Mark Strong talks about the different types of bad guy he plays in ''RocknRolla'' and ''Body of Lies''

Mark Strong is used to portraying the bad guy (he ripped out George Clooney’s fingernail in Syriana). But this month the 45-year-old British actor offers a gentler take on the heavy in Guy Ritchie’s RocknRolla, and Ridley Scott’s Body of Lies.

Compare working with Guy Ritchie and Ridley Scott.
Guy moves very quickly. He sets up a shot, two or three takes, moves on. Ridley at times had four different camera crews filming one scene. And this isn’t for an action scene; it’s for a talking scene.

You’re impeccably dressed in both films, but your suits in Body of Lies seem to be a cut above.
We went to a very exclusive Savile Row tailor. A Middle Eastern gentleman, a billionaire, had ordered some, paid for them, and I think the story is that he passed away. They were 100 percent what we were after. [The tailor] let us borrow them for the shoot. As we were walking out, he said, ”Hold on a second, I just need to check the buttons. I just want to make sure they’re not solid gold.”

You’re reteaming with Ritchie for Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey Jr., and playing a villain named Blackwood. Was he ever in the books?
Blackwood doesn’t exist [in the books], but he’s very much a classic [Arthur Conan] Doyle character in that he’s unremittingly evil. I love to play the bad guy and try to find something in him that makes him likable, but I’m going to be hard-pressed to do that with this one.