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INTERVIEW: "Succession" Star Brian Cox On WordTheatre, Actors That Influenced His Career, And More

T.J. Clemente

Brian Cox is a WordTheatre veteran. (Photo: Jason Nowwer)

Brian Cox is known to many as, Logan Roy, the patriarch of the Roy family and the CEO of the conglomerate that is at the center of HBO's mega hit Succession. Its second season is currently airing weekly on Sundays and the show just recently secured season three.

Cox is an Emmy Award-winning Scottish actor. He was born in Dundee, Scotland and presently lives in New York City with his wife and children. He has quite a body of work, dating back to when he joined the Dundee Repertory Theatre at the age of 14. He is now a vibrant active 73-years-old. He will be doing a reading in WordTheatre's Hearts Aflame: Torch Songs & Love Letters From 12th Century Missives to 21st Century Emails on Sunday, August 25 at Guild Hall in East Hampton.

Our interview with Cox centers on his work for WordTheatre that was founded in Los Angeles and London in 2003 out of a desire to reinvigorate the oral storytelling tradition by curating programs featuring the world's finest literature brought to life by great actors. Cox is one of their many star actors and supporters.

What's your affiliation with WordTheatre?

BC: My first introduction to WordTheatre was in the late 90's in LA after I did the play Skylight at the Mark Taper Forum. Cedering Fox, the founder of WordTheatre, was a friend of the director Robert Egan. I read excerpts of my book Salem to Moscow - an autobiographical account of my time in Russia working with students of the Moscow Arts Theater, directing The Crucible and bringing them to the UK for the first time ever. Supporting an organization that brings the love of the written word to people is gratifying.

Who was your Influence?

BC: Fulton Mackay, a wonderful Scottish actor who was my influence when I started in the Theater in my home country Scotland, at the Lyceum in Austin Edinburgh. He was memorable in the film Local Hero, in which he plays the old tramp who owns the beach that the character Burt Lancaster plays wants to buy. Another actor that was influential to me as a young actor was the late and great Albert Finney. He was the first working class actor that became a star and made me feel that I could do it too. He was a great example for a generation of actors who didn't come from a famous acting family or from money. He was self-made.

What has been the sweetest moment of your career?

BC: I had so many sweet moments in my career they are too numerous to mention. My sweetest moments in life were meeting my wife Nicole Ansari Cox and the birth of my children. I am very lucky.

What is your favorite dessert?

BC: Vanilla ice cream, sugar free. I am Diabetic and have to watch it because I have a sweet tooth!

Hearts Aflame shines a light on the centuries old, bittersweet dilemma of falling in love. It will be an Original WordTheatre® Production Benefitting W.I.T.S. WordTheatre in the Schools and The Pushcart Prize Fellowships.

The production will present a fiery cast of performers who will ignite this live tribute to the enduring power of love letters and torch songs. Penned by lovers throughout the ages, these passionate communiques—from 12th century missives to 21st century emails—will have you weeping with laughter and recognition at the follies of the human heart.

In addition to Brian Cox, Hearts Aflame headliners will include Vincent Piazza (Boardwalk Empire, Jersey Boys), Sarah Clarke (Twilight, Bosch, 24), Holt McCallany (Mindhunter, The Losers, Fight Club), Xander Berkeley (The Walking Dead, Salem, 24), Emily Bergl (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Shameless, Desperate Housewives), Jihae (Mortal Engines, Altered Carbon), Spencer Garrett (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Mad Men), Nicole Ansari (The Blacklist, Deadwood), David Call (The Sinner, The Magicians), Liisi LaFontaine (London's West End Dream Girls, Broadway Bound Born for This), and Fernando Villegas (The Lesson, Off-Broadway).

The musical accompaniment will feature Jonathan Mastro on piano, Pedro Segundo on drums, and Teddy Motz on bass.

Hearts Aflame can be seen on Sunday, August 25 at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $40.

Guild Hall is located at 158 Main Street in East Hampton. For more information, visit wordtheatre.com.

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