“I wouldn’t describe Michael as my favourite, but he’s Michael Caine. An institution. And being an institution will always beat having range.”
In his book, Cox recounts turning down the role of the Governor in Pirates of the Caribbean (a part taken by Jonathan Pryce, but more on him later). He doesn’t regret missing out on the Johnny Depp helmed series…
“Personable though I’m sure he is, is so overblown, so overrated. I mean, Edward Scissorhands. Let’s face it, if you come on with hands like that and pale, scarred-face make-up, you don’t have to do anything. And he didn’t. And subsequently, he’s done even less.”
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In 1996, Cox co-starred in Steven Seagal cop thriller The Glimmer Man. The martial artist actor turned international diplomat made a lasting impression…
“Steven Seagal is as ludicrous in real life as he appears on screen. He radiates a studied serenity, as though he’s on a higher plane to the rest of us, and while he’s certainly on a different plane, no doubt about that, it’s probably not a higher one.”
A young David Jones, as he was known at the time, appeared as a soldier in Thames TV series Redcap…
“A skinny kid, and not a particularly good actor. He made a better pop star, that much is for certain.
Cox has never worked with the auteur, and it doesn’t look like he’d want to. Maybe…
“I find his work meretricious. It’s all surface. Plot mechanics in place of depth. Style where there should be substance. I walked out of Pulp Fiction…That said, if the phone rang, I’d do it.”
Jonathan Pryce and Christopher Walken
It must have been interesting behind the scenes on 2001 film The Affair of the Necklace where Cox appeared with Jonathan Pryce and Christopher Walken…
“Christopher Walken was somewhat bemused by Jonathan Pryce, which is understandable, Jonathan being an interesting fish, kind of dark and gloomy at times. And if you can freak out Christopher Walken…
There are also digs at Gary Oldman, Daniel Day-Lewis, John Hurt and Michael Gambon (frequently).
Speaking to The Big Issue, Cox said none of his friends mentioned in the book had read it yet.
“I’m expecting probably never to hear from some people again. But that’s the way it goes,” he said.
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But Cox is also generous about many other people. The late, great Alan Rickman “was one of the sweetest, kindest, nicest and most incredibly smart men I’ve ever met. Prior to acting he’d been a graphic designer and he brought the considered, laser-like precision of that profession to his work.”
And he is also kind to his Chain Reaction co-stars Keanu Reeves – a “seeker” who has “actually become rather good over the years” and Morgan Freeman, who was stoic through a difficult shoot: “I’m pleased to say that although he was cold and pissed off and watching bedlam reign around him, Morgan Freeman remained an absolute gentleman.
“Being the very epitome of Morgan Freeman. The Morgan Freeman you would hope to meet. The Morgan Freeman you encounter in your dreams.”
Putting the Rabbit in the Hat is out now. Succession, a Sky exclusive, is available on Sky and NOW on Mondays at 9pm and on demand.
Buy The Big Issue magazine next week to read our exclusive interview with Brian Cox