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We live in an age of contradictions, entitlement: 'Succession' star Brian Cox

Entertainment Culture

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

It's the age of moral desolation with people confused about their needs, says Hollywood star Brian Cox who believes his role as the morally ambiguous tycoon Logan Roy in the HBO drama "Succession" mirrors the contradictions of the times.

Cox, 73, who won his first Golden Globe this year for his performance, said his character is "despicable" yet "likable".

"It's a great role. It's like one of those classical roles like King Lear or Hamlet. He is so despicable and yet so likable. He is full of these wonderful contrasts. And unlike Rupert Murdoch, Conrad Black or even someone like Donald Trump, the great thing about Logan is that he is a self-made man. He does not come from an inherited position," Cox told PTI in a telephonic interview from London.

The Scottish actor is best known for his roles as King Agamemnon in "Troy", anti-mutant villain William Stryker in "X-Men" and Churchill in "Winston Churchill".

When not in front of the camera, Cox spends time working towards the second Scottish independence referendum, an issue close to his heart.

"It is going to be very hard. I believe one of the problems in the UK is that we still live in the state of the Empire. We still live with this memory of when we were this imperialist nation. We have got to get rid of that in order to move ahead because UK is so feudal," he said.

Recalling his journey to India years ago, Cox said the best thing to happen to the British Empire was its discovery of India.

"I remember years ago trying to book a train from Kolkata to Madras... the elaborate bureaucracy of India totally fits in with that kind of British mentality."

Life, he said, is endlessly contradictory.

"We live in the time of moral desolation, in a world where people are confused by their needs and their wants and their principles of being. The show touches upon that. People are like 'Why do I like this, these people are horrible?' Logan is an icon of these conflicting things," Cox said.

"Succession", which has had two season run so far, revolves around a media mogul who keeps his four children on edge about who will inherit his empire.

It is compelling watch with Logan not averse to sacrificing his children at the altar of his empire.

"People are conflicted about Logan because he is kind of an enigma wrapped up in a mystery. They are shaken by his nakedness but at the same time, they want to know who is this man and how horrible he is," Cox said.

Praising the writing of the show, where the drama mostly relies on dialogues rather than big flashy moments, the star said the series, which airs in India on Star World, highlights the battle between aspirations and principles.

"It is writing which has its roots in comedy and satire. It's a critique of what guides us and how we are constantly defeated by our own avarice. Audiences love it and immediately identify with it," he said.

Cox said he was initially confused by Logan's horrible treatment of his four children so much so that he asked writer-creator Jesse Armstrong whether he loves his children. To which Armstrong told him, "Of course, Logan loves his children very much."

"But they (the children) are disappointing... It reflects the age we live in, which is the age of entitlement where we see Ivanka Trumps and Jared Kushners... People who have not earned the right to be in the position they are in.

"This is very prevalent in our society, which is moving more and more towards the right wing and more conservative. We see that the UK with the election of a very right wing government, with (Donald) Trump in America, in Russia, Turkey and Hungary. We've got a lot of these strong right wing movements, so that's what the conditions we're in."

Cox said he identified with his character to some extent. Like Logan, Cox, too, comes from poverty and is a self-made man but their similarities end there.

"I've had great mentors in my life. I've had people who've given me strong moral and social ideas... It was not my fault that I suffered family tragedy, poverty. (But) As a young person, I always felt excluded. And I had to overcome my exclusion. So we have had similar trajectories."

The third season of the show, which also feature Jeremy Strong, Kieran Culkin, Sarah Snook, Hiam Abbass and Nicholas Braun, will delve into the open betrayal by his second son Kendall and how Logan deals with the public fallout.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Fri, January 31 2020. 15:50 IST