Brian Cox Has ‘Always Wanted to Play a Bond Villain’



Brian Cox said he jumped at the chance to play the mysterious figure of the Controller in upcoming James Bond-themed gameshow “007: Road to a Million.”

When asked why he joined the series, which sees real people competing for a £1 million ($1.2 million) by taking part in heart-stopping physical challenges worthy of the fictional spy, Cox deadpanned: “They paid me an enormous amount of money. And that’s always very attractive.”

But the “Succession” star added that he has always wanted to join the 007 franchise and said when the job offer first came in he assumed it was to play the villain in the next Bond feature film. “I thought ‘Oh, 007, finally,’” he said. “I should have realized that haven’t got a new James Bond so why would they be casting a villain? But I thought: ‘This might be my big moment to play a Bond villain.’ I’ve always wanted to play a Bond villain.”

Longtime Bond producer Barbara Broccoli, who joined Cox on the black carpet at the premiere of “007: Road to a Million” in London on Thursday evening, said Cox would also have made an excellent spy. “He would have been a great Bond,” she said. “He’s amazing and audiences love him and he’s so great in the show.”

The series, which was conceived and produced by Fremantle company 72 Films, is the first time the Bond IP has ever been used outside of feature films. “We’re always very protective of Bond,” Broccoli said. “It wasn’t so much about the time being right [to do a TV show]. It was about the concept being right. 72 Films approached us, we loved the concept and we thought we’d give it a go. And judging by the reaction, I think we got it right.”

“007: Road to a Million” sees Cox control the fate of nine pairs of wannabe Bonds as they participate in a range of challenges using helicopters, snakes, fast cars, scuba diving gear and even a tarantula. Once the contestants have completed the terrifying challenges set by Cox (which take place across a range of locations from the Scottish Highlands to Jamaica) they must correctly answer a question to get through to the next round; one wrong move and their adventure is over. “It’s pretty dramatic, actually, what they have to go through in there,” Cox said.

On the black carpet Cox revealed his favorite Bonds were Sean Connery and Roger Moore. “I always loved Roger Moore because Roger Moore was so witty,” said Cox. “Bond got less witty as he went on and became quite serious. I was in the Bourne films and I think the Bourne films may have had an effect on the Bond [films]. I’m not sure.”

The actor was also happy to chat about another previous role: his now iconic turn in “Succession” as foul-mouthed media mogul Logan Roy (at one point there were peals of laughter on the red carpet after a reporter convinced Cox to shout “Shut the fuck up”), especially since the “007” launch took place just hours after a Fox Corp quarterly earnings call revealed that Rupert Murdoch is still “very involved” with the business despite ostensibly stepping back in September.

“He will never step down,” Cox said. But he added his Logan Roy character was never actually based on the Fox founder, despite what people have assumed. “I really keep telling people, it was nothing to do with Murdoch. Logan Roy and Murdoch are two entirely different people. Murdoch inherited his wealth; Logan Roy is a self made man. That’s the big difference and therefore there’s a whole different thing. It isn’t really isn’t about the Murdoch family. [“Succession” creator] Jesse Armstrong I think would attest to that.”

“I think he got caught by it but that was his problem,” Cox added. “People over-identified. Everybody told him ‘It’s based on you Rupert’ and he went, ‘Oh, God, is it based on me?’ Well, it wasn’t.”

A second season of “007: Road to a Million,” which launches on Prime Video on Nov. 10, is already in the works, with Broccoli fully behind it. But the Eon Productions executive added that fans shouldn’t expect to see 007 himself on the small screen anytime soon. When asked whether there are plans for more Bond-inspired TV shows, she replied: “I don’t think so. I think it’s the big cinema screen basically. This has been a lot of fun and we’d love this to continue but I think that’s probably it.”

As for the next instalment of the Bond film franchise, that may take a little longer now that Daniel Craig has officially hung up his tuxedo. “It’s gonna take a while for us to get — you know, it’s a whole new reinvention,” Broccoli told Variety. “So it’ll take some time.”


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