Brian Cox blasts Joaquin Phoenix’s Napoleon portrayal as ‘truly terrible’

Brian Cox has slammed Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of Napoleon as “truly terrible”.

The outspoken actor, 77, who has spent years sharing his fiery views on other actors’ personalities, behaviour on set and performances, also declared he could have played the part of the French Emperor a “lot better” than 49-year-old ‘Gladiator’ star Joaquin.

He said during a live talk hosted by the Evening Standard about Joaquin’s portrayal: “It’s terrible. A truly terrible performance by Joaquin Phoenix. It really is appalling. I don’t know what he was thinking.”

Brian added he was convinced Joaquin’s Napoleon performance was also the fault of the film’s 86-year-old director Ridley Scott.

He said: “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.”

Brian went on to joke about Joaquin’s name, adding: “I think he’s well named. Joaquin … whackeen… whacky. It’s a sort of whacky performance.”

‘Napoleon’, produced by Apple Original Films and distributed by Sony Pictures, was released in November 2023.

It sees Joaquin play Napoleon Bonaparte as he grapples with his rise to power amid his tortured relationship with his wife Joséphine Bonaparte, played by 35-year-old Vanessa Kirby.

The film reportedly grossed over $200 million globally and landed several Oscar nominations including best visual effects, best costume design and best production design.

Brian, most recently famed for playing foul-mouthed media mogul Logan Roy in ‘Succession’, also took aim at theatre critics who compared his role in the hit TV show to his lead performance in the West End production of ‘Long Day’s Journey Into Night’, currently running in London.

He blasted: “It’s stupid! Why make that comparison? It’s so obvious. Most critics are stupid. They really are.

“Theatre criticism has gone right down the tubes. You think of those wonderful critics of the past, there’s nobody to match them now. Because they don’t do their homework.”

Former US president Donald Trump, 77, was also targeted by Brian, who said his days of living in America would come to an end of the former reality TV show judge regained power in this November’s elections in America.

He said: “It’s very hard to govern America and you certainly don’t need idiots like Trump doing that.

“I do think that (US president Joe) Biden is a good man but he’s too old.”