Celebrities are just hard-working actors who earned recognition, Brian Cox says

Brian Cox has dismissed suggestions that West End theatres are increasingly being dominated by celebrities instead of thespians.

The Scottish actor, known for the hit HBO show Succession, is starring in Eugene O’Neill’s family drama Long Day’s Journey Into Night opposite Sharp Objects actress Patricia Clarkson at London’s Wyndham’s Theatre.

Cox was asked on BBC One’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme about the casting of high-profile actors such as Sex And The City star Sarah Jessica Parker and her husband Matthew Broderick, who played the title role in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

The couple are acting in Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite at the Savoy Theatre, amid criticism of the casting of celebrities and the impact this has on ticket prices.

Serpentine Gallery Summer Party – London
Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker (Ian West/PA)

Several websites offer cheaper theatre tickets for London shows for around £10 or £20 but some productions, such as Plaza Suite, have seen reports of prices in excess of £100.

Cox said: “It depends what you mean by celebrity. It’s people who’ve (earned) their spurs as actors. I’ve done a fair amount over the years in theatre and so had she (Clarkson).”

He also agreed with US actress Clarkson, who said Parker – whose Plaza Suite performance has earned an Olivier Award nomination  – had done “tremendous amounts of theatre and is fabulous”.

The 94th Academy Awards – Vanity Fair Party – Los Angeles
Patricia Clarkson (Doug Peters/PA)

Cox, 77, who has won two Olivier Awards, also said: “(It’s) a kind of nonsense in a way, celebrities.

“Half the journalists don’t know what the f*** they’re talking about half the time, quite frankly, they really don’t.

“They really don’t.. they make it up. You know, it’s like easy copy.

“Oh, yeah, ‘celebrities’. What does that mean? You know, they’re hard-working actors who’ve earned their celebrity… through what they’ve done over (years)… I’ve been doing this for 60 years, for god’s sake.”

He was also questioned about claims his Succession co-star Sarah Snook said she could not tell if Cox “flying into rages” on set was real or acting.

Cox, who played foul-mouthed global media tycoon and family patriarch Logan Roy in the show opposite Snook as his competitive daughter, said: “I mean, that was to wake people up.

“You know, you’ve got to do that to wake people up because people become so kind of blind and so passe about what they’re doing.

“You know, there’s a way of doing that by being so self-absorbed, you’ve got to say ‘wake up’.”

Australian actress Snook has also been nominated for an Olivier this year, for her one-woman show of The Picture Of Dorian Gray at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.