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Steven Seagal Is "Ludicrous in Real Life," Co-Star Brian Cox Said

The Succession actor slammed his one-time co-star in his brutally honest memoir.

Like his character Logan Roy on the acclaimed HBO series Succession, 76-year-old actor Brian Cox is not one to mince words, and his candid criticisms have been aimed at many of his fellow actors. Recently, his new comments about Method acting, famously practiced by co-star Jeremy Strong, have raised some eyebrows. ("It's crap," the older star said about the process, among other things.) But harshly stated takes about other performers are nothing novel for Cox, who included many unvarnished opinions of people he's worked with or come across in his long career in his 2021 autobiography, Putting the Rabbit in the Hat. Among some of his more jaw-dropping statements, he called out 1990s co-star Steven Seagal as being "as ludicrous in real life" as he is in his movies. Cox worked with the action star just once, but it evidently left an impression. Read on to find out more about their collaboration and why Seagal rubbed the Scottish actor the wrong way.

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Brian Cox has been acting professionally for more than 60 years.

Brian Cox in 1971
Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Cox started pursuing performance early and was a professional theater actor by the time he turned 14 years old. His first TV credit was an appearance in The Wednesday Play in 1965, and he's been working steadily ever since across feature films, TV series, theatrical productions, and even a couple of video games. Over his long and storied career, he's tackled everything from Shakespeare to Doctor Who and the X-Men franchise. His willingness to appear in both highbrow projects and popcorn fare have led him to act opposite co-stars as different as Daniel Day-Lewis in The Boxer and the Broken Lizard comedy troupe in the cult classic Super Troopers. Cox has an Emmy award for the 2000 miniseries Nuremberg and a Golden Globe for Succession.

He's worked with nearly everyone in Hollywood—and has an opinion about all of them.

Brian Cox in 2023
Lia Toby/Getty Images

Cox's memoir is filled with stories from various sets and his impressions of fellow actors and directors who he's met along the way.

He has fond memories of some colleagues. Cox calls the late Alan Rickman, who he worked with the in 1980 miniseries Thérèse Raquin, "one of the sweetest, kindest, nicest, and most incredibly smart men" he has known, for example. But others in the industry do not fare as well in his book. To Cox, Johnny Depp is "overblown" and "overrated," while his 25th Hour co-star Edward Norton is "a nice lad, but a bit of a pain in the [expletive]."

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He worked with Seagal on a 1996 flop.

Cox only worked with Seagal, who is known for his action and martial arts movies, once in his career. The two somewhat unlikely coworkers were both in 1996's The Glimmer Man, a buddy-cop action comedy starring Seagal (also a producer on the film) and Keenen Ivory Wayans. Cox played "Mr. Smith," a shadowy ex-CIA operative with connections to the serial killer the detectives are tracking.

Unlike Seagal's films Under Siege and Executive DecisionThe Glimmer Man was not a box office success, bringing in just over $20 million worldwide. And critics hated it, with Variety's review declaring the movie "a hopelessly slow-moving slow-witted shaggy-dog tale."

Cox called Seagal "ludicrous."

Steven Seagal in 2014
Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

In The Glimmer Man, Seagal plays a former CIA officer turned police detective who got his nickname from killing his targets before they saw more than a "glimmer" of him and has since become a Buddhist. And the action star's real-life persona is as big as some of his characters'. The actor is, among other things, a vocal Vladimir Putin supporter, the purveyor of his own energy drink, and the target of several sexual harassment and assault allegations. He's also not particularly well-liked in the industry. In 1991, Lorne Michaels banned him from Saturday Night Live after he hosted, later calling Seagal "the biggest jerk" to have guested on the sketch show. John Leguizamo, who appeared in Executive Decision with the Russian actor, revealed that he based his "washed up" movie star character in 2022's The Menu on Seagal. He has alleged that Seagal attacked him on the set of their 1996 film, calling him "a bully."

Cox was not a fan either, writing the biting comment in his memoir that "Steven Seagal is as ludicrous in real life as he appears on screen." He also seems to poke fun at Seagal's Buddhist beliefs (yes, his Glimmer Man character is based on him in that sense), saying, "He radiates a studied serenity, as though he's on a higher plane to the rest of us, and while he's certainly on a different plane, no doubt about that, it's probably not a higher one."

This evidently came into play filming The Glimmer Man, as another co-star, Stephen Tobolowsky explained in a 2015 interview with Cut. He claimed that Seagal decided on the first day of filming that, because of his spiritual beliefs, he didn't want his character to kill anyone, as was scripted. Tobolowsky convinced the star that his serial killer character would be able to "transcend into a better life" if Seagal's character killed him, after which he agreed to do the scene.

Ani Bundel
Ani Bundel is an entertainment writer covering everything from celebrities to movies to peak TV. Read more
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