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Mark Strong Webchat
Our favourite villain on Robin Hood, Green Lantern and more!

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Mark Strong is every bit as pleasant in real life as he is terrifying onscreen, so when he came into the Empire office recently we didn't hesitate in grilling him on his upcoming films and posing your toughest questions to him in our webchat. Here's the full transcript...
Mark Strong in Robin Hood

CatherineBray says: Think this was you: brilliant short film about a psychic with Ian McDiarmid/Senator Palpatine, set in basement of casino, saw at Bird's Eye View fest. If it was you, nice work, what was the title and where can I see it again?
It's called The Odds, and it's available somewhere on DVD!

thatfilmlover says: Hi Mark. If all the villains you ever played got into a big fight, who'd win?
Right now, I think Sir Godfrey in Robin Hood, because he's got the best tools: sword and mace and stuff that can do damage.

Yelena_Shapatina says: Question about playing Godfrey in Robin Hood: what for you was the hardest thing on this set? And I wish You good luck in Your work! Best regards.
First of all, thank you. I think the hardest was mastering riding a horse and smashing people over the head with a big piece of metal at the same time, what with not having had any medieval knight training.

sarannah says: Kiss Kill or Marry? Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law, Guy Ritchie.
Oh my god! I would have to marry Robert, because it'd be an interesting life; kiss Jude cause he's so gorgeous, and...that leaves Guy, who I would both kiss and marry. I only kill in my work life.

Judey says: You’re a master of accents from ‘New York and London mobster’ through to South African and Middle Eastern. Is it a natural talent or does it require 6 weeks training before each shoot?
I grew up speaking German, and I think if you have a foreign language, your ear is more attuned to accents, but it's always a good idea to do as much work as you can. Because I hate it when actors don't get it right.

CK61938 says: What was it like fighting against a 12yr old a girl? I'm curious
It was so wrong! For two weeks, I went to work and beat up an 11 year-old girl. It's a crazy world.

npquinn says: Bond Villan? Bond agent?
I'd have to go for Bond villain. It's interesting that a villain has got to a level where it's a recognised part of that franchise.

lollerskating says: Do you think you could take Chuck Norris in a fight? I think you could.
Thank you for that. I think I'd probably have to use underhand tactics.

Timon says: You were in the criminally underseen (in my opinion) Tristan+Isolde where I first noticed you rocked as a bad guy. You also sported an awesome beard. Why no facial fuzz in recent years (and will Kevin Reynolds ever make another film?)
Facial fuzz is very itchy and annoying, although catch some face-fuzz in Eagle of the Ninth. And Kevin Reynolds I think is shooting something in Italy at the moment, but it's a romantic comedy.

Farse says: How did you get into acting?
I chose it randomly because I hated studying law.

Jimmy The Saint says: There is a radio station in Scotland that asks listeners to phone in with stories of people saying and doing stupid things. Then it plays the soundtrack of your “Oi, you’re a donkey” line from Fever Pitch. I feel like an ass for asking this, but which of the great villains you have played would you call the biggest donkey?
The biggest donkey...I love all my villains so that's a really difficult question. [thinks hard] Yeah, I couldn't choose one of them.

thatfilmlover says: Mark, we've heard that Ridley likes to make up a lot of the script as he goes along? Can you elaborate on this? Does it ever bother you working this way?
He likes to keep things fluid. He would come into my trailer every morning and give me new lines. The difficulty in Robin Hood was that often my character had to say those lines in French, and I don't speak French well enough to just translate those lines on the spot.

Grizzlers says: When are we going to see a RockNRolla sequel?
Soon I hope! I loved making that film, and if everybody's up for it, so am I.
Mark Strong and Gerard Butler in Rocknrolla

thatfilmlover says: Mark, can you give us ONE line of dialogue as Sinestro?
I haven't started shooting Green Lantern yet. If I were to do that, I might get shot myself. 'Hello Hal' is a safe bet.

Frankie says: Mark, were you disappointed at not getting the role of Anton Chigurh in No Country For Old Men, especially after the huge success that it led to for Javier Bardem? And would you have worn the wig?
I was disappointed because I really wanted to work with the Coen Brothers, not because it then became the success that it became. I would have killed to wear that wig.

demi says: What football team do you support?
The Arsenal.

Timon says: I loved Sunshine, but many had mixed feelings about the ending. In your opinion, how did Pinbacker survive for so long, being so badly burned, and how did he become super-strong... or is that just what faith does to you?
Exactly that. The debate in that film was about a scientist becoming spiritual as a result of being close to the sun's rays for so long, and imagining that he was god's messenger and protecting the sun.

TEDavis says: Are you a real life rock n' rolla?
Oh I hope so.

