Brian Cox Took A Job on ‘007: Road to a Million’ Because He Thought It Was A ‘James Bond’ Movie

Cox booked the Bond-inspired reality show thinking it was the real deal
Brian Cox Took A Job on ‘007: Road to a Million’ Because He Thought It Was A ‘James Bond’ Movie

Given that he is one of the U.K.’s most bombastic and respected stage and screen actors, I was surprised to learn that Brian Cox has never been in a James Bond film. So was he.

Following his universally praised powerhouse performance as the pitiless patriarch Logan Roy in HBO’s Succession, Cox’ next project is an odd one — it’s an Amazing Race-style reality contest show in which teams of two will undergo extreme challenges across the world inspired by the most famous spy franchise in entertainment. Cox will play “The Controller,” presumably the reality show equivalent of the classic bond character “M” and the domineering game master who will oversee the challenges and award the victors with £1,000,000.

In Wednesday’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy FallonCox explained his peculiar career move from prestige TV to Bond-inspired reality shlock, saying, “I thought it was the new James Bond film.” He’s going to find reality TV severely lacking in serious people.

“I said, Oh, finally theyre getting me in a James Bond movie,” Cox said of the moment he thought he would be joining the ranks of esteemed contemporaries such as Dame Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes and, of course, his fellow Scotsman, the immortal and often incomprehensible Sean Connery. Cox continued, “I thought, ‘Yes, of course! Show me the script!’ There was no script!”

No, 007: Road to a Million will not be a devilishly stylish, painstakingly devised entry in arguably the most esteemed and respected film franchise in the history of the U.K. Instead, it will be a derivative take on a tired reality show format that will undoubtedly shoehorn in as many references to the classic movies as their licensing agreement allows. Though the show is produced by the many power brokers of the Ian Fleming empire, its essentially the same “do something extreme in a visually interesting setting” formula that so many competition shows have already exhausted. 

Cox further explained his disappointment, telling Fallon, “For years I thought, ‘Yeah, Id love to be a James Bond villain. Itd be really interesting.' And I thought, ‘This is my moment,’” soberly admitting, “But it wasnt.” Undoubtedly, Cox talents are worthy of any role, and Id rather see him as any antagonist from Auric Goldfinger to Dr. No instead of as the taskmaster for a bunch of CrossFit enthusiasts who used up all their PTO to jump out of a helicopter in the Himalayas just so they could be on TV.

Though Cox insists he was happy to take his new gig, calling 007: Road to a Million “great fun,” I wonder if this competition show is the universe (and Cox agent) punishing the veteran for absolutely pantsing his Succession co-star Jeremy Strong every chance he got. After all, whats more method than reality?

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