SPOILER ALERT: This article contains details about the ending of Succession, season 2.
There have been few more compelling TV villains in recent years than Logan Roy, the ruthless media mogul and patriarch at the center of HBO’s lauded drama Succession.
Brian Cox, who stars as Roy, yesterday scored one of season 2’s three Golden Globe nominations. The veteran actor spoke to us about what makes his character so compelling.
“The show is in keeping with the time,” Cox told us. “Logan is a man of the age. I don’t necessarily think that’s a good thing, but whether we like it or not he’s a man of the age. The reaction people have to him is really interesting. People are repelled by him, but also fascinated by him. He gets under their skin. He’s a man without morality. We live in an age – with the Pinocchio Trump and the lying Boris Johnson [UK prime minister] – when there is a lack of moral imperative. Logan reflects that. Johnson and Trump are both repellent but we’re fascinated by them.”
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In Logan Roy-style, Cox had a takedown of the two politicians at the ready, “The difference between Logan and those guys is that he is self-made.”
Season 2 of Succession, which also garnered Golden Globe noms yesterday for drama and supporting actor (Kieran Culkin, who plays Logan’s youngest son Roman), ended on a brilliant cliffhanger with the tables turned on Logan by his scheming son Kendall, played by Jeremy Strong. The ending features a much-discussed smirk from Logan, which Cox explained “reflects that the boy has finally grown up. He’s finally taking some kind of positive action.”
He elaborated, “Logan’s always known that Kendall was a treacherous shit. In a way, he isn’t judging him. There’s some validation of what’s happened. Logan accepts that. Logan is always an enigma wrapped in a mystery. That’s why the audience loves him.”
Cox, who was also nominated for a Golden Globe in 2001 for drama Nuremberg, said he had just fired off a note to the show’s creator Jesse Armstrong to thank him for entrusting him with the role, “It’s a brilliant role to play from that point of view. Much congratulations must go to Jesse. I’ve just sent him a note to say thank you. For an actor it’s a gift. When a role like this comes along you eat it up.”
While Armstrong may have been inspired by the likes of Rupert Murdoch, Sumner Redstone and Donald Trump when conjuring the Roy family, Cox says he drew more inspiration for the role from Scottish-American industrialist Andrew Carnegie.
“It’s interesting about people who are very rich,” Cox continued, referencing a recent meeting with U.S. presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg. “The good ones and the bad ones have a very particular sense of self. I recently met Michael Bloomberg, just a few days before he announced his run for the U.S. presidency. He was a nice, smart man in person. The giveaway was that he talked about almost going to Vietnam, about almost being conscripted. He said ‘Of course, I would never have been a private, only a lieutenant’. I thought, wow, that’s a giveaway about your sense of self and your sense of specialness.”
Deadline spoke to Succession scribe Lucy Prebble last month about potential storylines for season 3. Cox said that while he remains in the dark over the show’s ultimate direction there are sure to be “a lot of fireworks to come” between him and Kendall. And not only Kendall.
“I’m fascinated to see how young Roman comes into play,” Cox concluded. “He showed his mettle at the end of season 2. I think he’s the hidden gun under the table.”
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