Strong at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival in 2011
|Born||Marco Giuseppe Salussolia
5 August 1963
Mark Strong (born Marco Giuseppe Salussolia; 5 August 1963) is an English film and television actor. He is best known for his role in the television series Our Friends in the North and films such as RocknRolla, Body of Lies, Syriana, The Young Victoria, Sherlock Holmes, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Kick-Ass, Green Lantern, Zero Dark Thirty, Robin Hood, John Carter and The Imitation Game. He often portrays villains or antagonists.
Strong was born in London, the son of an Austrian mother and an Italian father. His father left the family soon after his birth, and he was brought up by his mother, who worked as an au pair. Strong said in an interview: "The home I grew up in... was a flat in Myddelton Square in London's Islington, a beautiful Georgian square with a huge church in the middle. We moved around a lot when I was a kid. I remember flats in Walthamstow, Clapton, Stoke Newington and Edmonton, as well." His English name is not a stage name; when he was a child, his mother changed his name by deed poll to help him fit in with his peers. He was baptised a Catholic. He speaks fluent German and some Italian.
Strong attended Wymondham College, where he sang in the punk bands the Electric Hoax and Private Party (the name of the latter was based on the idea that the band's shows would not be attended, due to prospective audiences thinking that the event was a "private party"). His original ambition was to become a lawyer, but after studying German constitutional law at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich for one year, he returned home to London and studied English and Drama at Royal Holloway, and later attended Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
Strong is a familiar face on British television. He appeared in two Prime Suspect serials for ITV as Inspector (later Detective Chief Superintendent) Larry Hall, in Prime Suspect 3 (1993) and Prime Suspect 6 (2003). He also had starring roles in two BBC Two drama serials, Our Friends in the North (1996) and The Long Firm (2004), for which he earned a BAFTA nomination. He also played the villainous Colonel Brand in Sharpe's Mission (1996). He played the romantic lead, Mr. Knightley, in the 1996 ITV adaptation of Jane Austen's novel Emma. In feature films, Strong played Steve in the 1997 film adaptation of Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch opposite Colin Firth.
At the beginning of the 2000s he appeared in Heartlands and in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night at the Donmar Warehouse, for which he was nominated for the 2003 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role. He was later featured in Roman Polanski's Oliver Twist (2005), played Mussawi in the film Syriana, and played an assassin called Sorter in Revolver (2005). Strong portrayed the traitorous Wictred in Tristan & Isolde, showing his talent with swordplay, and since 2006, he has provided the narration in the BBC's genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are?.
In 2007 Strong was one of the final two actors considered for the part of Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men; despite the persistence of rumours, he claims he was never offered the part. Strong was Pinbacker, the insane captain of Icarus I, the first ship that was sent to reignite the Sun in Sunshine (2007). Pinbacker was inspired by the character of Sergeant Pinback from Dark Star. The character's disfiguring burns were influenced by the injuries suffered by F1 driver Niki Lauda. Boyle described the character of Pinbacker as a representation of fundamentalism. The director also described the potentially unrealistic presence of Pinbacker as an example of something that breaks the pattern of realism, similar to his scene in Trainspotting (1996) in which Ewan McGregor's character dives into a toilet. Strong played prince Septimus, the youngest of the seven Stormhold princes, in Stardust (2007).
In 2008 he played Nick Calderelli in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, Mannie Miesel in Flashbacks of a Fool, Finn in Babylon A.D., Archy in RocknRolla, Philipp Bouhler in Good. Also in 2008, Strong portrayed Hani Salaam, the Jordanian intelligence chief and director of the feared GID in Body of Lies, marking his first collaboration with English director Sir Ridley Scott and collaborated successful for a second time in the 2010 epic adventure film Robin Hood portraying the antagonist Sir Godfrey. Strong's portrayal of Hani Salaam, earned Strong a nomination for the London Critics Circle Film Award for Best British Supporting Actor and his performance was mentioned by several critics, with Scott calling it "a marvel of exotic suavity and cool insinuation" while Ebert "particularly admired" his aura of suave control. Strong ascribed his casting to his performances in the 2005 films Syriana and Oliver Twist. The character Haani Salaam was modelled after the 2000–2005 GID chief Saad Kheir (1953–2009), whose involvement, according to the original author David Ignatius, in sharply handled interrogations without use of torture, a counter with a jihadist with his mother on the phone and being called the 'fingernail boss' were near accurately featured in the film. The next year he played a lead part in the Channel 4 film Endgame (2009). and he played Lord Blackwood, the main villain in Sherlock Holmes (2009), who has somehow returned after his execution with a plot to take over the British Empire using an arsenal of dark arts and new technologies. He worked with director Ritchie for the third time and said he appreciates the director's lack of ego and how easy he is to work with. The same year he played Frank D'Amico, the head of a criminal organisation in Kick-Ass. Strong says he is drawn to playing the antagonist. He tries to "understand the purpose of the character", and then work on building a believable individual.
