Michael Fassbender is hot stuff at the moment, so we’ve got the lowdown on all things ‘bender including his biggest films, upcoming appearances and some fun facts.
- His father is from Germany and his mother is from Northern Ireland.
- He was born in Heidelberg, Germany but grew up in Killarney, a beautiful town in the south west of Ireland, near the Ring of Kerry.
- He speaks fluent German.
- His surname is a variant of ‘Fassbinder’, which is the German word for a binder or repairer of casks and barrels.
Beginnings as an actor
Michael Fassbender’s acting career began properly in 2001, when he began to appear in British productions such as Hearts and Bones and then got a small part in Band Of Brothers. He moved on to Holby City in 2002, before acting in a few on-off TV dramas. He played Azazel in the TV series Hex and in 2003 he even voiced Dracula in Book at Bedtime, a radio play for BBC Northern Ireland.
300 (2006) This is the role that first brought Michael Fassbender to the attention of film lovers, as well as introducing him to mainstream America. In this film he plays Stelios, a Spartan soldier with a highly-skilled fighting technique. Apart from muscle-touting, Fassbender does a good job of portraying the angry, powerful warrior and demonstrated that he has a range to do battle scenes.
Speaking of range, Hunger (2008) is the film that really launched Fassbender into the realm of respected actor. In order to play the part of IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands, he starved himself for ten weeks. Hunger is set in the Belfast of 1981, when the Special Category Status of prisoner was being withdrawn, prompting IRA men in the city’s Maze prison to protest. Bobby Sands was the first of ten men to starve himself to death and Fassbender bravely took on this role. He won many awards for this film, including Best Actor at the British Independent Film Awards and Best Actor in a Lead Role in a Film at the Irish Film and Television Awards.
Inglourious Basterds (2009) His German roots must have helped him out when he played soldier Lt. Archie Hicox, an Englishman who goes undercover as a German. It is interesting that in the film he plays a man with an English accent who has to try and sound German, when in real life he is fluent in the latter language. If some people had still managed to miss the fact that he is a great actor, then this was rectified with Inglourious Basterds.
Centurion (2010) Here Fassbender plays Quintus Dias, the only survivor when his Roman garrison is attacked by Picts. Set in Roman Britain in AD 117, this powerful action film shows off Fassbender’s acting ability in scenes of violence, a role for which his performance in 300 must have given him lots of practice.
Jane Eyre (2011) As Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre, Fassbender gives a stunningly strong performance. He injects some fantastic masculinity into the film and reminds us that he is a flexible actor who does not just do well in fight scenes, but also in emotional romances. He plays the development of Mr. Rochester’s character very well, from his initial unwavering fierceness to when his emotions start to soften and he lets Jane in.
X-Men First Class (2011) In playing Magneto, Fassbender was able to add to his fanbase, although it is unlikely that he has managed to slip under the radar of most film lovers, having appeared in some of the biggest films in recent years. His performance as a young Magneto is very strong and is definitely enough to attract the attention of anyone who had previously been unsure about him.
Shame (13th January, 2012) Directed by Steve McQueen, Shame tells the story of sex-addict Brandon (Fassbender) whose life is full of indulgence. Set in New York, it deals with the nature of ‘need’ and the experiences that shape our lives. Oh, and there is a controversial full-frontal nude scene with Fassbender.
A Dangerous Method (10th February, 2012) Continuing with the controversy, Fassbender spanks Keira Knightley, in this film directed by David Cronenberg. He plays Carl Jung, friend and rival to Sigmund Freud as their relationship develops and eventually psychoanalysis is born.
Prometheus (1st June, 2012) Fassbender will play an android called David in the film directed by Ridley Scott, that will take audiences to remote and dark corners of the world as explorers try to save humanity.
With Fassbender’s suave good looks and his acting career going from strength to strength, there are even rumours flying about that he may be considering playing James Bond after Daniel Craig. There is no doubt that he would do the role justice and with his Irish accent, he would surely give Scottish Sean Connery a run for his money. We’ll keep you posted!