Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)
Oh, to be in England...

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Mark Strong- Actor of the Week

Mark Strong in Lord Blackwood costume, smiling!

What a delight to find that I had not yet had Mark Strong as my Actor of the Week. I luuuuurve him and am so glad to be able to go back and review my faves of his films! Whether a good guy or a bad guy, he is always an asset to a film. Born Marco Giuseppe Salussolia in London England to an Italian father and an Austrian mother, his name was changed in childhood by his mother (after his father left) to help him fit in with his peers. Fluent in German, he studied at a University in Munich for a year with the intent of becoming a lawyer before pursuing an acting career in Britian.

Mark Strong as Mr. Knightley in Emma

OK here is my weak spot. I love all the Mr. Knightleys for different reasons. But just look at that furrowed brow on Mark Strong. Is he annoyed at Emma (Kate Beckinsale) or is he annoyed at himself for caring about her so much? He certainly brings out a different aspect of Knightley's character than either Jeremy Northam or Jonny Lee Miller. Sigh! Must watch this again soon. Next migraine day?

Mark Strong and Colin Firth in Fever Pitch

Another role of Mark Strong's that I adore is as Colin Firth's best mate in Fever Pitch. This one is from way back in 1997 and is set in 1989 so the fashions are an absolute hoot, but the story and the acting from these two men in particular make this my second fave Nick Hornby film just edged out by About A Boy. If you have ever had a sports mad male in your life, you need to see this film.

Mark Strong as Harry Starks in The Long Firm

After playing the psychotic 1960s gangster Harry Starks in The Long Firm he had no trouble convincing filmmakers that he could be a bad guy. It is truly amazing that until 2004 he had rarely been cast as anything sinister. And now I think we need to see more good guy roles. Because let's see what he has been in since 2004:

Mark Strong as Toby Crackit in Oliver Twist

In a small role as Toby Crackit (the accomplice of Bill Sykes) in Roman Polanski's Oliver Twist, he rather rocks the ginger fright wig and facial hair.

I won't put a photo of Syriana on this post as I turned it off when Mark Strong's character was pulling out fingernails. Nope. Wouldn't finish watching that one!

Mark Strong as Nick in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

As oily 1930s nightclub owner Nick in Miss Pettigrew Loves for a Day, he is a much more fun bad guy. Oily and controlling, you love to hate him. A perfect role for Mark Strong.

Mark Strong as Sir John Conroy in The Young Victoria

Another wonderful bad guy role for Mark Strong is Sir John Conroy, the oppressive, social climbing comptroller to Queen Victoria's mother ( The Duchess of Kent) in The Young Victoria. Constantly scrapping with Emily Blunt who plays the young queen, he makes you hate him and yet feel sorry for him at the same time as he loses his control over the young Victoria. He apparently went to The National Portrait Gallery in London to see what Conroy looked like and was struck by the resemblance to himself. Would you like to see the real Sir John Conroy?

Sir John Conroy
The resemblance is striking isn't it? Mark Strong was born to play this character! You could swear that this was Mark and not the real Sir John Conroy.

Mark Strong as Lord Blackwood in Sherlock Holmes
If you have to have a bad guy in a film, why not make him as appealing as Lord Blackwood in Sherlock Homes? Mark Strong does bad and sexy sooooooo well!

Mark Strong as Sir Godfrey in Robin Hood

As Sir Godfrey in Robin Hood, an English knight collaborating with the French, Mark Strong gets a meaty role and does it well. Is it shallow of me to say I don't like him bald? I'm just sayin'!

Mark Strong as Jim Prideaux in Tinker Tailor

In Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, he plays the fascinating role of Jim Prideaux. This is an awesome film but very hard to follow if you haven't read the book. I recommend either reading the book or at least the Wikipedia entry for the book or film before you see it. To heck with spoilers, you need help just to follow the plot!

I couldn't get even half of the roles I would have liked on this post, so feel free to add your faves in the comments below. Any other Mark Strong fans out there?


  1. It seems like you can hardly go two films without finding one that he's in. My favorite would be his role in Stardust.

    I find his version of Emma to be a more serious adaptation of the three you mentioned. His Knightly is more like I imagined him in the book, as far as age range.

    1. Hi Sarah. I was hoping someone would mention Stardust. I meant to put it in but my post was getting too long. That was a great role for him.

      I have to say that the Kate Beckinsale version of Emma is my least fave and yet I love him as Mr. Knightley in it. All the Knightleys are great (OK, JLM is the definitive one for me but I wouldn't kick Mark Strong's Knightley out of bed for eating crackers!)

  2. I must admit I didn't realize mr. Knightley was in all these other movies....smiles. Miss Pettigrew and the Young victoria....otherwise whew...who would've guessed.

  3. *Caught*

    Slow down Tinkerbell.. you'll never sing the same if your teeth ain't your own.

    M.Strong in Guy Ritchie's RockNRolla aka Archibald is my fav. =)

  4. This is the only version of Emma I've seen, and I sought it out because I'm a huuuuge fan of Mark Strong. As Mr Knightley, he makes me absolutely SWOON. I think Blackwood in Sherlock Holmes and Jim Prideaux in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy are my favorite performances of his. He is so versatile--even with his rather large collection of villainous characters, he always looks and sounds different with every role.

    1. Hi Mrs. V! I also love Mark Strong as the best friend in Fever Pitch. He really nailed that performance. I too adore his Mr. Knightly. I have to watch Emma again soon. Double SWOON!




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