Despite the incalculable value they bring to their movies, the problem with most "that guy" actors – those character-types who add color to supporting roles time and again – is that they ultimately want to be "this guy" actors – leading-man and –lady types who command the screen. But Mark Strong is a unique case of both this and that: handsome and immediately familiar, he effectively dominates almost any scene in which he appears, but does so by transforming himself completely, and more importantly, generously sharing the screen with his co-stars. In just the past two years, among many other, he appeared opposite Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Wilkinson, Emily Blunt, and most recently, Robert Downey Jr., not only holding his own but bolstering both the entertainment and emotional value of each film.

His latest film is Kick-Ass, Matthew Vaughn's adaptation of the Mark Millar-John Romita Jr. comic book of the same name, and he plays Frank D'Amico, a Mafioso whose façade of respectability rapidly deteriorates after a former cop, his daughter, and a kid in a scuba suit dress up like superheroes and start screwing up his business. Cinematical was lucky enough to catch up with Strong via telephone to discuss his work on the film; in addition to discussing his discovery of D'Amico, Strong spoke at length about his reaction both during shooting and subsequently to the film's controversial choices, and offered a few observations about the challenges of keeping his identity as the guy who likes to lose it each time he takes on a new role.