After three decades on the stage and screen, the star is still worrying about where his next job will come from. Meanwhile, at home, he frets about letting down his family
Mark Strong has a good face for villainy – spare and inscrutable, with thin lips and “eyes like tunnels”, as Arthur Miller might have put it. On camera, he gives a sort of fractional disclosure, expressions altering in tiny increments, so that watching him perform is often an exercise in judging how much good can reasonably be seen in the bad. He specialises in antiheroes and authority figures, from gangsters (Kick-Ass, The Long Firm) to heads of intelligence (The Imitation Game, Body of Lies, Zero Dark Thirty). His latest incarnation – as a surgeon who operates in the criminal underground in the TV drama Temple, now in its second series – melds these roles as he crosses and recrosses the line between conscientious and cruel.
Although highly regarded for his work across stage, film and TV, Strong is not a big winner of awards (though he earned an Olivier for his outstanding portrayal of Eddie Carbone in Miller’s A View from the Bridge in 2015). He comes across as somehow outside the system. He is reputable rather than starry, plays parts rather than leads and has retained the air of a jobbing actor. Surely at 58, after 30 years of nearly constant work and more than 100 screen credits, with a voice so sonorous and distinctive it draws you to the depths, he deserves a bigger breakthrough. Is he frustrated by the lack of leading parts?