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How Heavy Metal Made Michael Fassbender an Actor

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How Heavy Metal Made Michael Fassbender an Actor Empty How Heavy Metal Made Michael Fassbender an Actor

Post by Admin on Sat Jun 11, 2011 3:58 pm

June 3, 2011, 12:00 PM ET

How Heavy Metal Made Michael Fassbender an Actor

By Alexandra Cheney

According to Michael Fassbender, “X-Men: First Class” is a film, mutants aside, “about humans and humanity.” The 34-year-old actor plays Magneto, the villain with a troubling childhood and a wealth of power. Fassbender talked with Speakeasy about growing up in Ireland, heavy metal and his upcoming film, Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus.”

The Wall Street Journal: Do you think audiences are tired of comic book films?

Michael Fassbender: All I know is that we were very concerned about doing a character driven piece. We did an awful lot of work in the little time we had to prep to figure out how to get the most out of this relationship and that characters. Perhaps in big extravagant commercial films the action supersedes that. But the action pieces are there to support the characters, not the other way around.

A lot of critics are hinting that this is your breakout role. With the history behind this film, did you feel an additional pressure to perform?

I realized that this was going to be a big commercial film because the fan base is so massive and it’s a very passionate, loyal and vocal fan base. You think, ok, “I’ve got some work to do and a big responsibility.” You are just worried that you are not going to make it evolve, to be honest. Are you are going to be able to bring something fresh and exciting? Hopefully you can translate that to the audience. And I was very nervous when I went to see it because we were making bold choices and taking risks but you never know how that’s going to work out. It seems like the fans have responded to that.

What risks are you referring to?

That idea of every choice you are making, like the satellite scene, showing a vulnerability there and James picked up and responded to it. Like the idea of doing something in different languages. We added in the scene, an extra scene hoping to get the relationship right. Then you wonder, god is it too somber in places? You just don’t know, but you are in it so you are not having the best objective view.

How do you keep “X-Men” a relateable film that lives in fantasy world?

I didn’t really worry about the fantasy world. Kevin was speaking about this as well. What you kind of do is focus in on the humanity of it, although it’s all about mutants it’s actually about humanity and human beings and how we are related and deal with each other. And how all of us at some point have felt alienated or tried to find a way to be accepted. That goes back to school days and I really focused in on the characters. This business and my job is to suspend belief throughout the whole film, you don’t want to be the bubble to be burst.

At school were you a bully or bullied?

I think somewhere in between. No, definitely I wasn’t a bully but I got into a couple of fights. With a name like Fassbender you can imagine how many combinations one can have fun with at school. I wasn’t the best scrapper. I’m sure I lost all my fights but I did feel like I was fairly average at school and at sports in general. I grew my hair long and music was kind of my outlet in my early teens in that period of time when you are like “who am I.” I found a definite release in heavy metal and punk. I really wanted to be a heavy metal guitarist; I thought it could be my calling. And then I got introduced to acting when I was 17, and I feel like I could express myself in this medium. It was a real revelation to me when I found it.

Looking ahead, you are also working on the Ridley Scott directed “Prometheus.”

He’s very mischievous and he’s very free and it’s a very liberating process working with him because he lets you come up with an idea and run with it. He’s open to any ideas you come up with and he will let you rewrite scenes or let you change a scene if he thinks they work. He’s so precise; he’s a legend, a real master of his craft. His attention to detail is amazing to watch, down to the props you are using, the set design as well as your character. He’s got an enormous amount of energy and enthusiasm. It’s like a master class everyday being on set with him.

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