A happy birthday to Brian Cox!

I couldn’t let June 1 go by without acknowledging the birthday of one of the coolest character actors around: Brian Cox!

Brian has had  a remarkable career and done many roles, including but not limited to: Agamemnon in Troy, the mean mutant-hating William Stryker in X-Men 2, the sleazy spy in the Bourne Identity, and the cantankerous Captain O’Hagan in Super Troopers.  Even when the movie itself isn’t great (cough, cough — Troy — cough, cough), Brian manages to make it worth watching.

One of my favorite of his roles, however, is also one of his earliest: he was the first actor to play Hannibal Lector, in the 1986 Michael Mann film Manhunter!  I still prefer Cox’s subtle, almost bored Lector to Anthony Hopkins’ over-the-top performance!

Anyway, happy birthday to Brian Cox, and here’s hoping for many more great performances from him!

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6 Responses to A happy birthday to Brian Cox!

  1. Markk says:

    For me he will always be Major Hogan from the Sharpe’s series with Sean Bean. “Oh I’ve drunk the cup…”, ” Means nothin to me either, thats why he the general…” and many other lines. “That’s what you pay me for sir” inhaling some snuff.

  2. Blake Stacey says:

    Hopkins’ performance degenerated with each successive instalment. His hammy delivery in Red Dragon was so atrocious it dragged the movie down. (I wish I could remember who the reviewer was who, in comparing Manhunter and Red Dragon, said that Ed Norton was the stronger lead actor cast in the weaker film, because I think that is pretty much spot-on.)

    • Blake: I would probably agree. One of the things I really liked about Manhunter, though, was the fact that its actors were all pretty much unknowns at the time. Somehow this made the film seem more edgy and “real-life” to me. In contrast, all the leads in Red Dragon were very famous, which broke some of the mood. To me, Tom Noonan was the “tooth fairy”; Ralph Fiennes was an actor playing the “tooth fairy”.

      • Blake Stacey says:

        That effect was slightly diminished for me because I saw Manhunter long after it came out, so I’d seen Joan Allen (for example) in other stuff earlier. But yes, good point.

  3. Markk says:

    Sharpe’s Rifles, Eagle and so on are a 1990’s BBC series about the Napoleonic wars, particularly the Peninsular war. It follows somewhat the novels by Bernard Cornwell. It is a classic British war story, son of a prostitute and rough guy sergeant Sharpe (Bean) saves Wellington’s life, gets promoted to officer and is snubbed by all the “gentleman” who are yet afraid of him because he is ferocious, ambitious and successful. Cox plays Michael Hogan Irish born intelligence officer for Wellington who uses Sharpe.

    Classic lines all over. “Whats the mark of a good soldier Sharpe?”,
    “A good soldier? The ability to fire three shots a minute – in any weather … sir”

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