Brian Cox Turned Down the Role of Robert Baratheon on Game of Thrones

A game of "boar on the floor" would have ended very differently in the Game of Thrones universe.
A game of "boar on the floor" would have ended very differently in the Game of Thrones universe. / Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Brian Cox is famous these days for playing the indomitable Logan Roy on Succession, but he’s had a long career and worked with a lot of notable people. He talked about a bunch of them in his memoir Putting the Rabbit in the Hat, which made some waves. To wit, he called Johnny Depp “overrated,” Steven Seagal “ludicrous in real life,” and Edward Norton “a nice lad but a bit of a pain in the arse because he fancies himself a writer-director.”

Clearly, Cox is not one to mince words, something he has in common with Logan. He also writes about some of his many experiences in show business, including the time he was offered a part on Game of Thrones but turned it down.

He recalls that particular story in a book excerpt published by GQ. “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,” Cox wrote. “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.” He continued:

"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. 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.)"

Addy is also much closer in age to Sean Bean (Ned Stark), whereas Cox is over 10 years older, so it might have been hard to buy those two are childhood friends and war buddies.

Brian Cox Was Passed Over For a Role in Harry Potter

Cox never got the chance to turn down a role for another major franchise: Harry Potter. Instead, he was passed over for a role in what he referred to as “Harry F**king Potter.” He wrote:

“I think someone had a burning cross held up for me not to be in Harry Potter, because all my pals were in it ... I think the part I might have played was the one that Brendan Gleeson got, Mad-Eye Moody, but Brendan was more in fashion than I was at that point, and that’s very much the way of the world in my business, so he got it. Also, he’s much better than I would have been.”