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Brian Cox reveals he turned down role of Robert Baratheon in ‘Game Of Thrones’

The 'Succession' actor also rejected opportunities to star in 'Harry Potter' and 'Pirates Of The Caribbean'

By Charlotte Krol

Brian Cox poses in a Carafe scarf
Cox has been forthright on politics in recent months. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Dmitry Rozhkov)

Brian Cox has finally confirmed which role he turned down in ‘Game Of Thrones’.

The ‘Succession’ star had spoken previously about his regret declining an offer to play a character in the hit HBO fantasy drama series but hadn’t revealed which character – until now.

In an excerpt taken from the actor’s memoir ‘Putting The Rabbit In The Hat’, published in GQ today (January 14), the actor said that he was offered the role of King Robert I Baratheon, the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms.

“I’m often asked if I was offered a role in ‘Game Of Thrones’ – reason being that every other bugger was – and the answer is, yes, I was supposed to be a king called Robert Baratheon, who apparently died when he was gored by a boar in the first season,” reads part of the excerpt.

“I know very little about ‘Game Of Thrones’ so I can’t tell you whether or not he was an important character, and I’m not going to google it just in case he was, because I turned it down.

“Why? Well, ‘Game Of Thrones’ went on to be a huge success and everybody involved earned an absolute fortune, of course. But when it was originally offered the money was not all that great, shall we say say. Plus I was going to be killed off fairly early on, so I wouldn’t have had any of the benefits of the long-term effects of a successful series where your wages go up with each passing season. So I passed on it, and Mark Addy was gored by the boar instead. (I lied. I did google it).”

Mark Addy went on to eventually portray King Baratheon.

In a 2016 interview with Vodzilla Cox revealed that he had become a complete ‘Game Of Thrones’ “addict”.

“Well, stupidly, I turned it down in the early days because they didn’t pay enough money [laughs],” he told the publication at the time. “Now they have more money. And I was silly. I was silly, it was silly, because I’m a complete addict now,” he said.

Additionally, Cox wrote in his memoir that he also turned down roles in other fantasy TV and film franchises including ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean’ and, in his own words, “Harry fucking Potter”.

“It would have been a money-spinner,” Cox wrote of the ‘Pirates…’ opportunity, “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 also went on to criticise the ‘Pirates…’ franchise as focusing too much on Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow caricature.

“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.

“I mean, ‘Edward Scissorhands’. Let’s face it, if you come on with hands like that and pale, scarred-face make-up, you don’t have to do anything. And he didn’t. And subsequently, he’s done even less.”

Brian Cox’s memoir ‘Putting The Rabbit In The Hat’ is slated for release this month.