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Post by Admin on Sat Feb 26, 2011 8:35 pm

March 2011
Caroline Palmer

Dressed in a black suit and gamely tossing a bowler hat in the air, Michael Fassbender is the definition of coll under pressure. For the past three hours, he has had his picture taken from every angel, in all manner of period garb, and he has never stopped smiling his signature, somewhat mischievous grin. "With this man," the photographer sighs, gesturing at Fassbender's face, "you cannot get a bad picture.

Back in contemporary clothes--a motorcycle jacket and a black cap--for a drink a the Jane hotel, Fassbender, who was born in Germany and raised in the Irish coastal town of Killarney, exude an affable masculinity, as if he were game for anything the day might bring. (It's a good thing, too, if you've just wrapped the next installment of X-Men.) This month, the 33-year-old steals the show with his manic, passionate portrayal of Edward Rochester in Cary Fukunaga's sweeping Jane Eyre, opposite the lovely Mia Wasikowska.

Fassbender is no overnight sensation. He may have persuaded his skeptical parents to let him skip university in favor of drama school in London, but seven years later, he was still waiting for his big break. ("As a backup plan, I was teaching myself how to make every cocktail out there," he says." Luckily for Fassbender--and for us--at the age of 30, he landed the demanding lead role in Steve McQueen's Hunger, for which he won a British Independent Film Award for Best Actor. From there, he moved on to critically acclaimed parts in Inglourious Basterds and Fish Tank. No rest for the talented: Up next are roles in the Steven Soderbergh action-thriller Haywire, David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method, and McQueen's Shame, opposite Carey Mulligan.

Fassbender comes by his commanding on-screen presence honestly. Offscreen, he spends his time motorcycle riding, jumping out of airplanes, spear-fishing, and taking long road trips. But for all his big adventures, he's still a small boy at heart. Last year, the actor was asked to ride on a float of honor in an annual parade in Killarney. "It was great, hilarious," he says with a laugh. "Here I am sitting and waving like I'm a celebrity, but I grew up with everyone in the crowd. They were all yelling my name--and I was yelling back."

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