Mark Strong has waded in to defend his director Kathryn Bigelow, saying it’s impossible to believe such “a shy, pleasant, gentle” woman could possibly be endorsing torture in her film, 'Zero Dark Thirty'.
PLUS: Strong's advice to Daniel Craig... see below
The British actor, who plays George, a CIA executive in charge of the Afghan/Pakistan division pushing his agents to find Osama Bin Laden, says it’s strange “to find yourself a spokesman for a film, but I do feel a sense of injustice".
Mark Strong plays CIA exec George in 'Zero Dark Thirty', which has been blasted by some critics for 'condoning torture'
He goes on: “What on earth makes people think Kathryn Bigelow and (writer) Mark Boal would endorse torture when everybody around the world knows it’s horrific, despicable and to be avoided at all costs – why suddenly would these two make this movie they’re describing?
“People have got it wrong. It isn’t torture that leads to the subsequent killing of Bin Laden. There’s another plot point that people seem to have missed, a scene in which they find all along that they’ve had the name in the files.
“The CIA have come out and said the film seems to suggest the torture led to the capture. Having originally allowed access by the filmmakers, they seem to be implying that’s the case and it just isn’t.
“And I suspect that lots of people are coming out with whatever they have to say about the film, probably haven’t even seen it. People have got the wrong end of the stick.”
Kathryn Bigelow at work on 'Zero Dark Thirty' - "a shy, pleasant woman" according to Mark Strong
Strong has proved one of our most popular and versatile actors, mixing up roles on the British small screen with an increasingly high profile Hollywood portfolio ('Green Lantern', 'Sherlock Holmes', 'Kick-Ass'), including 2011 spy drama 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy', which is where he was spotted by Bigelow, apparently – “she apparently asked, ‘Who’s that guy?’ which is always nice to hear.”
Of his preconceptions about working with Bigelow, Strong confides these were based on her films… “all men, action and testosterone. So to find someone quite shy and very pleasant was a real surprise. So, the notion that she would endorse torture, and become a kind of Leni Riefenstahl for the US administration, when you’ve met her you realise it’s nonsense.”
Strong also reveals that, when Daniel Craig was first offered the prospect of becoming our first blonde 007, he asked his pal for his opinion. Strong, who got his big TV break alongside Craig 16 years ago in ‘Our Friends in the North’ told him it was “a no-brainer”.
“I don’t think Bond is something you can turn down. But what you do give up is your privacy and private life, and he works extremely hard.
“I like the fact I’ve been able to keep my head below the parapet, get on with the work I want to do without worrying about what exposure that will bring.”
Zero Dark Thirty is in UK cinemas from Friday. Watch the trailer below…