He then played Thaal Sinestro, a Green Lantern and Hal Jordan's mentor, in the superhero film Green Lantern (2011). Mark Strong affirmed that the film will follow the origin story, "the film closely follows the early comics. Sinestro starts out as Hal Jordan’s mentor, slightly suspicious and not sure of him because obviously Hal is the first human being who’s made into a Green Lantern. He's certainly very strict and certainly unsure of the wisdom of Hal becoming a Green Lantern". Strong said the character "is a military guy but isn't immediately bad. It's the kind of person he is that lends himself to becoming bad over the course of the comics being written, but initially he’s quite a heroic figure.” He also revealed that the outfit and other aspects of the character very closely follow the character's early days, “That widow's peak and thin mustache was for some reason originally based on David Niven.... So I would like to do justice to the Sinestro that was conceived for the comic books”.
In 2011 he was the voice Pod of The Secret World of Arrietty and the voice of the character Captain Titus of the Ultramarines Chapter in the video game Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine. The same year, and most notably, he played the role of Jim Prideaux in the remake of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which was earlier played by Ian Bannen in the iconic original 1979 BBC series starring Alec Guinness. The film premiered in competition at the 68th Venice International Film Festival on 5 September 2011. The film received generally positive reviews. The film holds an 83% 'Fresh' approval rating from 203 reviews collected by review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, with the consensus, "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a dense puzzle of anxiety, paranoia, and espionage that director Tomas Alfredson pieces together with utmost skill". Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating in the 0–100 range based on reviews from top mainstream critics, calculated an average score of 85 based on 42 reviews, equating to "universal acclaim".
The next year he played Clive Cornell in The Guard which is the most successful independent Irish film of all time in terms of Irish box-office receipts, overtaking The Wind that Shakes the Barley (2006) which previously held this status. The film has a 95 percent positive rating according to review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Strong began filming the role of Jacob Sternwood in the British thriller, Welcome to the Punch. He was Matai Shang, the leader of the Therns in John Carter. He then starred in Kathryn Bigelow's action thriller film Zero Dark Thirty with co-stars Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Joel Edgerton, Chris Pratt. It was independently financed by Ellison's Annapurna Pictures. The film had its premiere in Los Angeles, California on 19 December 2012 and had its wide release on 11 January 2013. The film received wide critical acclaim and was nominated for five Oscars for the 85th Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actress (Chastain) and Best Original Screenplay. The film won one, for Best Sound Editing. Zero Dark Thirty earned four Golden Globe Award nominations, including Best Picture – Drama, Best Director, and Best Actress – Drama for Chastain. On 31 October 2012 Strong joined the cast of the film.
In November 2012, Strong and Taissa Farmiga were cast as John and Anna in Mindscape, produced by Jaume Collet-Serra, and the feature-length directorial debut of Spaniard Jorge Dorado. The story of the film centres on a man with the ability to enter people's memories who begins working on the case of a brilliant but problematic teenager to determine whether she is a sociopath or the victim of trauma. The film came to cinemas in 2014. In North America, the film has been retitled Anna.
Jaguar Cars produced an advert in 2014, initially shown during Super Bowl XLVIII and later online and on television. The advert, which featured Strong alongside fellow British actors Ben Kingsley and Tom Hiddleston, was themed around their recent film roles as villains, and used the tagline "It's good to be bad".
Strong co-starred in the 2014 historical drama film The Imitation Game, alongside Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, in which he played MI6 chief Stewart Menzies. On 24 April 2014, Strong joined Sony’s spy action comedy Grimsby. The story of the film centres on a British black-ops spy (Strong) whose idiotic brother is an English football hooligan (Sacha Baron Cohen).
He lives in London with his wife, Liza Marshall, and their two sons. In an interview he said he is content living a relatively normal life in London: “I’ve got no desire to live anywhere else. I was born here, my wife was born here, my kids were born here and this is where we’re going to stay,” he says. “I feel like I have a lovely balance. I’m able to keep my head below the parapet. I get on with my work, I have a family and I get on the tube. It just so happens that I’m doing this job.” 
He is a longtime friend of actor Daniel Craig, who is the godfather of Strong's eldest son. He dubbed Craig into German, as German with an English accent was required for Obsession (1997).
