Succession Star Brian Cox on Turning Down GOT, Harry Potter & Pirates

Brian Cox had a storied career spanning six decades across film and television. Among his latest high profile hits is HBO's Succession as family patriarch Logan Roy as well as the Adult Swim animated series Blade Runner: Black Lotus as the voice of Niander Wallace Sr. While promoting his latest memoir Putting the Rabbit in the Hat, the Emmy Award-winner revealed in an excerpt from GQ the famous roles he didn't end up taking including Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Succession
Brian Cox attends The World Premiere of Amazon Original Series, Good Omens, in Leicester Square ahead of its release on Prime Video this Friday

"I'm often asked if I was offered a role in 'Game of Thrones' — reason being that every other bugger was — and the answer is, yes, I was supposed to be a king called Robert Baratheon, who apparently died when he was gored by a boar in the first season. I know very little about Game of Thrones, so I can't tell you whether or not he was an important character, and I'm not going to Google it just in case he was, because I turned it down. Why? Well, 'Game of Thrones went on to be a huge success and everybody involved earned an absolute fortune, of course. But when it was originally offered the money was not all that great, shall we say. Plus I was going to be killed off fairly early on, so I wouldn't have had any of the benefits of the long-term effects of a successful series where your wages go up with each passing season. So I passed on it, and Mark Addy was gored by the boar instead [I lied. I did Google it]."

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Gethin Anthony as Renly Baratheon and Mark Addy as Robert Baratheon in Game of Thrones. Image courtesy of WarnerMedia

On the Succession Star Turning Down Two Franchise Roles

Cox also remembered being pitched to appear in the Harry Potter film franchise. "'Harry Potter'. That's another one they ask me about. Harry fucking Potter," he writes. "I think someone had a burning cross held up for me not to be in 'Harry Potter', because all my pals were in it. I think the part I might have played was the one that Brendan Gleeson got, Mad-Eye Moody, but Brendan was more in fashion than I was at that point, and that's very much the way of the world in my business, so he got it. Also, he's much better than I would have been." While Cox was involved in the X-Men franchise as its primary villain William Stryker in the 2003 sequel, the idea to commit to multiple films in a franchise was off-putting, which was why he turned down the role of Governor Swann in the Disney franchise. "It would have been a money-spinner, but of all the parts in that film, it was the most thankless, plus I would have ended up doing it for film after film and would've missed out on all the other nice things I've done," he writes. He also didn't have the kindest words for star Johnny Depp.

Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003). © 2003 - Buena Vista Pictures/Disney
Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003). © 2003 – Buena Vista Pictures/Disney

"I mean, 'Edward Scissorhands'," the Succession star writes. "Let's face it, if you come on with hands like that and pale, scarred-face makeup, you don't have to do anything. And he didn't. And subsequently, he's done even less. But people love him. Or they did love him. They don't love him so much these days, of course. If Johnny Depp went for Jack Sparrow now, they'd give it to Brendan Gleeson." Putting the Rabbit Out of the Hat from Grand Central Publishing comes out on January 18.

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About Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangoria. As a writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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