By his own admission, Brian Cox is not the greatest in the world Caddyshack fan. “I think I saw it once a hundred years ago,” the beloved Succession star confesses to Yahoo Entertainment while laughing. “I thought it was just another comedy. I didn’t realize Americans took it to heart!”
But Cox is a connoisseur of all things Ted Knight, the late Mary Tyler Moore Show fan favorite who played a pivotal role in Harold Ramis’ 1980 sports comedy. So when he was offered the chance to step into Knight’s golf shoes for Michelob Ultra Caddyshack-Super Bowl-themed spot, he couldn’t turn it down.
“I am a huge, huge Ted Knight fan,” Cox says. “He was such a wonderful and committed actor. He has always been identified with his character as Marie Tyler Moore [vainglorious newsman Ted Baxter], but he was a pretty amazing performer. I was very happy to channel it.” (Watch Cox’s tribute to Knight in the Michelob Ultra commercial below. The spot will also air during Super Bowl LVII on Feb. 12.)
The one-minute Super Bowl spot recreates the climax Caddyshack tied the duel between Knight’s Elihu Smails and Rodney Dangerfield’s Al Czervik – with assists from Chevy Chase’s Ty Webb and Michael O’Keefe’s Danny Noonan. Playing alongside Cox is none other than tennis superstar Serena Williams, who effortlessly channels Chase’s cool, while her co-star recreates Knight’s hilarious swagger. O’Keefe himself makes an appearance in the spot, quoting the same advice Ty gave Danny all those years ago: “Be the ball.”
Oddly enough, when Yahoo Entertainment interviewed O’Keefe in 2020 for CaddyshackOn Smails’ 40th birthday, the actor recalled that Knight didn’t have to work too hard to channel Smails’ frustration. “Ted was, of all of us, the most professional and prepared,” he said. “So that kind of scene on the fly by the seat of your pants, carrying salt shakers full of cocaine was not something he was in love with. After six or seven weeks, he was bored, and in retrospect, who could him blame ?”
Fortunately for Cox, CaddyshackThe chaos behind the scenes was the only aspect of the film this Michelob Super Bowl spot doesn’t recreate. “There wasn’t much chatter. We were there to do a job,” the Scottish actor said with obvious gratitude. “And Serena was incredibly committed. Working with the greatest female athlete of all time was fun. I still pinch myself that I played golf with Serena Williams!”
Re-watch Caddyshack isn’t the only American tradition that Cox doesn’t fully understand. He is also not a big fan of football or “rugby with helmets” as he prefers to call it. “The problem with football is that you stop all the time,” he laughs. “I keep saying, ‘Why are they stopping? Why aren’t they continuing?’ It’s a weird American pastime; we don’t do that [in Scotland]. We just play to the end and we get beat or we win. I don’t understand why there is a need for discussion in these games!”
But the actor is learning to stop worrying and to love “rugby with helmets” with the help of his adult sons, who taught him the nuances of the game as the Super Bowl approaches. “I’ve watched a few games now, and they’ve explained it to me. I’ve started to like it now that I understand it!” He also gave Caddyshack another chance. “I saw it again recently and was impressed, especially by Chevy Chase,” Cox said. “He’s really good in the movie.” Quick – someone get Chase and Cox together for a spies like us to restart.
Super Bowl LVII airs Feb. 12 on Fox.
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