Brian Cox Pulls Zero Punches When It Comes To Joaquin Phoenix's 'Appalling' Napoleon Performance

Brian Cox
Brian Cox Dave Benett via Getty Images

Brian Cox’s assessment of Joaquin Phoenix’s performance in Napoleon was always Logan Roy-esque in its bluntness.

Earlier this week, the Succession star put in an appearance at HitFest where he was interviewed by BBC News anchor Clive Myrie.

When the conversation turned to Ridley Scott’s recent Napoleon biopic – which divided opinion upon its release last year – the Emmy winner made his feelings clear.

“It’s terrible,” Brian said, as reported by the Evening Standard. “A truly terrible performance by Joaquin Phoenix. It really is appalling. I don’t know what he was thinking.

“I think it’s totally his fault and I don’t think Ridley Scott helps him. I would have played it a lot better than Joaquin Phoenix, I tell you that. You can say it’s good drama. No – it’s lies.”

Joaquin Phoenix in character as Napoleon
Joaquin Phoenix in character as Napoleon Apple

He added of Napoleon’s Oscar-winning star: “I think he’s well-named. Joaquin…wha-keen... wacky. It’s a sort of wacky performance.”

Brian was similarly critical of another historical drama, 1995’s Braveheart, branding it “a load of nonsense” and “a bollocks” (although he did praise Mel Gibson’s “wonderful” performance in the lead role).

Mel Gibson in Braveheart
Mel Gibson in Braveheart IconIcon/Ladd Co/Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock

And as for Method acting, the controversial technique employed by his former co-star Jeremy Strong?

“Oh no that’s all bollocks. It’s a kind of nonsense,” he insisted. “We’re transmitters. That’s what we are as actors. We transmit energy.”

During a Town & Country magazine interview last year, Brian was similarly critical of Method acting, insisting his “fucking gifted” colleague should “celebrate [his] gift” and “go back to [his] trailer and have a hit of marijuana” rather than putting himself through so much in the name of acting.

“It’s fucking annoying, don’t get me going on it…” he said of Jeremy’s technique.