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Meet Hollywood’s Newest 'It' Guy: Michael Fassbender

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Meet Hollywood’s Newest 'It' Guy: Michael Fassbender

Post by Admin on Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:59 am

http://www.parade.com/celebrity/celebrity-parade/2011/12/michael-fassbender.html

interview
Mary Margaret
December 08, 2011

Meet Hollywood’s Newest 'It' Guy: Michael Fassbender
Michael Fassbender is his own worst enemy when it comes to traditional Hollywood fame.

Despite a year filled with standout roles (Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre, Magneto in X-Men: First Class) and Oscar buzz (for playing Carl Jung in A Dangerous Method and a sex addict in Shame), most of America would have a hard time recognizing his name. But that’s not because he isn’t worth noticing. It’s because he plays his roles so convincingly that he has a sneaky habit of disappearing in them, becoming a cinematic chameleon very much like his idol Gary Oldman.

In Shame, his performance of Brandon Sullivan — a typical Manhattan financier struggling with a secret sex addiction — is searing, but Fassbender admits that the emotional and physical vulnerability (he appears naked and in various intimate situations) of the NC-17-rated movie can be hard for him to sit through.

“I’ve only seen it once because it’s difficult to watch,” he says with a laugh, “The first time was in Venice [at the film festival, where he picked up Best Actor] and it was kind of interesting. I sat through the whole thing but I was like [covers his eyes] through the third act. I was definitely moving around in my seat a lot.”

The 34-year old Irish actor (who is as polite in person as his characters can be menacing onscreen) spoke to PARADE about the awards season chatter, what his dad thought about his most daring role to date, and his fall back career.

On his acting approach.
"When I started off,, I was very angst angsty and I would take my work home with me at night and then I thought, 'Well, do I need to do that?' I think at a certain point I saw myself do some bad stuff and I worked with this actress Helen McCrory, who is amazing. She was standing there chatting and laughing and the next thing she turned and walked into this scene and totally collapsed and was a mess. I was like, 'That is impressive, that is really cool to switch it on and off like that.' And I started to do more and more of that. I find if I hang on too tight, I bring it into the performance and it can affect the performance. Sometimes it's good to be as light as possible because then you are not pre-imposing something on the scene. It's like, ‘See what happens and keep it loose.’ From that, I've found I've really learned the most and found the most surprises. And through those surprises I've found the most interesting characters. You are more aware of what is around you. There are a thousand ways to go and open that door."

On watching Shame with his dad.
“My dad was behind me. I had invited my mom, too. When I was filming, I was like, ‘This is not one that we’re going to watch together.’ But as time passed, I said, ‘Oh, forget it. Come to Venice and we’ll watch it together.’ Thank God her back played up — it was probably psychosomatic — so she wasn’t there. But my dad was cool. He was like, ‘Thank God your mother stayed!’ He was pretty impressed by it. He was really proud, even though that might sound weird!”

Looking at sex addiction differently.
“At first I was like, ‘What is that?’ I didn’t know if I took it seriously. What you realize is that it is something very real and very damaging. You meet people that suffer from it and you realize that a lot of the time their lives are destroyed. Like drugs or gambling, it becomes all encompassing. Like with Internet pornography, you have guys locking themselves up for 72 hours in a room. Where is it coming from, how can we help? This film doesn’t have the answers, but we’re poking around and asking questions. I think Brandon’s main issue is the emotional content in a relationship. He can’t open up and have emotional responsibility or intimacy.”

On playing Carl Jung.
“Back in Europe in the early 1900’s, they felt it was like super-civilization. They were questioning a lot of things and we’re almost a lot more conservative now about the things we can discuss. It’s like Diary of A Lost Girl, G.W. Pabst’s film from the 1930’s I think it was, that was a dark film. It was dealing with prostitution and an unhealthy father and daughter relationship and going into areas we think are sophisticated now. So these people were asking serious questions and nothing was too crazy. So the conversations between Jung and Freud were dialogue. They were academics so it’s not like you’re going to be struck down by lightning with some of this stuff. It’s science.”

On the difference between Brandon and Jung.
“With Jung, I wanted to show a sensuality and I did that by making him eat a lot. He’s eating biscuits or cake or large portions on the plate. This guy has a big appetite and enjoys his food. Brandon eats only as fuel. Like when he eats leftover Chinese or drinks his Redbull in the morning. There is no pleasure from it, just like in his sex life. He physically connects but with no emotional connection or any sort of joy taken from it.”

On his mom wanting to act.
"There is no development there yet. My mom's really enjoying herself now and my parents are both sort of retired from the restaurant game. It's nice because that is an all-consuming profession. Even if you're not there your mind is on it and it's a really tough, tough business."

On going into the family business one day.
"It was my only fall back plan! I love hotels and I love restaurants. I love that feeling. I always loved working in the restaurant and I love that idea of a couple who go out only a handful of times a year coming in and feeling special. I like that ceremony and ritual. Also that world is very colorful. The characters you see, not only the customers that come in and out of the premises but also the people that you work with. You have to be there. I know from experience you've got to be there and keep an eye on the staff. It's not one of those things that is successful if you are running it from a distance."

On the awards buzz.
“There’s nothing I really can do at this point so it’s just wait and see. I’m very flattered people are mentioning it and suggesting it, but I’ll just wait and see what happens.”


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