Michael Fassbender (born April 2, 1977 in Heidelberg, Germany) is an IrishĖGerman screen and stage actor and producer.
His 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.
He's been married to Alicia Vikander since 2017. They have one child. He also may or may not be a shark.
- Band of Brothers (2001) as Burton 'Pat' Christenson
- HEX (2004) as Azazeal
- Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking (2004) as Charles Allen
- Poirot (After the Funeral, 2006)
- Angel (2007) as Esmé Howe-Nevinson
- 300 (2007) as Stelios
- Hunger (2008) as Bobby Sands
- Eden Lake (2008) as Steve
- Fish Tank (2009) as Conor
- Inglourious Basterds (2009) as Lt. Archie Hicox
- Centurion (2010) as Quintus Dias
- Jonah Hex (2010) as Burke
- X-Men films as Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto
- X-Men: First Class (2011)
- X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
- X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
- Dark Phoenix (2019)
- Shame (2011) as Brandon Sullivan
- Jane Eyre (2011) as Edward Rochester
- A Dangerous Method (2011) as Carl Jung
- Haywire (2012) as Paul
- Alien franchise as David:
- Prometheus (2012)
- Alien: Covenant (2017): also portrayed Walter
- 12 Years a Slave (2013) as Edwin Epps
- The Counselor (2013) as Counselor
- Frank (2014) as Frank
- Slow West (2015) as Silas Selleck
- Macbeth (2015) as Macbeth
- Steve Jobs (2015) as Steve Jobs
- Assassin's Creed (2016) as Callum Lynch and Aguilar de Nerha
- The Snowman (2017) as Harry Hole
- Next Goal Wins (2023) as Thomas Rongen
- The Killer (TBA)
- Kung Fury 2 (TBA) as Colt Magnum
This actor's work provides examples of:
- Anti-Hero: He excels at playing immensely troubled but fundamentally good characters with serious demons.
- The Cast Showoff: He's shown off his bilingualism, speaking German for Inglourious Basterds and X-Men: First Class.
- Dyeing for Your Art:
- 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: 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.
- In Assassin's Creed (2016), he plays both an American death-row inmate and his Spanish ancestor.
- Fake Scot: 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: Inverted. He usually plays serious gritty roles. A glance at interviews shows he's quite the Genki Guy and jokester.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With James McAvoy. While the two actually worked together in Band of Brothers, they shared no screentime together, and it wasn't until X-Men: First Class that they really became friends. They are known to text, share videos and share a pint once in a while. Watch any interview/behind the scenes footage of them, and itís very obvious they have a deep mutual respect and care for each other very much.
- Irony as She Is Cast: 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: As said in the article quote, he enforces it deliberately by looking for new challenges in the roles he plays. He arguably has success; even if you are used to his face, the variety of characters Fassbender plays sometimes makes him difficult to recognize.
- 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: 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. He's also worked three times with Ridley Scott.
- Promoted Fanboy:
- When he was in secondary school, he put together a school play of Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs, a fact that came up when Fassbender was reading for a role in Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds.
- He's a self-proclaimed fan of the Assassin's Creed games. Its movie adaptation is his first production as a movie co-producer and he played the main roles of both modern-day and the historical setting in it.
- He's had a lifelong passion for motor racing, having actually wanted to be a racecar driver before an actor. He eventually got a chance to drive under Ferrari's "Corsa Pilota" training course before eventually moving to Porsche and getting involved in a full-season campaign in the European Le Mans Series with the eventual goal of getting to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Other Wiki actually now lists him as an "actor and racing driver.''
- Romance on the Set:
- Dated ZoŽ Kravitz (Angel) while they were filming X-Men: First Class.
- Also dated his Shame costar Nicole Beharie.
- Started a relationship with Alicia Vikander after they co-starred in The Light Between Oceans. They later married.
- Star-Making Role: 300 and Hunger earned him a lot of attention, but it was X-Men: First Class that really launched him into stardom.
- Tall, Dark, and Handsome: He pretty much epitomizes this trope, both in appearance and personality.
- What Could Have Been:
- 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 had a cameo appearance in Woody Allen's Cassandra's Dream, but the scene was cut.
- He also lobbied hard for Rosario Dawson's role in Trance. He tried to convince Danny Boyle to make her character male and make the film revolve around a gay romance, sex scenes and all. This was after James McAvoy was cast in the lead, which means that Fassbender really wanted to make a film where Charles and Erik have a romantic relationship.
- His first-ever audition was for the role of Rafe in Pearl Harbor, but he was passed over for Ben Affleck.
- Younger Than They Look: He appears a few years older than his actual age, which extends to a lot of his characters.