Michael Fassbender (or the Fass as I like to refer to him), belongs to a rare species of beast, more often seen marking their territory around the moonlit streets of Europe than gliding divinely down the red carpets of LA. A conscientious actor with those finely chiseled cheekbones and piercing eyes; his sheer handsomeness places him firmly in potential A-List territory- and yet his talent modesty and likability belies it.
Now, don’t get me wrong, the male Hollywood elite has some fine actors amongst them, but none that can hold a candle to the adaptability and panache of the the Fass. The past 4 years has seen his career skyrocket- from forgettable TV dramas to the most celebrated role in the sci-fi event movie of the year. What is so great about Fassbender is that he has proven that he can take on all manner of roles. 2011 alone saw him play Carl Jung, a sex-addicted yuppy and Magneto; one of the most iconic superhero villains of recent years. But this year he knocked the ball out of the park with his role as David; the android in Prometheus.
Despite having never taken home a major accolade I believe him to be one of the most talented actors currently working in the film industry. He no doubt has a brilliant career ahead for him, and with potential follow ups in the works for both Prometheus and X-men First Class he could well become a main-stay in the blockbuster biz. So lets take a look back at 3 of the most captivating performances from the Fass.
Alongside a curiously multi-national ensemble Michael Fassbender stole the show with his cool, calculating portrayal of Peter Weyland’s no1 creation. Of course the internet has been set alight by Prometheus, before its release fanboys were dissecting the trailer, picking apart the visual references and trying to piece together the narrative and now there are countless reviews, analyses, debates and speculation about a potential sequel. One thing which has remained consistent throughout all the reviews is the amazing performance of the Fass, some even went as far as to say his character was the best thing about the film. (And I for one wouldn’t be too hard-pushed to agree with them).
Before the films release 20th Century Fox released a viral video introducing his character and whetting the appetite of sci-fi fans eveywhere with its implications of morally ambiguous duties. If, of course Weylan Industries WAS real, and we were living in 2089 I’m sure that people would be queuing round the block to have their very own David. (Or is it just me?)
Archie Hicox -Inglorious Basterds
Though it is probably true that Tarantino could make a turd shine he needed no such skill with Fassbender who stepped into the shoes of Archie Hicox after Simon Pegg turned them down. Being half German himself certainly helped him nail the scene as an British film -academic soldier uncover as a Nazi in France. As the plot becomes foiled by a senior German officer and his cover is blown, Fassbender finds himself in one of the greatest Mexican stand-offs in cinema history. His Hicox is so charismatic and instantly likeable, Tarantino’s dialogue rolls of his tongue like he was born to speak it. In terms of performance he was only beaten in this film by the remarkable Christoph Waltz as Col. Hans Landa but can still proudly boast some of the most memorable moments from the film.
Brandon – Shame
McQueen and Fassbender had teamed up previously on the critically acclaimed Hunger which saw the actor physically transform his body to tell the real life story of Bobby Sands; an IRA soldier on hunger strike during the Thatcher years. It was a powerhouse of a performance that demanded the world stand up and take notice of Fassbender (and McQueen) and is only superseded by their second collaboration, Shame here because I believe it to be the better film.
In Shame, Fassbender plays Brandon; a long suffering sex addict in New York whose internal struggle is heightened by the arrival of his flamboyant sister. As with Bobby Sands this is a somewhat understated performance which speaks volumes about the troubled inner psyche of the character with minimal action or dialogue. Fassbender has become the master of saying a thousand words with just one look or one hint at a smile and nowhere is this more brilliantly utilised than Shame.
Both Hunger and Shame earned Fassbender Best Actor gongs from the British International Film Awards and the Evening Standard Film awards but he was unfortunately snubbed at the Oscars despite his monumental talent.
So what’s next for Michael Fassbender? Well, next year will see the release of his 3rd collaboration with director Steve McQueen in 12 years a Slave, in which he stars as a New Yorker kidnapped and sold into slavery in 19th Century America. Could this be the role that bags him an Oscar?
Pre-production has also began on another project with Sir Ridley Scott, The Counsellor written by the excellent novelist Cormac McCarthy. No doubt one to watch out for.