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People in Film | Mark Strong

Posted November 10, 2011 to photo album "People in Film | Mark Strong"

A man of many faces and characters, be they supervillains or literary heroes, Mark Strong makes each one uniquely his own.

Mark Strong | Glamour and Sadness
Mark Strong | Becoming an Actor Despite Himself
Mark Strong | A Familiar Face on the Telly
Mark Strong | Great When He’s Bad
Mark Strong | Many Faces, One Heart
Mark Strong | Becoming an Actor Despite Himself

Mark Strong | Becoming an Actor Despite Himself

Mark Strong in “Speed the Plow”

Born Marco Giuseppe Salussolia to an Italian father and an Austrian mother, Mark Strong grew up in England, always a bit on the outside. The name Strong was later given him by his mother to help him fit in. Athletic and a good student, he never dreamed of being an actor. Indeed, his childhood dramatics were more of a lark than a revelation. In the school production of Derek Benfield's farce “The Post Horn Gallop, he told The Independent, "I played a scout-master and the whole gag of that character was his knobbly knees peeking out from his shorts…I only did it as a giggle really and it never made me want to do any more." Still he developed a stage presence in the 70s playing in a punk band called Private Party. Then after moving to Germany to study law, he decided to try drama instead. As he told The Times, “I thought, perhaps I should become a lawyer because it would make my mum happy…But I very quickly realised how dull it was and that it wasn't for me. So I chose acting as something that wasn't dull.” Yet while he had never planned to be an actor, Strong soon gleaned how his experience had trained him anyway. As he told The Guardian, “I was not the product of a family, but a product of observation – of watching what went on around me, of watching who I liked, what I didn't like, what I thought was good behaviour and what I thought was bad behaviour and tailoring myself accordingly. I think now that means I can see things from a distance and work out how to build a character.” After leaving the University of Munich, he returned to London to study drama. And while he quickly moved into TV and film, Strong continues to act on stage, as in the 2000 London production of David Mamet’s “Speed The Plow.“