Darth Mattitude says: So which was the most challenging role to train for? Robin Hood, Rocknrolla or Kick Ass?
I think Robin Hood, because there was a lot of sword training, a lot of horse riding, and it was a really physical role.

Spectrum says: If you could play any part from a classic film gone by, which would it be and why ?
That is a very interesting question. I just watched Blade Runner again the other day, obviously the Rutger Hauer part is amazing. Funnily enough I also watched Alien, because I was having a Ridley Scott evening, and Ian Holm, the android part in that...

chopperphil says: I hear you've been known to do a bit of DJing in your spare time. What's your 'When all else fails" track?
Oh, anything on the Hard Hands label, and that's one for all you afficionados out there.

thatfilmlover says: Mark, you’re alone on a desert island with only 4 other actors for company: who'd they be and why?
Mark Rylance, Johnny Depp, Ian McKellen and Stellan Skarsgard, off the top of my head. Because I think they're all interesting, they make great choices and they're very good at what they do.

Tarrance says: In Kick Ass, you're the only major character that doesn't wear a goofy costume. Did you ever feel the temptation to try one on just to see what it was like?
I thought my dojo outfit was pretty goofy, my orange dojo outfit, but Matthew decided that my superhero costume would be the colour orange, just to give him something that defined him in the way that the others were defined by their costumes.

npquinn says: Would you consider an "Our Friends in the North" reunion?
Well, I see Daniel and speak to him occasionally, because we’ve remained good friends. Gina and Chris and I have all lost touch, which I assume is because they're busy. But it would be great to get back together.

6540621 says: Typecasting: does it scare you?
No, typecasting is a construct that people have invented that makes good copy. The reality is, if you take each and every role on its own merits, then you're making the right choices. If you worry that the types are all the same, then you're choosing roles for the wrong reason.

thatfilmlover says: Mark, can you tell us ANYTHING about Matai Shang in John Carter of Mars? What he looks like? His character, any of the make up/costume your wearing?
He wears a very impressive robe and all the Therns wear the same costume. Like in the books, he's completely shaven, but unlike in the books, he doesn't wear a blond wig to cover it up.

TEDavis says: Marmite. Which side are you on?
Love it! Would kill for it. Feed it to my children on a regular basis.

Clips says: Will you be going to Cannes for the Robin Hood premiere?
Yes, I'm going to be on the red carpet with Robin Hood on the very first day at the very first screening. Robin Hood opens the festival, and I can't wait.

QuentinCappucino says: What was Russell Crowe like to work with? Intense or laidback?
He was a bit of both. When we were doing the fight sequences, he was really fired up, so we really are having a go at each other, and then you'd have occasions where you'd get to sit and chat for an hour when they're setting up a shot, and I discovered that he's a very intelligent, thoughtful guy.

P says: Being Mr Strong, did you every get any Mr Man jokes as a kid?
No, but my little boy has a Mr Strong T-shirt, which is his pride and joy, with a picture of a big square red man with a green hat on it. Incidentally, when I was a kid, a toy company called Mattel had an action figure called Mark Strong - The Man From Mattel, and when you pressed his back his arm did a karate chop.

TEDavis says: What is your favourite film of all time?
Oh, that is an incredibly difficult question. Blade Runner, I would say, because I saw it the other day and was blown away by it. But Night of the Hunter is an extraordinary film. Spinal Tap is one of the greatest comedies of all time. It's almost an impossible question to answer.
Blade Runner

Darth Mattitude says: Mark, are you on Twitter? What do you think of the social working phenomenon?
I'm not on Twitter, nor indeed Facebook. When I was a kid your diary and thoughts were private. You locked your diary with a key and kept your thoughts to yourself, so it's amazing to me that things have come round the other way. But hey, that's progress!

Rgirvan44 says: Can I ask what the thought process was in the look you gave your henchman when he was grabbing the rocket launcher in Kick Ass? It was the funniest moment of the film for me, but I can't decide what your character was thinking at that moment.
I was appalled that this goon would even consider bringing a bazooka into my apartment that had Warhols hanging on the wall. But on the other hand, if that's what it took, then that was fine by me!

lollerskating says: Do you have any quilty pleasures when it comes to movies or music?
I'm a big fan of early Elton John albums like Honky Chateau and Captain Fantastic. Film-wise, I can get into romantic comedies occasionally.

Clips says: What do you think of the acting in the live UK political debates?
It's so stilted, isn't it? I think they're so terrified of making a wrong move and have been coached in such a way that they no longer look like they're remotely natural, and it would be interesting if you got the sense that they were being themselves, because they might be more believable.

Apeingorilla says: Who do you get mistaken for?
Andy Garcia, Stanley Tucci, Dimitar Berbatov and the Count from Sesame Street.

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