Brian Cox calls Joaquin Phoenix’s Napoleon performance “terrible” and “wacky”

Brian Cox has come after Joaquin Phoenix and his Napoleon performance, calling it “terrible” and saying he could do better.

Last Updated on April 25, 2024

Brian Cox Napoleon

Napoleon may have lost at Waterloo, but Joaquin Phoenix has lost to Brian Cox. Cox – who has been no stranger to speaking his mind on just about any topic that irks him – has now targeted Ridley Scott’s Napoleon, particularly calling out the lead performance of Joaquin Phoenix. Go on, Brian, give ‘em the “Logan Roy” – you know what we’re talking about!

Speaking at HistFest in London (via The Standard), Brian Cox lashed out at Napoleon, saying it was “Terrible. It’s terrible. A truly terrible performance by Joaquin Phoenix. It really is appalling. I don’t know what he was thinking. I think it’s totally his fault and I don’t think Ridley Scott helps him. I would have played it a lot better than Joaquin Phoenix, I tell you that. You can say it’s good drama. No – it’s lies.” Cox would go on to take yet another swipe at method acting – something Phoenix has experimented with – by saying, “That’s all bollocks. It’s a kind of nonsense. We’re transmitters. That’s what we are as actors. We transmit energy.” While there was evidently no “energy” in Phoenix’s interpretation of Napoleon Bonaparte, Cox did at least have some fun with his unique name. “I think he’s well named. Joaquin…whackeen… whacky. It’s a sort of whacky performance.”

Brian Cox would go on to blast another historical epic, Braveheart. While he praised Mel Gibson – a curious choice not to call “wacky”… – he called the movie “a load of lies. He never impregnated the French princess. It is a bollocks [sic] that film.” So who’s brave enough to tell Cox about all of the historical inaccuracies in Troy?

Brian Cox is a particularly cantankerous dude overall it seems, but this is really something. He has every right to put any fellow actor to task, but to say he would do better in the role – presumably decades prior, although maybe Cox legitimately thinks he could have nailed the part at 77 – is at another level. Call it arrogance or just not being hip to Phoenix’s style, but the man is not having any of it. Of note, Brian Cox and Joaquin Phoenix share credit on Spike Jonze’s Her, although the former only has a voice role.

What do you think of Brian Cox’s comments about Joaquin Phoenix and Napoleon?

Source: The Standard

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Mathew is an East Coast-based writer and film aficionado who has been working with periodically since 2006. When he’s not writing, you can find him on Letterboxd or at a local brewery. If he had the time, he would host the most exhaustive The Wonder Years rewatch podcast in the universe.