Creator / Michael Fassbender

"What I find really interesting is to try and mix it up, to push myself and try different things. I don't want to stay in my comfort zone. I want to take risks and keep myself scared."

Michael Fassbender (born 2 April 1977) is an Irish–German actor actor with a background in theatre whose feature film debut was in the fantasy war epic 300 (2007) as a Spartan warrior; his earlier roles included starring roles on television such as in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers (2001) and the Sky One fantasy drama Hex (2004). He first came to prominence after starring in the 2008 film Hunger about the 1981 Irish hunger strike. While the film had a fairly limited release, Fassbender's intense performance got a lot of praise.

He had a handful of other notable roles over the next two years, but things really took off in 2011. That year he played more coveted (and well-received) roles than many actors have in their entire career including Magneto in X-Men: First Class, Carl Jung in A Dangerous Method, and Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre. He is known for his broodingly intense persona and dark charisma. While having a quick career turn is not uncommon for actors, few have been in so many high-profile roles so successfully. His career seems to be continuing strongly with roles in big films like Ridley Scott's Prometheus. In 2013 he returned to work with Steve McQueen, the director of Hunger and Shame, and played slaveowner Edwin Epps in 12 Years a Slave, a role he has garnered massive acclaim for, including nominations for an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a SAG Award.

Selected Works:

This actor's work provides examples of:

  • The Cast Showoff: invoked He's shown off his bilingualism, speaking German for Inglorious Basterds and X-Men: First Class.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: invoked
    • For his role in Hunger, he dropped about thirty pounds and obsessively rehearsed the lengthy scenes. In general, Fassbender is known for his desire to fully embody his characters.
    • Centurion saw him get into incredible shape - since his Shirtless Scene lasts about twenty minutes.
    • For Prometheus, he bleached his hair blonde.
    • Also greyed his hair as part of his portrayal of Steve Jobs in his last years in Steve Jobs.
  • Fake Nationality: invoked Tends to play a lot of American or British characters. He used his real accent for Magneto in X-Men: First Class but switched to a British accent for subsequent films.
  • Fake Scot: invoked As the man himself in Macbeth. He's one of two Irish actors in the 2015 version to do this, alongside Jack Reynor.
  • Funny Character, Boring Actor: invoked Inverted. He usually plays serious gritty roles. A glance at interviews shows he's quite the Genki Guy and jokester.
  • Irony as She Is Cast: invoked Pat Christenson, his character in Band of Brothers, doesn't know how to speak German while Fassbender is half-German and fluent in the language.
  • Male Frontal Nudity: Famously in Shame.
  • Man of a Thousand Faces: Even if you are used to his face, the variety of characters Fassbender plays and his ability to change his appearance and idiosyncrasy (he is described as not playing them, but more like becoming them) make him sometimes downright unrecognizable, leading to shocking realizations when you read his name in the credits.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: invoked Is often typecast as villains or Jerkasses - but in real life is known to be friendly and fun to work with.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping:
    • In X-Men: First Class, his character is a German Jew (which is very important to the plot), but his accent is pretty uniformly still Irish. Interestingly, his performance was considered so good, that this aspect is often noted, but rarely criticized. Justified in that Ian McKellen (who played the older version of his character in previous movies) didn't exactly attempt a German accent either. This is only in the first film, as he adopts a British accent for X-Men: Days of Future Past, which ties First Class in with the continuity of the other films, so he's matching Ian McKellen's accent. Averted during his German speaking part in the film; Fassbender speaks German fluently, due to being half-German, and the contrast to Kevin Bacon's poorly accented German is very noticeable to German speakers.
    • His accent's also uneven in Steve Jobs, particularly at the beginning, although this is nowhere near as noticeable as in the above.
  • Production Posse: invoked With Steve McQueen. Fassbender starred in all three films McQueen has directed (Hunger, Shame and 12 Years a Slave). They are friends in real life.
  • Promoted Fanboy: invoked
  • Romance on the Set: invoked
    • Dated actress Zoe Kravitz (Angel) while they were filming X-Men: First Class.
    • And dated his Shame costar Nicole Beharie.
    • Started a relationship with Alicia Vikander after they co-starred in The Light Between Oceans.
  • Star-Making Role: invoked Hunger and 300 brought him to worldwide attention, but it was X-Men: First Class that really solidified his star status.
  • What Could Have Been: invoked
    • He was the runner up for Total Recall (2012) behind fellow Irishman Colin Farrell.
    • He was set to play Thomas Wolfe in Genius but had to drop out, and Jude Law replaced him.
    • He cameo'd in Woody Allen's Cassandra's Dream but the scene was cut.
  • Younger Than They Look: He appears a few years older than his actual age, which extends to a lot of his characters.