Brian Cox pans Joaquin Phoenix's Napoleon performance

brian cox
Brian Cox pans Joaquin Phoenix's Napoleon Taylor Hill - Getty Images

Succession star Brian Cox has publicly panned Joaquin Phoenix's performance in Ridley Scott’s Napoleon.

The film, which arrived in cinemas last year before making its way to Apple TV+ in March, sees Phoenix assume the role of the titular French commander, charting his rise to emperor and volatile relationship with Joséphine de Beauharnais (Vanessa Kirby).

Cox recently discussed the biopic at HistFest and didn’t hold back in his scathing opinion of Phoenix’s performance, with the actor calling it "terrible".

joaquin phoenix, napoleon trailer
Sony Pictures

Related: Napoleon director Ridley Scott compares making the film to building Lego

"Terrible. It’s terrible. A truly terrible performance by Joaquin Phoenix. It really is appalling. I don’t know what he was thinking," he said.

"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."

Musing Phoenix's surname, the actor added: "I think he’s well-named. Joaquin…whackeen...whacky. It’s a sort of whacky performance."

brian cox
Taylor Hill - Getty Images

Related: Napoleon cut a scene of the emperor suffering from piles as it was "too distracting

Napoleon received mixed reviews following its release last year, with many critics citing its historical inaccuracies as a weak point

In his response to this criticism, Scott said the detractors needed to "get a life", before revealing that he strived to accurately portray Napoleon’s fiery personality.

"He is deeply vulnerable, and while doing his job, he’s able to hide that under a marvellous front," he said. "His forceful personality was part of his theatre […] Who was this person, and why was he vulnerable? And it was this woman called Josephine."

Elsewhere, the filmmaker's highly anticipated Gladiator sequel is set to arrive in cinemas later this year, with Paul Mescal leading an all-star cast.

Meanwhile, Phoenix will soon reprise his Oscar-winning role as Arthur Fleck in Joker: Folie à Deux, starring opposite Lady Gaga's Harley Quinn.

You Might Also Like