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When Chris Diamantopoulos speaks, you can't help but listen

From his turn as bad-boy billionaire investor Russ Hanneman in HBO's Silicon Valley to lending his voice to Mickey Mouse for Disney, the actor knows how to bring characters to life.

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Diamantopoulos at the world premiere of Red Notice.
Getty Images

This story is part of I'm So Obsessed (subscribe here), our podcast featuring interviews with actors, artists, celebrities and creative types about their work, career and current obsessions.

Chris Diamantopoulos has some mouth on him. 

A star of Broadway, TV and films, the Canadian-born actor has played a variety of characters, including Russ Hanneman, the over-the-top, bad boy billionaire investor on the HBO series Silicon Valley; Moe Howard in 2012's The Three Stooges and Finn in the Amazon Prime Series Good Girls Revolt

He's also a well-known voice actor who's brought to life a wide cast of characters, including Wonder Woman ally Steve Trevor for the animated Justice Society: World War II and Mickey Mouse for Disney. Next up: He gives voice to the dad in the animated version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, coming to Disney Plus on Dec. 3.

This month, the busy actor stars as very different kinds of bad guys in two projects coming to Netflix. In the globe-trotting, action-comedy Red Notice, airing Nov. 12 and starring Gal Gadot, Ryan Reynolds and Dwayne Johnson, he plays the mobster Sotto Voce, who speaks in a menacing but smoothly sinister whisper. In True Story, a limited crime drama series with Kevin Hart and Wesley Snipes, Diamantopoulos leans into his Greek ancestry to play a grittier villain named Savvas. 

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Rodelio Astudillo/Amazon Studios

As we talk about the many roles he's taken on, I can't stop laughing at how quickly and easily he moves in and out of characters. One minute, he flexes his voice to sound like Mickey, before pivoting to one of his old-time Hollywood favorites, like Errol Flynn, Bing Crosby or Danny Kaye. That he knows the complete dialogue to Kaye's "The pellet with the poison's in the vessel with the pestle" skit from the 1955 musical comedy The Court Jester doesn't surprise me at all.  

"The first time I saw The Court Jester, it changed my life," Diamantopoulos says in an interview for CNET's I'm So Obsessed interview series

"I was 9 years old. My dad brought home a video and said, 'When I was a little boy, there was a movie theater down the street from us, an outdoor theater in Athens. They played this movie, and I climbed the wall and sat up on it so that I could watch it. I've been waiting to show this to you. I didn't know how I was going to show it to you,'" Diamantopoulos recalls. "It was on a Beta tape. He brought it home, and I burned out the tape. I watched it over and over and over, and I could recite that movie from start to finish."

In between his voice impersonations, Diamantopoulos talked with me about working alongside Gadot, Johnson and Reynolds in Red Notice. He describes it as a "global heist action comedy" in which the trio are reluctant partners hunting for Cleopatra's lost golden eggs (fyi, no such eggs existed, so in movie parlance, they're a MacGuffin.)

"I play Sotto Voce, a bad, bad baddie, who actually is in possession of one of these eggs ... and the three of them are trying to outwit me and each other and steal my egg," Diamantopoulos says. "It was fun taking all of these familiar tropes and rolling them into a new version." 

He's also enthusiastic about his bad guy turn in True Story, which stars Hart as a comedian who gets caught up in a crime with his brother, played by Snipes. Says Diamantopoulos, "The revelation for me is the chemistry between Kevin and Wesley. And to be perfectly frank, being a fan of eras gone by and being a cinephile, watching Wesley Snipes perform ... that guy's a movie star, man."

Of course, we also talked about Diamantopoulos' obsessions. They include grilling food, discovering a brand of hand soap that "can give you joy" and reading the musings of Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius. 

You can listen to my interview with Diamantopoulos in the podcast player at the top of this article. Or subscribe to I'm So Obsessed on your favorite podcast app. In each episode, Patrick Holland or I catch up with an artist, actor or creator to learn about work, career and current obsessions.