Brian Cox, the Scottish actor known for playing formidable media baron Logan Roy on HBO’s “Succession,” is making his directorial debut in film with “Glenrothan.” The project is being co-developed by Lionsgate and London-based “Keeping Faith” producer Nevision.
The Emmy, Golden Globe and Olivier Award-winning “Succession” actor will also star in the film, which is billed as a “love letter to Scotland.” The project marks the second time Cox is going behind the camera: He previously directed an episode of HBO series “Oz” in 2000.
“Glenrothan” is set in a distillery town in the Scottish Highlands, and tells the story of two estranged brothers reuniting in the land of their birth. The last time they spoke was on the day of their mother’s funeral when, following a violent exchange with their father, the younger of the two left their Highland home for America. Forty years later, the brothers finally reunite, back on Scottish soil and in the village that houses the family business — the Glenrothan Distillery.
The film’s setting is likely inspired by Scotland’s Glenrothes distillery, which was founded in 1879 and is best known for its single malt Scotch whiskey.
The project was created by acclaimed Scottish actor and writer David Ashton (“McLevy”) and co-written with award-winning screenwriter Jeff Murphy (“Hinterland”). Lionsgate U.K. head of development and acquisitions Emma Berkofsky is developing the film with Nevision creative director for scripted Neil Zeiger, who will also produce. Nevision’s James Cabourne will executive produce.
“’Glenrothan’ is my homage to the elements that make Scotland such an extraordinary country, where vibrancy and majesty of the land is expressed through passion and desire — balanced by the Scot’s deep-rooted humor and grasp of the absurd,” said Cox. “I want to make a film which combines all the elements, to show my own deep love for the homeland.”
Zeiger added: “’Glenrothan’ was conceived with Brian in mind. Without question he is one of the most powerful actors of his generation. However, having worked with him in front of the camera, I knew that his extensive knowledge and vision would elevate the film even further were he to also direct the movie. Emma Berkofsky at Lionsgate agreed, and an exciting collaboration was born. Personally, I’m thrilled to be working with Brian again.”
Lionsgate’s Berkofsky said: “We loved the idea of Brian making a film about two estranged brothers forced to come together to save the family whiskey distillery. It’s a heartwarming story which shows it’s never too late to make amends — we couldn’t be more excited to bring his vision to the big screen.”
Much like his “Succession” character Logan Roy, Cox was also born in Dundee, Scotland. He won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of the cantankerous family patriarch in 2020.
The actor has appeared regularly in film and television since 1965. His feature film debut was 1971’s “Nicholas and Alexandra” and he played Dr. Hannibal Lecktor in 1986’s “Manhunter.” He shot to stardom in the mid-1990s thanks to roles in “Rob Roy” and “Braveheart,” and his film credits include “The Bourne Identity” (2002), “The Ring” (2002), “X-Men 2” (2003), “Troy” (2004), “The Bourne Supremacy” (2004), “Zodiac” (2007), “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (2011) and “Churchill” (2017).
In television, Cox won an Emmy Award and received a Golden Globe nomination in 2001 for his portrayal of Hermann Göring in “Nuremberg” and he received a further Emmy nomination in 2002 for his guest role on “Frasier.” Other TV credits include the BBC’s “War & Peace” and “The Negotiator,” NBC’s “The Slap” and HBO’s “Deadwood.”
Cox is represented by Paradigm, Insight Entertainment and Conway Van Gelder Grant.