Brian Cox has maneuvered over four decades of acting while remaining a bit anonymous from one role to the next. Or at least that was the case until his star turn as Logan Roy, the stentorian patriarch at the center of HBO’s Succession. Now it is hard to separate Cox from his character. His way of delivering the delicious insults of the show’s scripts are both frightening and hilarious–as is his way of punctuating a scene with two simple words: “Fuc& Off.”
Look, we try to keep swearing to a minimum on this site, but Cox does wonders with that phrase. Just watch one of the many supercuts of Logan Roy saying it, and hear a master at work.
So the clip above, from a UK event series called Letters Live, shows why Cox is a perfect fit to read Hunter S. Thompson’s letter to a certain Dave Allen, director of programming at the writer’s local network affiliate, KREX-TV. Allen had taken the CBS news off the local station, and Thompson was having none of it.
Thompson wrote many blistering, profanity-laden letters from his Colorado home. The above was collected in Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in America: The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist (Gonzo Letters, Volume II, 1968-1976). Allen joins a list of recipients of Thompson’s venom that includes his editor at Random House, Loren Jenkins of Newsweek, Paul Gorman of WBAI-FM, and many others, most of whom owed him money for this or that writing assignment.
Letters Live keeps its epistles short, and Brian Cox acts out Thompson’s short note, pouring contempt through every turn of phrase.
The project’s YouTube channel offers many other letters from history, read by actors like Olivia Coleman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Stephen Fry, Matt Berry, Carey Mulligan, Gillian Anderson, Ian McKellen, and many more. It’s worth checking out, especially if historical swearing is your thing.
Ted Mills is a freelance writer on the arts who currently hosts the Notes from the Shed podcast and is the producer of KCRW’s Curious Coast. You can also follow him on Twitter at @tedmills, and/or watch his films here.