Actor Brian Cox set to return to Dundee to play tycoon heading up global media empire

Brian Cox stars in Succession.
Brian Cox stars in Succession.
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The makers of Game of Thrones, Sex and the City and The Sopranos are to come to Scotland to film Hollywood star Brian Cox in his home city – playing a Rupert Murdoch-style media tycoon.

Brian Cox has revealed he will be filming an episode of the next series of HBO drama Succession.

The 72-year-old plays the head of a dysfunctional family behind a global media empire in his native Dundee, where his character was also born.

Cox, who started his career at Dundee Rep when he was 14, will take a break from filming the HBO show in the city to return to the theatre for a talk discussing his many stage and screen roles, including playing Hannibal Lecter in Manhunter,

Cox has compared his Succession character Logan Roy to King Lear, one of his best-known stage roles.

He only discovered that his character was born in Dundee towards the end of filming on the first series, which was launched to critical acclaim last year.

He told The Scotsman: “The irony is we started Succession and I originally wanted to play him as Scots. I thought it would be interesting to play Logan Roy as Scots.

“And the writer went, ‘He needs to be American.’ And I was like, ‘Okay, fine.’ And the director, Adam McKay, who did Vice, said: ‘I think the Scots idea is a good idea.’ We left it and the compromise was that I was born in Quebec, Canada.

“Now, this was on the pilot. So we were filming the last bit of it, episode 9, in Eastnor (in the Cotswolds) for this sequence where we came back to England for my daughter’s wedding.

“The guy who proposed the toast for my birthday in the first episode said to me: ’You know they’ve changed your birthplace?’

“I said: “What do you mean, they’ve changed my birthplace?’ He said, “Yeah, you’re not born in Quebec anymore. I said, ‘Where am I born?’ He looked at his phone and went, ‘Oh, here we are: Dundee, Scotland.’ I went: ‘What?’

“And I went up to the writer and said: ‘What do you mean Dundee, Scotland? I’ve been playing this as a sort of American, mid-Atlantic thing’. And he said, ‘Oh, we just decided that would be a good place for you to be born.’

“So now they’ve got an episode based in Dundee. I’m actually coming back to Dundee to film an episode of Succession. I haven’t even read the script yet.”

Discussing the show previously, Cox, whose best-known screen roles include The Bourne Identity, X2, Adaption and Deadwood, said: “Logan’s need for control is reminiscent of classical stories like King Lear and so many other parallels in classical literature. He’s at a point where he wants to let go, but he can’t. Now, there are reasons of his own vanity that he can’t. But there are reasons that the children aren’t ready to run the show.

“To me, there’s nothing personal about Logan’s ruthlessness, it’s just how he pursues his end. The children don’t get it. They see it all about themselves. He’s kind of beyond that. He’s looking at his empire and thinks it’s in danger of getting f***** up, and he really needs to sort it out.”

Speaking ahead of his forthcoming homecoming, Cox told The Scotsman: “I hope I reflect Dundee. They call it the City of Discovery, but really it’s the city of survival. It’s not the City of Discovery. I’ve such a strong affection for it.

“I mean, I’ve hated the city too – because I’ve hated the city fathers, what they did to it in the 1960s. It was disgraceful.

“The double irony is I’m actually going to Dundee as Brian Cox, not as Logan Roy, to do an evening of, basically, my story, starting at Dundee Rep.”