Brian Cox Basically Does His ‘Adaptation’ Speech When He Complains About Method Acting on ‘Succession’
The Adam McKay and Will Ferrell-produced prestige dramedy Succession is about to start its fourth and final season this Sunday, which means that Brian Cox has at least three more months of being pestered about how much he fucking hates method acting.
Cox’ demeanor in interviews could be described as “blunt” in about the same way that the first seconds of a solar eclipse can be called “bright,” and his constant criticism of his co-star Jeremy Strong's insistence on staying in character throughout filming has been a hot-button topic in every one of Cox’ media appearances over the past few months. Last night, Cox, a classically-trained theater actor who begrudgingly began an acclaimed film and television career, appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to flaunt his hatred of the “American disease” that compels Strong to practice method acting at all times during the making of Succession. Cox unveiled his pre-recorded acting “master class” composed of a single tip: “Just fucking do it! Act! Say the fucking lines, and don’t bump into the fucking furniture.”
This isn’t the first time that Cox has “taught” a “class” on how artists can make their art without being a pretentious snot. In fact, it’s not even the first time he’s taught it to an actor who practices some form of method acting — Nicolas Cage got an earful over 20 years ago in Adaptation.
The Spike Jonze-directed, Charlie Kaufman-written film saw Cage play a sniveling, self-loathing screenwriter named, well, Charlie Kaufman. Cage’s Kaufman watches his confident, less-serious brother (also played by Cage) succeed in selling a clichéd spec script for a huge payday while Charlie himself struggles to adapt the book The Orchid Thief for the screen. If that sounds mildly convoluted, then I am severely underselling Adaptation.
Charlie attempts to overcome his writer’s block by attending a seminar hosted by real-life story consultant Robert McKee, played by the incomparable Cox, who lambasts Charlie’s navel-gazing and his heady, boring approach to storytelling. Cox’ acting advice given freely on The Tonight Show sounds, itself, like an adaptation of his Adaptation diatribe. At its heart, his advice to Strong and Charlie on the topic of making art is essentially, “Get your head out of your fucking ass, and do your fucking job, you fuck.”
In the 20 years since the release of Adaptation, Cox has substantially cut down the word count in his invaluable advice while simultaneously adding many repetitions of his favorite expletive — what used to take multiple minutes has been condensed to a dozen or so profane seconds. If the ever-direct Cox wanted to get to the point even quicker, he might as well just adapt the work of modern philosophy and shoe company Nike and tell Strong, “Just fucking do it.”