Actors seem to be lining up to play the wartime British prime minister Winston Churchill. John Lithgow has won awards for playing him in the TV series The Crown, and now Brian Cox delivers an award-worthy performance in the film Churchill, which is set over the week preceding the D-Day invasion in 1944.

Actor Brian Cox as Winston ChurchillActor Brian Cox as Winston Churchill

"You don't get many better roles than Winston Churchill," Cox admits. "He's a great character, a very alive character. He's got so many aspects to him - the baby, the statesman, the clown. But he was also vulnerable. That's what I love about this film. It's his vulnerability, it's not the great rhetorical Churchill."

Cox felt that this period in time offered a new take on the iconic figure. "Historically, at the time, so much was out of his hands," he says. "And he was not well. He consumed a fair amount of alcohol. He didn't sleep - maybe three hours a night - so his serotonin levels must have been ridiculous. He suffered from depression, got over a bought of pneumonia. He was not a well fella! And the film is about frailty of spirit as much as physical frailty. How lucky I am to give persona to this amazing man!"

Actor Brian Cox as Winston ChurchillActor Brian Cox as Winston Churchill

The actor sees parallels with Churchill in both Shakespeare's plays and the current political situation. "I think it's obvious," Cox says. "It's to do with principle and leadership, which are severely lacking at the moment on both sides of the Atlantic. The characters that are involved, I don't think any of them come up to who he was. He represents something that isn't existing anymore. He wasn't like the bunch of chancers we've got now, who are not a patch on him."

Cox singles out British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, who wrote a biography about Churchill. "Boris Johnson can bleat all he likes, but he ain't no Winston Churchill!" Cox laughs. "Everyone is so vainglorious now, in a way that Churchill wasn't. He was ambitious, of course, as a young man. But as an old man, his ambition was for his country, and truly for his country, not just some kind of sound bites. He had a vision, a great heart and a great sense of caring."

Later this year, another film will explore an earlier period in Churchill's life. Darkest Hour, directed by Joe Wright (Atonement), is set as the prime minister begins his term and has to decide whether Nazi's can be trusted or not. With Gary Oldman in the lead role, expect more awards attention.

Watch the trailer for Churchill: