Mark Strong on the joys of Emma Thompson, Cruella’s recreation of a “punky” ’70s London

When The A.V. Club last spoke to the great Mark Strong for Random Roles, the actor was hesitant to tell us too much about his role in Cruella—Disney’s origin story for one of its most infamous villains—aside from the fact that he worked mostly with Emma Thompson. Months later, with Cruella now playing in theaters and on Disney+, Strong remained tight-lipped, which probably speaks to the mysterious nature of his character, John The Valet. While he does, indeed, share plenty of screen time with Thompson’s dastardly The Baroness, John The Valet is more of the strong, silent type, and the role he plays in the larger canon of 101 Dalmatians lore is something Disney’s been keen on keeping under wraps. Nevertheless, Strong is always a great chat and The A.V. Club was delighted to hear more from him about his work. In the video above, Strong expounds on his work with Thompson, shares how he became “a dog person,” and praises Cruella’s thoughtful recreation of a punk-era London, one the actor remembers fondly from his own teenage years.

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