Brian Cox‘s Logan Roy is ruthless, but he will never question the Succession patriarch’s decisions as the war against Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Shiv (Sarah Snook) and Roman Roy (Kieran Culkin) intensifies.
“He’s a very complex man. I think that we, both the writing and the actors, what I’ve done informs a certain amount of where they’re going. So in a way, I don’t judge them. You never judge your character,” Cox, 76, exclusively told Us Weekly while promoting his Michelob Ultra 2023 Super Bowl commercial. “You allow the character to be, and Logan is such an extraordinary force of nature. He’s misanthropic, he’s an unhappy man.”
Logan’s disconnect with his children has always been apparent, but their tension only escalated in the season 3 finale of the HBO drama when they tried to overthrow him amid his deal to sell off the family’s media corporation, Waystar Royco.
“He loves his children. That’s his weakness. He loves his children desperately. All of that has accrued over the series,” the Scotland native explained to Us. “So naturally there are movements of it [that have] shifted, but it shifted organically, not in any kind of, ‘Oh, this is a different mindset.’ I think the mindset has always been there, but then it opens up more possibilities.”
Cox continued: “If you’re in the center of it, the possibilities are greater. If you start judging your character, then you reduce the possibilities.”
Logan’s relationship with his second-oldest son Kendall has deteriorated over time, with audiences first introduced to the character’s tension when Logan decided to not retire instead of passing on the business torch to him in the pilot. In season 2, Logan would go on to throw Kendall under the bus as his “blood sacrifice” for his cruise division crisis. After he made him take the fall, Logan — along with the rest of the family — were left shocked when Kendall bashed him during a press conference.
Last year, guest star Adrien Brody revealed that Cox and Strong appear to remain distant between takes thanks to Strong’s method acting approach.
“I did notice that he was keeping his distance from Brian on set, but I just thought it was all really interesting. I think Brian could probably care less, but it was obviously working for Jeremy. I just remember thinking, ‘Wow, this is so fun to step into this.’ And it all went without a hitch. I just wanted there to be more,” he told IndieWire that September. “I really loved interacting with them. So that was my experience with it. I thought it was great. You know, whatever works — and what they are doing on that show is clearly working.”
Since the show’s 2018 debut, Cox has gotten ”to understand” Logan “more and more.”
“He’s very lonely,” the Independent actor told Us. “But he’s become, there’s so many hints of his background that we have. The sort of toughness of it, why it was hard for him as a child — his childhood was fairly traumatic. And the fact that he moved from one country to another.”
Logan was written as a Dundee, Scotland, native whose mother sent him to be raised in Canada with his uncle Nick, who was abusive. “Originally, he was supposed to be born in North America … And [creator] Jesse [Armstrong] said he should be American. ‘It’s gotta be American,'” Cox told Us. “And I did point out that Quebec’s in Canada, it’s not in America. So that was an interesting kind of diversion as it were.”
Cox describes working on the series as “joyous,” calling the writing a “pretty high standard.” And if he were 40 years younger, he thinks the character of Tom Wambsgans would be just as interesting to play.
“He’s so complicated and so driven because of his relationship with my horrible daughter, and how she treats him. And his innocence because he’s from Wisconsin, so he’s very sort of — he’s a country boy at heart. And it’s a very good role,” he told Us. “And of course, brilliantly played by Matthew Macfadyen. Absolutely brilliantly.”
Succession season 4 premieres on HBO Sunday, March 26, at 9 p.m. ET.