A few (I think) years back, the following ad caught me eye on TV (and I NEVER notice ads) not because of the brand being advertised…actually…give it a watch…I won’t need to explain:
So, I take it you know where I’m heading…definitely not the car route… 😉
But more specifically…one of these “bad” men…Mark Strong. Until recently, he was typically cast in the villain roles (hence the above appropriate clip). In fact, I’m often drawn to the actors not in the lead. And, don’t think bad of me, the villains are often exactly those that catch my eye. So much more exciting aren’t they? And just possibly a means of “living a little wild” from the safety of my mind…anyway, that’s not the point…but…hmmm….I assume that explains why a particular villain (or rather, the actor behind that villain) caught my eye in Robin Hood (2010). Yes…Godfrey, played so brilliantly by Mark Strong. Cold and calculating, ok, fine, sooooo cliché, let me start again…he was a man with an agenda…and played so convincingly.
It was also at this point it dawned on me that I’d seen this actor before. In a number of roles. Yes, definitely a familiar face. Yet the person a mystery. But finally, with his role as Godfrey, I could put a name to the face. Off to look him up…and voila….you see…I was right…I HAVE seen him before. He was Wictred in Tristan + Isolde. And yes, at the time of watching this movie I’d also wondered who the actor was (I wasn’t focusing too hard on the leads and, I digress, I didn’t really mind Isolde being won by Mark…but that’s a topic for another day), but, because I never caught the character’s name I had no way of knowing the actor. And once again, a more “unsavoury” character…back-stabing and with a lust for power. One with some “oomph”.
Then came Lord Blackwood a la Jack the Ripper in Sherlock Holmes (2010). Oh what the perfect villain he makes. (cackle, cackle)
So, by this stage, I had a particular, should I say, “expectation”, of Mr Strong. Therefore, when The Way Back came along, I had a preconceived idea that his character Khabarov would be the “usual” up-to-no-good traitor or the like. I won’t, however, tell you if he is or isn’t. That would take all the fun out of this…wouldn’t it?
Now, I must tell you something terrible…I honestly cannot remember Mark Strong being in The Eagle, but apparently he was. I’m so sorry but I just can’t remember. Although, am I forgiven for saying I can’t remember another prominent actor (and I’m not talking about the two “leads”)?
And if I’m already on confessions…the only reason I watched John Carter (yes, I cringe too)…uhm…was for Mark Strong (and James Purefoy and Dominic West). And I only got as far as I did because of these supporting actors. Definitely wasn’t because of the story. But, that said, another fine performance by the actor I’m chit chatting about.
I’ll give you points for recognising Mark Strong in the movie Sunshine (he was in two Sunshine movies…here I’m on about the 2007 one, not the 1999 one). While not a big on-screen role, his actions play quite a part in the story. Need I mention that he isn’t the good guy? Oh but what I must mention is that this is such a superb movie that seems to have slipped under the
Along came Welcome to the Punch, another one that didn’t get many positive reviews, but you know what? I thought it was great! Not only was one of my favourite “villains” back but the entire movie was fun (or at least I thought it was). And somehow, Strong‘s character Jacob Sternwood didn’t feel like such a baddie…
Hmmm…it is quite strange though, that the last two roles I’ve seen him in have not fallen into this “type” (for lack of a better word). Chronologically I know that Body of Lies goes somewhere into the midst of the movies mentioned above, but in my personal viewing history, it comes very recently. Here it has him as Hani, Jordanian General Intelligence Directorate head. I kept expecting him to be the main antagonist. *Sigh*
And the last, wonderful role I’ve seen him in (to date. More to come)…Merlin in Kingsman: The Secret Service. I absolutely loved this “lighter” role. Oh, the characterisation of Merlin, was,
delightful superb. But then, would you expect anything else from such a dynamic actor?
Born in 1963, more specifically, on the 5th August 1963, this British actor complements any ensemble he joins. Perfect in any role. Be it the good (Merlin), the bad (need we mention roles?) or the ugly (Pinbacker). And, apologies if I have “pigeonholed” this wonderful artist….but oh how I do enjoy a good villain.
Thanks to the hosts of this wonderful Blogathon ( Outspoken & Freckled, Paula’s Cinema Club and Once Upon a Screen). This is my second time joining them and it is always a pleasure. Last year I covered Michael Wincott (here).
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Mark’s a familiar face, well he will be with 100 acting credits to his name. Sadly I haven’t seen many of his films, although I did watch The Eagle, only because I loved Rosemary Sutcliffe’s book when I was a child. He didn’t play a villain in that one, he was Guern the hunter, a survivor of the lost 9th legion who had made a new life with a tribe north of Hadrian’s Wall.
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Oh yes…now I vaguely remember…
But whatever role he takes on, I always enjoy him.
Have a wonderful week ahead Paul!
Love love love Mark Strong. Of course in ROCKNROLLA, but definitely check him out in THE GUARD if you haven’t already.
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I’m just looking up RocknRolla and can’t believe I haven’t watched it. Looks great. Ooh…and The Guard slipped right through my radar…how could I have missed that with such an awesome cast…thanks for sending that title my way…
Watched The Guard last night. Was great. And so was Mark Strong – enjoyed his calm and collected villain.
Some folks just have that special something that draws us into their work. I had to laugh reading your rundown of Strong’s career because it felt familiar to me. Mark Strong went from “hey, he’s good” to “hey, who is that guy” to hey, it’s that guy!”.
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Spot on with your last sentence. I’m smiling here…
Have a lovely weekend
I think he first really stood out for me in Sherlock. I couldn’t help but fixate on his one slightly askew tooth (I’m weird about teeth. LOL) He was marvelous. Then he slayed it in The Kingsmen! Great post- and thank you for joining our blogathon!
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Thanks for having me. And now I’m just going to have to check out that tooth…. 😉
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Excellent choice of character actor!
Superb louse and villain in films starting out.
Been a fan since the days of ‘Rocknrolla’.
Came up just a wee bit short as sacrificed British agent Jim Prideaux in the recent ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy’. Where Ian Bannen excelled in the original BBC Television project.
Absolutely rocked as Merlin in ‘Kingsmen’.
A great post. Well crafted and executed.
Well done, sir!
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Thanks so much for the wonderful comment. Much appreciated.
Have a wonderful weekend!
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