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Brian Cox on 'psychopathic journey' of men of authority, being nomad and loving simpler films

twitter-logoPTI | June 17, 2019 | Updated 13:52 IST

By Radhika Sharma New Delhi, Jun 17 (PTI) "X-Men" star Brian Cox considers himself lucky to have been on a "psychopathic journey" of exploring the diabolic and the grey in humans on screen. The actor, who is at his best when playing a figure of authority, has earned praise for his turn as Logan Roy, a media baron in HBO's "Succession" and he equates his character's reluctance to losing control of his business to "Citizen Kane". Cox is best known for playing an anti-mutant villain William Stryker in "X-Men" movies, the opportunist King Agamemnon in "Troy", a dodgy CIA Deputy Director Ward Abbott in "Bourne" films and Winston Churchill in "Churchill". He admits such roles often come his way but he relishes the responsibility of doing justice to them. "They go back to my theatre days... It's kind of grown exponentially. But trust me, it's not me at all. It's just the role that people see me in. They are great roles. They can be diabolic, they can be all kinds of grey. I've been lucky that way," the actor told PTI in a telephonic interview from London. "Playing Churchill for example, I realised he's a whole different man from the one we normally see... I completely accept the fact that he was all flawed, there was invasion and a lot of people died on the D-Day in World War II. He carried that with him. He's not impervious to it," he added. Cox, 73, believes these roles provide a playing field to project human behaviour. "These great roles become a great responsibility in making humans understandable. Understanding how Stryker is, (it's) because of his son who is a mutant. How he tried to perfect Wolverine, how he tried to create this man... "They all are on a psychopathic journey. They come from an element of uncertainty. That's what is interesting," he said. The Scottish actor is reprising his role as Roy in the second season of "Succession", which starts premiering Monday on Star World in India. Cox, whose easy-going persona often comes through his answers, said like Roy, he is self-aware and loves his job. But the similarities end there. "We like what we do. What he does is questionable and what I do is less questionable. Logan has created this company. In that way, he's like Citizen Kane, he's not going to let go of it easily. He's aware that there's a statute of limitations on his life. "He wants his children to succeed but unfortunately the gap between the working classes and the elite is getting bigger. And I'm a socialist, so I see that. It's like Icarus flying too close to the sun. This is constantly happening with the aspirations of the people. Logan knows this but his children haven't learnt that," he said. Cox, who started working in the 1960s, said leading a nomadic life and constantly reinventing has helped him stay relevant. "I have been given some wonderful stuff to do but the opposite is also right. I have made myself available to that. I've never settled down. I've lived in America, the UK and I come from Scotland. I'm sort of a nomad. The beast of this business is that I have to constantly reinvent myself. "I've been an observer of how change goes. What is popular, what's unpopular... One thing that I always have in my head is belonging. I still want to be doing this in my 70s. As long as I remember my lines and I'm not bumping into furniture, I'm quite blessed. I'm still perfecting my craft. I'm still trying to get better as an actor," he said. As someone who has grown up on a steady diet of Shakespearean dramas, Cox loves simple films with human interaction at their core. He, however, believes the space for such stories is shrinking in cinema today as four out of the five screens are dedicated to spectacle movies like "The Avengers", while multiple small films vie for the remaining one slot. "I feel sad because they will not invest in a smaller film. Back in the '90s when I came to the US, independent cinema was doing well. It's still doing well but it's struggling to survive. We need to get back to something very simple," the actor said when asked about director James Cameron's comments on superhero genre reaching its saturation point. The actor said he is not averse to big-budget movies such as "Thor: Ragnarok" or "Avengers: Endgame" but there needs to be space for other movies to work. Small screen, he believes, has tried to fill some of the void by creating an intimate viewing experience through streaming services, but that's not enough. "I saw the last the 'Avengers' film. I thought it was terribly good. But my favourite activity to do, back in New York is to watch classic films. I love them... The James Stewarts, Cary Grants and Barbra Streisands... Those simple narrative movies, I think cinema has kind of lost that." PTI RDS BK RDS BK BK

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