Brian Cox on his favourite James Bond and why the Bourne films switched it up

Succession star Brian Cox may be better known for his villainous roles, but James Bond co-magnate Barbara Broccoli thinks he would have made a great 007.

Broccoli told Sky News: "He's one of the greatest actors ever. I would just say he would have been a great Bond."

Despite never getting the chance to test out that theory, the Scottish star is now hosting a new action gameshow based on the franchise.

Notoriously protective of its assets, the Bond producers say 007: Road To A Million - which takes 18 everyday people through a series of Bond inspired challenges - was tempting enough to make an exception.

Broccoli says: "We loved the contestants, and we loved the concept. So, we gave it a go."

Nine pairs of contestants travel the world to answer 10 questions - all in the hope of winning a £1m cash prize.

The couples come from all walks of life - including brothers, a husband and wife, a father and son, and ex-cops and nurses - and locations include Brazil, Chile, Switzerland and Jamaica.

So, what was the draw for Cox?

He tells Sky News: "I've always liked Bond… For me, it's Sean Connery and Roger Moore. Those are my Bonds, my generation. Of course, it's been carried on brilliantly, and Dan [Daniel Craig] did a great job."

The influence of the Bourne films

Despite never acting in a Bond movie himself, he says one of his past projects definitely had an impact on the franchise.

"They were very influenced by the Bourne films which I was in, and that kind of seemed to change Bond up a little bit."

Cox played corrupt CIA operative Ward Abbott in 2002's The Bourne Identity and 2004's The Bourne Supremacy.

Now of course, he's perhaps best known for playing the monstrous patriarch at the head of Waystar Royco in Succession.

He admits playing The Controller in 007: Road To A Million was "a little bit" bit like playing Logan Roy, however rather than pitting his offspring against one another in a bid to inherit his empire, he was putting the contestants through their paces from the comfort of a room in east London.

While he didn't travel the world with them, clever editing brings him to each episode where he doles out instructions on the phone, and keeps a tally of the cash that's been won.

Broccoli says Cox was "spectacular" in the role, adding, "it's just such a thrill to be working with him".

Despite her admiration for the actor, she wouldn't budge on giving him a heads up as to who the next Bond might be.

When asked, Cox said: "I have no idea. They won't tell me."

Click to subscribe to Backstage wherever you get your podcasts

So who is the next Bond?

"Who's the next Bond going to be?" is a question Broccoli gets asked a lot, but she says it's not something she resents.

"It's really important that people still care. You know, this series has lasted 60 years because of the public and audiences who love this character and love all the people who played it. So, it's very flattering."

The American-British producer has previously said we can expect "a reinvention of Bond" in the 26th official James Bond film, and that it's unlikely to be in cinemas before 2025.

When asked if she could elaborate on creating a whole new Bond post-Daniel Craig, she told Sky News: "No! We just have to get to work! It's going to be a tall order. So, we need some time."

Meanwhile, the importance of getting people back to the cinema post-Covid is clearly at the front of Broccoli's mind.

While audiences might have some time to wait for the next Bond movie chapter, Broccoli's keen fans get back in the habit of visiting the cinema, issuing a plea to moviegoers.

"You can see from the success of films like Oppenheimer and Barbie, and there's a whole new crop of amazing films that are coming out now.

"Audiences get back to the theatre. That's where real entertainment is. We've got so much going on and we need audiences to get back to the cinema."

007: Road To A Million is streaming on Prime Video now.