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‘Succession’ Star Brian Cox Turned Down ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Due to ‘Overrated’ Johnny Depp

Succession' Star Brian Cox: Johnny Depp Is 'Overrated' In 'Pirates' Films
Brian Cox and Johnny Depp. Marion Curtis/StarPix/HBO Max/Shutterstock; BabiradPicture/Shutterstock

A pirate’s life was not for him. Before his award-winning role on Succession, Brian Cox turned down a role in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise — because he didn’t want to work with Johnny Depp.

Related: 'Succession' Family Tree: A Guide to the Roy Family

The actor, 75, revealed in a passage from his upcoming memoir, Pulling a Rabbit Out of a Hat, that he was offered the part of the governor in the first Pirates film, a role that eventually went to Jonathan Pryce. “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,” Cox explained, via an excerpt in GQ.

However, there was one more reason why Cox decided to pass on the franchise — namely, his would-be costar, Depp, 58. “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,” he wrote.

Related: Stars Who Turned Down Major Roles

Depp played Captain Jack Sparrow in five films, beginning in 2003 with The Curse of the Black Pearl, and most recently, in 2017’s Dead Men Tell No Tales. A prequel film based on the character has been in the works since 2018, and though the studio announced plans to recast the role with a younger actor, many fans have petitioned to have Depp return as Jack Sparrow in the future.

The HBO star has never been one to hold back his thoughts about his fellow actors. In December 2021, Cox even shared his concerns about costar Jeremy Strong‘s intense method acting. “The result that Jeremy gets is always pretty tremendous. I just worry about what he does to himself. I worry about the crises he puts himself through in order to prepare,” Cox told New York magazine in a viral article about his onscreen son’s process.

Cox clarified his comments about Strong, 42, shortly afterward, explaining that he doesn’t want to see the younger actor burn himself out.

“The thing about Jeremy’s approach is it works in terms of what comes out the other end,” Cox said during an appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers. “He’s a pretty unique individual. But he does get obsessed with the work. And I worry about what it does to him, because if you can’t separate yourself — because you’re dealing with all of this material every day. You can’t live in it. Eventually, you get worn out.”

He continued by making a comparison to another famed method actor. “Like, to me, Daniel Day-Lewis got worn out at 55 and decided to retire because [he] couldn’t go on doing that every day. It’s too consuming. And I do worry about it. But the result — what everyone says about Jeremy — the result is always extraordinary and excellent,” he told Meyers.

Related: Everything to Know About Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's Court Battle

Cox and Strong play Logan and Kendall Roy, respectively, on the hit HBO drama. Both actors have earned acclaim for their performances in Succession, including a Golden Globe for Cox and an Emmy award for Strong in 2020. The latter recently took home the Golden Globe for Best Television Actor — Drama series at the 2022 ceremony in early January.

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