Scot actor Brian Cox on his 'reclusive' lockdown life in America, the 'huge loss' of the Edinburgh Fringe and why Succession's new season may have to be rewritten

The Dundee-born Hollywood star Brian Cox says he has been left baffled over America’s response to the coronavirus pandemic – as he revealed that his diabetic condition has forced him to stay confined to a cabin in the countryside.
Brian Cox won a Golden Globe award earlier this year for his performance as media tycoon Logan Roy in the HBO series Succession.Brian Cox won a Golden Globe award earlier this year for his performance as media tycoon Logan Roy in the HBO series Succession.
Brian Cox won a Golden Globe award earlier this year for his performance as media tycoon Logan Roy in the HBO series Succession.

The Succession star, who says he has “cut myself off” at his home in Upstate New York, suggested the American authorities have acted like “headless chickens” in response to the global coronavirus crisis.

Cox, whose other screen credits include Braveheart, Rob Roy and the first Hannibal Lecter film Manhunter, said his wife was using a mask, gloves and bacterial wipes to go shopping for the couple and their two sons.

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However, in an interview with the BBC, Cox admitted a daily “onslaught” of media hysteria had left him confused as to who to believe over the spread of the virus in America.

He said it was “despicable” the US seemed more interested in commercial deals linked to the pandemic than ensuring social distancing restrictions were kept in place.

Cox is confident filming on a third season of Succession, the media dynasty drama that brought him his first Golden Globe this year, would get underway in the summer, but suggested scripts may have to be rewritten to reflect the Covid-19 crisis.

Cox also spoke out over the “absolutely tragic” impact Covid-19 had had on the theatre industry and described the cancellation of the 2020 Edinburgh Festival Fringe as “a huge loss”.

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Cox, who turns 74 in June, told the HARDtalk programme: “As I’m a diabetic I’ve not been engaging in anything. My wife has done wonders, she’s been fantastic. She’s been doing the shopping and is very meticulous about using gloves, masks and bacterial wipes.

“I just sit here like some kind of sacred cow. We have our two boys with us and they ‘re beginning to get cabin fever. I’m not too bad, I’m quite good at being reclusive.

“I’m in contact with a few folk in New York City, they are fairly sensible and not going out. In the country it is a little more different. It seems to be a bit more relaxed here. But as I’ve got certain responsibilities I’ve really cut myself off.

“It’s tough what’s going on in New York, but there’s also so much media hysteria it’s sometimes difficult to know what is the right thing and what is the wrong thing.

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“I find with the American media it’s such an onslaught. I’m very happy to watch the BBC because it seems to be very sensible. I get a little confused watching the other channels because I think ‘what’s going on?’

“I was listening to an American general who was in charge of the Hurricane Katrina situation. He believes there is a lot of hanky panky going on with who is getting the contracts to do what. You feel there’s a bit of ‘I’ll scratch your back if you scratch my back” going on. I find that kind of despicable.

“I’m more concerned about the people and the common sense of not to have social contact and to maintain your discipline of staying within your boundaries. That’s the best way of dealing with it. At the moment, there’s a lot of headless chickens.”

Asked about the next season of Succession, Cox said: “We’re just on hold. We will resume as soon as it is safe to, because the show is very popular.

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“Season three is all written and ready to go, but we have to get our various people from around the globe and work out locations. Interestingly enough, there’s also whether we acknowledge Covid-19 in the next series. There’s a lot of ifs and buts, but we will be going on.

“The key thing now is television. It really has gone so way ahead of the cinema, which has become very, very archaic in its thinking and its being. It is, of course, run towards figures and now it has to be re-thought. Cinema is very in the past.

“Television is something else at the moment. In the long-form, the writing is exceptional. Our writers on Succession are all, in their own rights, brilliant.”

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