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If you’re looking for an imposing villain with strong features and a voice like smooth oak, Mark Strong is one of the best people you can hire for the job. Hollywood is certainly not afraid to admit that fact, as he’s been cast as the baddie quite a few times in the comic book world, most notably in Kick-Ass, Green Lantern and now as the vicious Dr. Sivana in Warner Bros.’ Shazam. And it’s in that last film that Mark Strong finally got to be the baddie he was always meant to be in the DC Universe.
The story of how Green Lantern went wrong is basic comic book movie history, with a lot of factors leading to the failure of the Ryan Reynolds film in theaters back in 2011. But one of the best things to happen to that film was Strong’s casting as Sinestro, a high-ranking member of the Green Lantern Corps who tried to whip smart-assed rule-breaker Hal Jordan into shape. Of course, this was only a prelude to the eventual fate of his character, which was shown in the film’s post-credits sequence.
Sadly, the big heel turn left Mark Strong rather bummed out when it came to showing his antagonistic chops, as Green Lantern never got the sequel it was gearing up for. While that DC character is definitely getting a reboot and Strong has made his peace with that, there’s still some regret as to how Sinestro was handled overall. And when CinemaBlend recently got to sit down with the actor as part of Shazam’s big junket day, he compared his two very different DC experiences as follows:
I never really got to take Sinestro to where he’s famous for. The Green Lantern that we did, he’s the head of the Corps, but his only problem in that movie was that he was pretty down on [Hal Jordan.] He’s a kind of almost like a military overseer, making him get into shape and stuff. None of the evil came through there, none of the badness. It was only in the credits sequence, when he puts on the other ring, that I thought he actually started to come into himself, and that’s the bit that I wanted to take to the next level. But I feel that I’ve been able to do that with Silvana
Shazam’s Dr. Sivana is definitely the DC villain that Mark Strong was always meant to be, as right from his character’s origins, there’s an energy about him that’s just waiting to turn sinister. Only, instead of promising such an event in a post-credits sequence, director and recent guest on our ReelBlend podcast, David F. Sandberg’s film goes ahead and shows us Strong’s dark side in the first act, and continues to let it shine throughout.
Now that’s not to say that being a villain is Mark Strong’s only claim to fame, as the man has racked up quite a resume. Even in the comic world, Strong has been seen as the charming and lovable Merlin, tech guru to the Kingsman organization in the two Matthew Vaughan-directed films we’ve seen thus far. But when it comes to actors we’d trust in the role of the person we can sympathize with, while simultaneously hating their every move, Shazam! picked exactly the right person to portray that very kind of person. You can feel it as you watch Strong talk about his role in the film, and the big difference between his two big DC Comics experiences, in the video below:
Having Mark Strong playing Dr. Sivana only helps anchor down the film’s lighter treatment of the themes of super powers, who’s truly worthy to possess them and what people do with those powers once they’ve gained them. With his side of the bargain fulfilled, seeing the kids of Shazam! squaring off against the deadly doctor is only that much more rewarding and crowd pleasing. And when it comes to the DC Universe, those are two of the best adjectives to be associated with their recent output.
Watch Mark Strong’s Dr. Sivana threaten the world, and some foster kids standing in his way, in Shazam! when it opens in early shows Thursday night.