Cruella’s Mark Strong Talks About Why It’s More Fun To Play The ‘Bad Guy’ In Movies

Mark Strong jumped off the set of Shazam! as the villainous Dr. Sivana and onto Disney’s Cruella to stand between Emma Stone and Emma Thompson’s nefarious fashionistas for the Disney origin story. The British actor has a strong background playing antagonists, including his role as Sinestro in 2011’s Green Lantern, Frank D’Amico in 2010’s Kick-Ass and Henry Blackwood in 2009’s Sherlock Holmes. So what’s up with all the bad guy roles?

Simply put, Mark Strong is clearly great at these types of roles. Although for Cruella, he takes a step back for the two Emmas to deliver villainous characters of their own as he plays Emma Thompson’s close right-hand man, John the Valet. When I spoke to Strong for CinemaBlend, I asked the actor what his thoughts are on playing antagonists. Here’s what he said:

Not everybody will say the same thing, but I’ve always found it fun to play the bad guy. I think villains are parts you can have fun with because you don’t behave like that in real life. You can explore being nasty and evil and grumpy in the comfortable confines of fiction. And also they get great costumes and they get great lines. I mean look at the two girls, they are both playing villains in this and they both look fantastic and they’re having a ball.

Mark Strong was perfectly delightful as he shared how much he enjoys bad guy roles. Playing parts like Dr. Sivana or Sinestro are completely different than he’d ever act in his everyday life, and thus a blast to explore on a movie set. He clearly loves everything about it, between the iconic fashion fits to the quotable dialogue villains often deliver in between their evil plotting and so forth.

During the interview, Mark Strong spoke about his potential return to the Shazam! movies as the sequel, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, gets ready for production with Lucy Liu and Helen Mirren signed on as villains. Here was Strong’s response:

Helen I know really well, so that’s fantastic. I’ve never worked with Lucy, but I know her. But, I can tell you, and I’ve been given permission to do this by the producer, Dr. Sivana isn’t in Shazam 2. They are the villains, so I am very happy to take a back seat and let the women go in there and do their villainous stuff. So even though it’s sort of implied at the end of one that Sivana would come back with Mister Mind, they’ve gone in a sort of different direction in order to sort of allow the fact that it would probably be more fascinating to see those women do their evil stuff.

Mark Strong will once again be stepping back to allow for some female villainy in the near future. It’s exciting news for the DC film, but obviously we’re really going to miss the actor’s presence on screen alongside Zachary Levi. I’ll be honest with you, when Strong popped on to the screen in Cruella, I was half expecting the actor to continue doing the kinds of roles he has proved he can clearly nail over the years. However, he plays one of the most refreshingly humane characters in the Disney villain story.

Cruella debuted in theaters and Disney+ Premier Access over the weekend to a worldwide gross of $42 million thus far. It opened behind A Quiet Place Part II’s record-breaking first weekend, but also looks to be a relative hit. The movie also garnered positive reviews from viewers, even if the movie gets weird with its classic origin story.

Alongside Mark Strong, Emma Stone and Emma Thompson, Cruella also stars Joel Fry and Paul Walter Hauser as Jasper and Horace, respectively, and The Good Place’s Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Anita Darling. Along with going out to see or streaming Cruella, check out what other upcoming releases are heading to Disney+ this June here on CinemaBlend.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.