Brian Cox Calls Johnny Depp ‘Overblown,’ Says He Turned Down ‘Pirates’ and ‘Game of Thrones’

Cox gets candid in his new memoir about rejecting high-profile projects like "Game of Thrones," which he said didn't pay enough.
Brian Cox attends HBO's "Succession" season 3 premiere at the American Museum of Natural History on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
Brian Cox
Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

“Succession” star Brian Cox’s long-awaited memoir “Putting the Rabbit in the Hat” is finally hitting shelves on January 18, and if the latest excerpt in Esquire is any indication, this will be a juicy tome. While fans were already treated to pieces of Cox’s brutally honest book back in the fall, a new selection reveals even more Hollywood screed — and why he turned down high-profile projects like “Game of Thrones” and the “Pirates of the Caribbean” film series. (Via Variety.)

“I’m often asked if I was offered a role in ‘Game of Thrones’ — reason being that every other bugger was — and the answer is, yes, I was supposed to be a king called Robert Baratheon, who apparently died when he was gored by a boar in the first season,” Cox wrote. (That role on the fantasy series went to Mark Addy.) “I know very little about ‘Game of Thrones’ so I can’t tell you whether or not he was an important character, and I’m not going to Google it just in case he was, because I turned it down.”

Cox said that he turned down “Game of Thrones” because the money was “not at all great,” and because his character wasn’t going to last long.

“Why? Well, ‘Game of Thrones’ went on to be a huge success and everybody involved earned an absolute fortune, of course. But when it was originally offered the money was not all that great, shall we say. Plus I was going to be killed off fairly early on, so I wouldn’t have had any of the benefits of the long-term effects of a successful series where your wages go up with each passing season. So I passed on it, and Mark Addy was gored by the boar instead.”

There’s another franchise project Cox turned down: Disney’s massive “Pirates” films. “I turned my nose up at the part of the Governor in the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean franchise,’ a role that was eventually played by Jonathan Pryce.”

He wrote, “The guy who directed ‘Pirates’ was Gore Verbinski, with whom I made ‘The Ring,’ and he’s a lovely chap but I think I blotted my copybook by turning down the Governor. It would have been a money-spinner, but of all the parts in that film it was the most thankless, plus I would have ended up doing it for film after film and missed out on all the other nice things I’ve done.”

But Cox’s reason for rejecting the Governor role also had a bit to do with the creative personnel on board.

“Another thing with ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ is that it’s very much the ‘Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow’ show, and Depp, personable though I’m sure he is, is so overblown, so overrated,” Cox wrote. “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. But people love him. Or they did love him. They don’t love him so much these days, of course.”

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