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Backstory: Michael Fassbender's Rapid Ascendance

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Backstory: Michael Fassbender's Rapid Ascendance Empty Backstory: Michael Fassbender's Rapid Ascendance

Post by Admin on Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:12 pm

Backstory: Michael Fassbender's Rapid Ascendance
by: Will Leitch

[Better know a movie star.] Better know a movie star. Stuart Wilson/Getty Images Sometime this weekend, Michael Fassbender is going to become a rather massive movie star. These are the last few moments that you don't know his name; after audiences see him play Magneto in "X-Men: First Class," he's going to be everywhere. This all happened rather fast.

As recently as five years ago, Fassbender was playing second-fiddle in hacky BBC knockoffs of hacky American television shows. Born in Germany and raised in Ireland, Fassbender's first parts were walk-on roles in "Band of Brothers" and, amusingly, as the lead "actor" in a music video for a British band called "The Cooper Temple Clause." In the video, he plays a man who drinks so much that he turns into a goat. No, really.

His post-alcoholic-goat-man career took off in 2008, when he won a London Film Critics award for his performance as Bobby Sands, an IRA volunteer who died in 1981 following a hunger strike, in "Hunger." He lost almost 30 pounds for the part and subsisted on a 500-calorie-a-day diet.

After "Hunger" received rave reviews, Fassbender was in demand, starring in Joel Schumaker's "Blood Creek" and the well-regarded "Fish Tank." But Fassbender was introduced to American audiences by Quentin Tarantino, who cast him in the small-but-pivotal role of Lt. Archie Hicox, the British agent (and movie buff) going behind enemy lines, in "Inglourious Basterds." Fassbinder's still, quiet intensity elevates the already nervy tavern scene to a point of almost unbearable tension.

"Inglourious Basterds" was the first time he was regarded not only as an up-and-coming actor, but a potential movie star, with a bit of an Errol-Flynn-meets-Cary-Grant heroic vibe not seen previously. Earlier this year, he wowed critics again with his work as Edward Rochester in "Jane Eyre," but for the next couple of years, he's going high-profile. He'll play Carl Jung in David Cronenberg's Oscar-hopeful "A Dangerous Method" (with Viggo Mortensen and Keira Knightley), a supporting role in Steven Soderbergh's "Haywire," and Ridley Scott's "Alien" spinoff "Prometheus," with Noomi Rapace (your original Girl with a Dragon Tattoo) and Charlize Theron.

But it'll all start with "X-Men" this weekend. It's a long way from playing a drinking goat.

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