If you haven’t been paying attention to film news, you may not know that 2011 was a great year for actor Michael Fassbender. However, he also managed to resurface in 2012 with Prometheus, and shows no sign of slowing down. This is one name you need to know!
The 35-year-old actor was born in Germany and raised in Ireland, and began his acting career with various TV series and TV movies before breaking out into the film industry in Zack Snyder’s bloody 300 (2006) as Stelios. He stretched his acting chops to the brink playing Bobby Sands in 2008’s Hunger, as his character plays the leader of the 1981 IRA Hunger Strike in Northern Ireland in this film interpretation of real events. His face became more recognizable playing the cucumber-cool Lt. Archie Hicox in Inglourious Basterds (2009), which is where I first discovered his charming potential and flair for accents.
As many moviegoers may know, 2011 is where Michael Fassbender reached the hearts of millions more by taking on the iconic role of Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto) in the reboot/prequel of the X-Men franchise, X-Men: First Class. He also starred in the adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s novel, Jane Eyre, which is a faithful interpretation of the beloved story of a young governess, Jane (Mia Wasikowska), and the secrets of her mysterious employer, Mr. Rochester (Fassbender). It was interesting to see two very different sides to the acting style of Fassbender, showing how he could be both a brooding, tortured Victorian character and an action star with metallic superpowers in one year. This guy is versatile.
Also in 2011, Fassbender took roles in some lesser-known (yet critically-acclaimed) films such as the moody flick Shame, the action-packed Haywire, and the period film, A Dangerous Method, starring alongside Keira Knightley and Viggo Mortensen. He certainly keeps busy, and continues to work in a wide variety of genres.
His latest film, Ridley Scott’s futuristic Prometheus (2012), came out this year and will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on October 11. He plays the character of David, an emotionally-vacant android that accompanies a crew of explorers on an investigation of an alien world. Fassbender is memorable amidst the other members aboard the “Prometheus” ship, who come across as mildly superficial compared to the intriguing character of David. Even though he isn’t human, Fassbender’s David seems to bring the film to life throughout the predictable alien encounters by becoming a confidant, a channel for villainy, and a puzzle for the audience to solve the whole way through (as the ending brings about more questions than answers).
Fassbender has also been racking up the award nominations. He was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance in 2011’s Shame, and was nominated for a BAFTA Film Award in 2009 as a Rising Star, and 2012 as a Best Leading Actor (Shame). He won a British Independent Film Award for his performances in Hunger and Shame, and was nominated as Best Supporting Actor for 2009’s Fish Tank.
It seems that Fassbender is developing worldwide appeal, and has the ability to portray blockbuster and indie characters with consistent intensity and poise. He certainly has some great acting up his sleeve, as he is proving from year to year. I think what draws me most to his work is how unique he is, and how he can transform himself in a similar way to another actor I would recommend, Christian Bale. He is a fresh face in the film industry amidst the Hollywood honchos of today.
What’s coming up for Michael Fassbender?
His next project, another Steve McQueen film titled Twelve Years a Slave, will be released in 2013. In this movie he will play Edwin Epps, along with other stars such as Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Paul Dano, Sarah Paulson and Chiwetel Ejiofor. He has also signed on for the next X-Men film, X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) as Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto. You can check out his full list of projects here at IMDb.com.
Here is a glimpse of Fassbender as Lt. Hicox in the film Inglourious Basterds (Warning – there is some R-rated violence around the two-minute mark, so if you don’t want to see that you can stop there).
(Thanks to IMDb)