Unlike patriarch Logan Roy in “Succession,” the HBO series star Brian Cox is not known for holding his tongue.
The 75-year-old actor is not shying away from expressing his personal and harsh views on major Hollywood stars such as Johnny Depp, Steven Seagal and Quentin Tarantino, among others, in his new memoir “Putting the Rabbit in the Hat,” which was released Thursday in the U.K.
USA TODAY received an advanced reader’s copy of the book, which is due out in the U.S. on Jan. 18.
The Emmy-winning actor, the first to play Dr. Hannibal Lecter on the big screen in 1986’s “Manhunter,” writes that he turned down a role to play the Governor in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise. Cox writes that the part “would have a money-spinner” but would have been “thankless” in the franchise “that’s very much the ‘Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow’ show.”
Cox then takes a jab at Depp, and his superstar-making role in Tim Burton’s beloved 1990 drama “Edward Scissorhands.”
Brian Cox on Johnny Depp: ‘Overblown, overrated’
“Personable though I’m sure he is,” Depp “is so overblown, so overrated,” Cox writes.
The actor continues: “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,” Cox adds, before pointing out Depp’s recent troubles in the aftermath of his tumultuous divorce from ex-wife Amber Heard. “They don’t love him so much these days of course.”
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Cox says Steven Seagal is ‘ludicrous in real life’
The Scottish actor goes further dissing his 1996 “The Glimmer Man” leading star Steven Seagal, writing the action star was “as ludicrous in real life as he appears onscreen.”
“He radiates a studied serenity, as though he’s on a higher plane to the rest of us.” writes Cox. “And while he’s certainly on a different plane, no doubt about that, it’s probably not a higher one.”
Cox adds that Seagal suffers from the “Donald Trump syndrome of thinking himself far more capable and talented than he actually is, seemingly oblivious to the fact that an army of people are helping to prop up his delusion.”
Cox had praise for director Spike Lee from their work in 2002’s “25th Hour,” referring to Lee as “simply one of the best directors I’ve ever worked with.”
But he didn’t feel the same about fellow “25th Hour” co-star Edward Norton, who Cox calls “a nice lad but a bit of a pain in the arse because he fancies himself as a writer-director.”
Cox has words about director Quentin Tarantino’s work, calls it ‘meretricious’
No one was spared in Cox’s memoir, not even American director Tarantino.
“I find his work meretricious. It’s all surface. Plot mechanics in place of depth. Style where there should be substance. I walked out of ‘Pulp Fiction,’ ” Cox writes, although he adds that he did sit through “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood.”
“… it wasn’t as bad as I’d feared, it still wasn’t good enough to convert me,” he writes.
While he claims to be a “Tarantino refusenik,” Cox writes he’d still star in a Tarantino movie. “If the phone rang, I’d do it.”
But Cox did have kind words for the late “Diehard” actor and “great friend” Alan Rickman. The “Succession” actor describes him as “one of the sweetest, kindest, nicest, and most incredibly smart men I’ve ever met.”
“Prior to acting, he’d been a graphic designer and he brought the considered, laser-like precision of that profession to his work,” he writes.
So what gives? Cox explained his memoir-writing philosophy to The Scottsman.
“You really have to tell the truth. Shoot the devil,” Cox said. “It was cathartic, necessary. It was important for me because I’ve reached a certain age and I wanted to look at certain things in the light of one’s experience and be as truthful as I could be. Of course, there are things I left out.”