In an interview he said that his style icon is David Bowie, and when he was a child he wanted to be the French actor Alain Delon: "I remember watching him in films and though I couldn't understand a word he was saying I remember thinking he looked great. Failing that, an astronaut, after watching the moon landing on a tiny, portable, black-and-white TV at my gran's house". Strong's greatest inspiration is Nelson Mandela: "I made a film this summer about the end of apartheid in South Africa – his suffering, coupled with his ability to remain tolerant, is staggering".
|1989||After Henry||Roger||TV series|
|1993||Buddha of Suburbia, TheThe Buddha of Suburbia||Television producer|
|1993||Prime Suspect 3||Inspector Larry Hall|
|1996||Emma||Mr. Knightley||TV film|
|1996||Our Friends in the North||Terry "Tosker" Cox|
|1996||Sharpe's Mission||Colonel Brand|
|1998||Man with Rain in His Shoes, TheThe Man with Rain in His Shoes||Dave Summers|
|1999||Births, Marriages and Deaths||Terry|
|1999||In the Name of Love||Chris Monroe|
|2000||Bomber||Colonel Chris Forsyth|
|2001||To End All Wars||Dusty Miller|
|2001||Martins, TheThe Martins||Doug|
|2002||Fields of Gold||Dr. Tolkin|
|2003||Some Place Safe||Dad||Short film|
|2003||It's All About Love||Arthur|
|2003||Henry VIII||Duke of Norfolk|
|2003||Prime Suspect 6: The Last Witness||Det. Chief Supt. Larry Hall|
|2004||Long Firm, TheThe Long Firm||Harry Starks||Nominated – British Academy Television Award for Best Actor|
|2005||Oliver Twist||Toby Crackit|
|2005||Walk Away and I Stumble||Andy Spader|
|2006||Tristan & Isolde||Wictred|
|2006||Low Winter Sun||Det. Sgt. Frank Agnew|
|2006||Scenes of a Sexual Nature||Louis|
|2006–2012||Who Do You Think You Are?||Narrator|
|2008||Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day||Nick|
|2008||Flashbacks of a Fool||Mannie Miesel|
|2008||Body of Lies||Hani Salaam||Nominated – London Critics Circle Film Award for Best British Supporting Actor|
|2009||Endgame||Dr. Niel Barnard|
|2009||Young Victoria, TheThe Young Victoria||Sir John Conroy|
|2009||Sherlock Holmes||Lord Henry Blackwood||Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Fight (shared with Robert Downey, Jr.)|
|2010||Kick-Ass||Frank D'Amico||Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Fight (shared with Chloë Grace Moretz)|
|2010||Robin Hood||Sir Godfrey|
|2010||Way Back, TheThe Way Back||Khabarov|
|2011||Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine||Titus||Voice|
|2011||Story of Earth, TheThe Story of Earth||Narrator|
|2011||Guard, TheThe Guard||Clive Cornell|
|2011||Eagle, TheThe Eagle||Guern|
|2011||Secret World of Arrietty, TheThe Secret World of Arrietty||Pod||Voice (United Kingdom dub)|
|2011||Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy||Jim Prideaux||Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
Georgia Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
YouMovie Award for Best Cast
|2011||Black Gold||Sultan Amar|
|2012||John Carter||Matai Shang|
|2012||Zero Dark Thirty||George|
|2013||Welcome to the Punch||Jacob Sternwood|
|2013||Justin and the Knights of Valour||Heraclio||Voice|
|2013||Low Winter Sun||Frank Agnew||TV series|
|2013||The Great Martian War 1913 - 1917||Narrator||Voice|
|2014||Closer to the Moon||Max Rosenthal|
|2014||Before I Go to Sleep||Dr. Nasch|
|2014||Mindscape||John||Also known as Anna|
|2014||The Imitation Game||Stewart Menzies|
|2015||Kingsman: The Secret Service||Merlin|
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He was christened a Catholic
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Guy and I, we've done three films together now. He's surprisingly lacking in ego. He's not a shouter or a bully. He just likes to create an environment in which people can do their best work.
- Rich, Katey (23 December 2009). "Exclusive Interview: Sherlock Holmes Villain Mark Strong". Cinema Blend. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
I like him. He's a really nice man. He's an ego-free zone. I've never known anybody to have such a different evaluation in the press as the person they are in real life. It's very odd that he's seen the way he has been, because he's incredibly easy to work with.
- Truitt, Brian (23 April 2010). "Mark Strong can do a 'Kick-Ass' bad guy". USA TODAY (Gannett Co. Inc.).
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- "The Guard". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2011-11-13.
- "James McAvoy Heads to 'Welcome to the Punch'". The Wrap. The Wrap News Inc. 12 April 2011. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
- Child, Ben (January 6, 2012). "Kathryn Bigelow's Bin Laden film to star Joel Edgerton". The Guardian (London).
- UPI takes territories on Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty; Screen Daily; May 15, 2012
- "Zero Dark Thirty" premieres in Los Angeles CBS News, December 11, 2012.
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- "Jorge Dorado shoots Mindscape for Jaume Collet Serra". Cineuropa. 2012-12-21. Retrieved 2013-06-26.
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- "Mark Strong Joins THE IMITATION GAME, Ben Kingsley and Patricia Clarkson Lead LEARNING TO DRIVE". Collider.
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