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By Meredith Alloway · August 2, 2013
If you’ve seen a film, you’ve probably seen Brian Cox. He’s been in a slew of films such as Braveheart, Rob Roy, Troy, Zodiac, Rushmore, The Bourne Identity, The Rookie, Red, Red 2….just to name a few.
His latest film Blood, directed by Nick Murphy,has the veteran actor taking on the role of a former police chief who’s authority hangs heavy over his sons Robert (Mark Strong) and Joe (Paul Bettany). It’s a crime thriller charting the emotional turmoil of family.
I was lucky enough to have a few moments with Cox, allowing me to learn about how he preps for his emotional roles, what makes a good director, and his latest theatrical and film projects!
ATW: You’ve played some epic roles in your career. What drew you to Blood when you read the script?
C: It was an ensemble piece and there were some very good actors. I like Nick. He had a very strong idea about the film. He wanted to do it in a particular way.
ATW: You play Lenny, the overbearing former police chief father. What influences did you draw from when building that character?
C: The influences I have are my own life. My brother in law and then own brother had premature dementia. I’ve seen both ends of that which was distressing and that which was not. My brother’s case was comic. He was a little bit uncertain about where he was half the time in a funny way. My brother in law, it was slightly more disturbing. It was getting the measure of those things.
ATW: Considering you’re bringing those personal emotions to the role, how do you prepare on set?
C: It’s experience. It’s called pretending! You really just give yourself focus. You make sure there’s nothing getting in the way and you give yourself over to it. You make sure you’ve got nothing distracting you.
ATW: How was it working with Mark Strong and Paul Bettany?
C: It was great! Mark was a young actor when I was at the National Theatre. Paul, I did his second movie and he has matured enormously. Mark was always quite tough on himself. He’s come at it from that point of view. He’s a good actor and really does prepare. Paul has grown in stature and experience. What’s fun for me is to see the maturity of those actors and how they accrue that in the process.
ATW: This is Nick Murphy’s second feature film. How was working with a fairly new director different from say David Fincher or Woody Allen?
C: Nick is quite confident and he knows what he wants. He’s also relaxed about it. He doesn’t get himself in a panic. He’s a very good director. I like him as a man and an influence. The real test of a good director is how the set works and the balance of the thing. The more harmonious the better.
ATW: Are there any roles you still want to tackle? You’ve already played King Lear!
C: I don’t really deal in those types of things. I take things as they come. I’m very happy to be working, and I enjoy my work even more. There are a lot of things of happening, for the BBC and a play in London in the New Year. Variety!
ATW: Any new project you’re involved with?
C: I’m about to do a western with Donald Sutherland and Demi Moore! The film is called Redemption!
RLJ/Image Entertainment will distribute Blood in NYC, Los Angeles and top regional markets on August 9th! The film is out on VOD now!