–king Potter’: ‘All My Pals Were In It’

In January 2022, Succession star Brian Cox published his memoir Putting the Rabbit in the Hat. It details his life from working-class Scotland to a prolific career in film, TV, and theater. The actor’s name might sound familiar even if you haven’t seen Succession. Cox’s face is recognizable even if you can’t place where you’ve seen him before.

Before he became Logan Roy in Succession, Cox appeared in blockbuster films like Troy, X-Men 2: X-Men United, Adaptation, Braveheart, and Rob Roy. He even appeared in chilling horror films like The Ring and The Autopsy of Jane Doe. With over 200 roles on his resume, the now-75-year-old appeared on other TV series like Deadwood and Good Omens. What may surprise you more are the incredible acting roles Cox has turned down.

Brian Cox’s thoughts about Harry F–king Potter

Brian Cox poses for the cameras at HBO's 'Succession' Season 3 Premiere
‘Succession’ star Brian Cox | Arturo Holmes/WireImage

Fans of the hugely popular Harry Potter franchise are aware of many favorite actors who sought parts in the films but didn’t ultimately land the roles. The same was true of Cox, according to excerpts from Putting the Rabbit in the Hat, excerpted by GQ.

Cox did not hold back. According to his memoir, he thinks he might’ve been up for the role of Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody in the films, introduced in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. At the time, Cox said someone “had a burning cross held up for me not to be in Harry Potter.” Their reasoning was that all of his friends were in the franchise. 

The role eventually went to actor Brendan Gleeson who Cox explained was more “in fashion” at that point in their acting careers. Cox said it was just the way the business went. Humbly, he noted that Gleeson did a better job than he could have.

A pirate’s life was not for Brian Cox

Cox was offered the role of Governor Swann in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, according to GQ. However, the actor decided to turn it down.

The role went to Jonathan Pryce who played Swann for the first three films in the successful franchise. Gore Verbinski directed the film based on the popular Disney Parks ride. Cox had worked with him before on the supernatural horror film, The Ring. While Cox enjoyed partnering with Verbinski and the film appeared poised to be a commercial success, he refused the role. 

Cox explained that of all the roles in that film, he felt Swann was “the most thankless.” He wasn’t keen on doing multiple sequels. If he had to commit to many films, he’d miss out on other projects that he was glad to have worked on. Cox never regretted the decision.

‘Succession’ changed Cox’s already-expansive acting career

Cox was familiar with David Benioff as he starred in The 25th Hour alongside Ed Norton and director Spike Lee. Benioff himself wrote the original novel and adapted it into a screenplay. When Benioff became a showrunner for Game of Thrones alongside D.B. Weiss, Cox was asked if he’d been presented a role on HBO’s successful fantasy drama. He revealed he was offered the role of King Robert Baratheon. 

At the time, Cox knew little about the story. He Googled the character to learn that he dies in the first season, killed by a boar on a drunken hunting trip. Admitting he didn’t know how important the character was to the story, he turned it down.

While Game of Thrones went on to be a huge success, Cox maintains that the initial offer wasn’t an impressive dollar amount. Realizing his character would die before the end of the first season, whether the show went on to be successful did him little good. 

Now that Cox is older, he feels reassured by his role in the highly popular Succession. He says he’s hoping for a fourth season. If there is one, he predicts that will probably end the series. Cox believes it will have had a good run.

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