New ‘X-Men’ star hottest actor on the block nowBy Ruben V. Nepales
Philippine Daily Inquirer
LOS ANGELES – After working in bars and doing odd jobs for many years, Michael Fassbender is suddenly the hottest actor on the block. The male equivalent of Jessica Chastain, who’s in several important projects this year, Michael is likewise very visible onscreen.
Michael’s roles and the directors he’s working with are quite impressive: He’s Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto in Matthew Vaughn’s “X-Men: First Class”; Carl Jung in David Cronenberg’s “A Dangerous Method”; Rochester in Cary Fukunaga’s “Jane Eyre”; a sex addict in (British artist/filmmaker) Steve McQueen’s “Shame,” and a spy in Steven Soderbergh’s “Haywire.”
Next year, he’ll be seen in Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus,” as well as in Jim Jarmusch’s untitled project and Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn’s “Good Vibrations.”
The good breaks mean a lot to the Germany-born and Ireland-raised Michael. “All I really wanted to do was act,” he said. “I guess things started really changing for me when I got ‘Hunger’ in 2007. It happened at the right time. A recession was about to kick off that affected the film industry as much as it did any other industry.”
Michael is grateful to director McQueen for casting him to play the lead role of Provisional Irish Republican Army volunteer Bobby Sands in “Hunger.” The movie and the performances scored awards in various film festivals, including Cannes and Venice.
“You just have to keep knocking on the door and hopefully at some point, [you make] a crack on it. I managed to get my toe in and then the rest of my foot. Next thing I knew, I was in the room,” said the actor, whom you might have seen in Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” and Zack Snyder’s “300.”
And what a room he got into! As Magneto, the mutant who has the power to bend metal with his mind in “X-Men: First Class,” Michael is getting critical approval in early reviews.
On being surrounded by a cast of younger actors in this prequel, Michael admitted: “I don’t really think about that … I’m 34 but I remember when I first went to Los Angeles. I was 24 – an agent who was going to take me on at the time thought I was 35 … I quite enjoy the lines on my forehead because they show my life. That’s my history and I like to see that in other people. Like this wrinkle is due to some girl who broke my heart. I don’t want to escape it in any way.”
Away from the set, Michael, whose father is a chef, also likes to cook but the glut of acting roles have kept him away from the stove.
Not related to…
Often asked if he is related to filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder (even though Michael’s last name is spelled Fassbender), the actor quipped, “No relationship, but in the early years, I said I was sort of related to him – to try to get a job.”
On the science-fiction epic he’s filming with Ridley, Michael – who has dyed his hair blonde for his android role – could only say, “We’re halfway through filming ‘Prometheus.’ Again, I’ve been gifted with the opportunity to work with a master, Ridley Scott. It’s been another joyous experience … I’m just trying to soak up as much information as I can.”
With these big movies that are bound to make him a household name, what’s his strategy to handle the fame and attention? “I try not to plan because whenever I do, it always ends up a mess,” he said, laughing. “Perhaps 10 years ago, I would have been impressed and seduced by all the things that come with fame, but they don’t really interest me anymore. I’m just happy that I’ve been allowed to work in this business. I am lucky that a lot of great filmmakers want to collaborate with me.”
He said he saw how Viggo Mortensen (his co-star in “A Dangerous Method”) deals with fame: “We strolled around Vienna and went to the museums together. He didn’t have anybody with him. He didn’t get stopped except outside the hotel. We signed some pictures. He had a lot of pictures to sign but it didn’t interfere with his everyday life.”
E-mail the columnist at email@example.com.
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