Cheat Sheet: Michael Fassbender
Date of Birth:
2nd April 1977
Place of Birth:
300, Hunger, Inglourious Basterds, Centurion, Fish Tank, X-Men: First Class.
What you probably already know:
You would have definitely seen Fassbender in something very recently. The man’s truly hitting his stride at the moment and is getting offered roles left, right and centre. Thankfully, it’s because he’s really quite a bloody good actor and extremely versatile. Probably his most famous role was as Lt. Archie Hicox in Quentin Tarrantino’s Inglourious Basterds, where he donned a brilliantly posh Queen’s English accent and then continued to wow us all with his perfectly fluent German in a scene so tense many cinema seats would have become irrevocably sweat stained.
He has starred in a number of big action flicks, including 2010’s Centurion and Jonah Hex, and 2006’s Spartan muscle-fest 300. But it is with the new release of X-Men: First Class that he has become truly become household name, playing the young Magneto across from James McAvoy’s young Professor X. He’s playing a young Ian Mckellen, basically, and no one is that worried about him letting the side down.
What you might not know:
For his role as Irish Republican Army prisoner, Bobby Sands, in 2008’s Hunger, Fassbender lost 16kg, restricting his diet to 600 calories a day. That’s nearly a 5th of a male’s daily recommended intake! He took home the best actor award at the British Independent Film Awards for it, and too right too.
What with Fassbender having a strong Irish accent in Hunger and his going back and forth between English and German in Basterds, one question often arises: where the hell is this guy from?! Well, having been born in Germany and raised in Ireland, Fassbender’s natural accent is that of County Kerry, Ireland. Sadly it is very rare indeed to witness him using it on film as his big blockbuster roles never normally require it. However, check him out in Andrea Arnold’s brilliant Fish Tank for another taste of the real Fassbender. Well, kind of.
After X-men, he’s got plenty of films coming up including Ridley Scott’s kind-of Alien prequel Prometheus, a Jim Jarmusch vampire film alongside Tilda Swinton, and Danny Boyle’s next film being squeezed in before the Olympics, Trance.
Not too shabby for a guy that dropped out of drama school.
(on deciding to do X-Men, a big studio film)”It was coming to a point in my career where it was possible, and it was then just about finding the right one. I’ve been around for a while and I’ve had to graft to get to the position I’m in, and I wouldn’t change a bit of that. If it’s a success, then it allots me more power, which allows me to control my own career more.”
What to say at a dinner party:
In Fish Tank, one of Fassbender’s least known but nonetheless better performances, it is delightful to watch an actor draw so much faith from an audience, gain so much affection, yet hold in his eyes a knowing tell of dishonesty and betrayal that will inevitably crush us.
What not to say at a dinner party:
His Irish accents are shit though, innit.
Whether or not you’ve paid much attention to Fassbender’s career so far, you’re not getting away from him anymore. What marks him out amongst the rest of the soon to be superstar actors is that it is his genuine acting prowess that has gotten him there. It will be fantastic to watch big, high budget films with some real acting bravado pushing them forward.