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The hottest actor in town

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Post by Admin on Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:16 pm

The hottest actor in town
Stylist talks to Michael Fassbender

Stylist caught up with the omnipresent Michael Fassbender to talk about getting naked, being Freudian and sticking up for Keira…

Words: Debbie McQuoid; pictures: Rex Features

A Dangerous Method explores the birth of psycho-analysis; did you enjoy making the film?

It was a lot of fun. David [Cronenberg] is very well liked, generous and supportive and he obviously knows what he’s doing; that brings an element of trust and safety on the set. And then the cast, what can I say? They’re a really good bunch of people and really great at what they do. Everybody just came to go to work; it was that simple.

How much did you know about Jung and Freud before the film?

Not a great deal really; pidgin knowledge if anything. I realised in researching it how much it’s relevant in our everyday existence. The terms ‘introvert’ and ‘extrovert’ didn’t exist before them and in terms of my drama school, the techniques that we learnt were very much influenced by the Jungian personalities and how they can be distinguished and analysed and put into categories. So I was like, ‘Oh wow, it’s been in and around me for a long time without me knowing it’.

Did you feel intimidated?

The issue was will I come across as an intelligent human being. I felt like, ‘Oh my God! Don’t **** this up! Don’t be the weak link in a Cronenberg film! Must work on intelligence!’ I was never much of an academic so for me to enter into that world was daunting; to understand how academics think and how they express themselves. They have a really good command of language; it’s a weapon to be used and without out it, you get crushed. Also, the art form of letter writing and how important that was to document everything as it happened.

You went to drama school in London; did you use any analytical techniques?

When I started getting in to acting - at the time I was 17, 18, 19 - the idea of Stanislavski and the method technique and what was happening in the acting studio of New York, that was really appealing to me. I read a lot of books about it and then I realised that a lot of it is common sense. Then I took different elements I picked up over the years from drama school and formulated my own process. A lot of the times it would be a psychoanalytical approach to each character that I would do anyway because I think, ‘Why does this person behave so aggressively here? Well, this thing happened to him when he was younger and that’s scarred him and this the result.’ And then a lot of it would just be intuitive. When I’m working with a director I don’t like to talk too much. I just say, “I’ll show you and you tell me if it’s right”. I give them options.

First Shame, now A Dangerous Method; are you tired of talking about sex?

[Sings ‘let’s talk about sex’]

Surprisingly, especially with Shame it’s not being asked as much as I thought. It’s a similar thing with Hunger where people weren’t homing in on the political aspect of it, it’s more about the human side of it and I think that [writer] Abi [Morgan] and Steve got that with the script again. What’s interesting is that years ago, Freud and Jung were talking about it and in Shame we’re still talking about it; sexual behaviour within our society. It is a subject matter that still holds a lot of intrigue and curiosity around it. Is it just purely an animalistic, primal instinct? Yes, would be the answer to that to begin with; it’s just in order for us to procreate and survive. But then you get the money people who realised that sex sells really well. People started marketing it, so even the types of men and women that we find attractive; are they actually are own instinctual desires? Or are they something that’s been pitched and sold to us?

Vincent Cassel (as Otto Gross) provides the humour in the film – which for such a heavy going subject felt necessary. What was it like acting against him?

He’s been doing it for a while; he’s got really good intuition and we just sort of messed around. We didn’t talk a lot about where these characters were or what was going on. I remember when I got the script, I was like, ‘Well, this guy Otto Gross is the one. He’s going to come in for three days work and will blow everyone away; he’s going to be the character that steals the show.’ We just got on, that was the thing; with Viggo and Keira as well, we just hit it off immediately. We have the same sense of humour and look at life in the same way; kind of simple outlooks. When Vincent’s not acting, he’s doing his surfing thing and there’s a life outside of it. The life within it is all about the work and then when the works done you go and live your life.

How was it working with Keira?

I think Keira gets flack in the press, here particularly. I’ve never really understood that because I think she’s really talented. She’s very down to earth and easy to work with; she’s got quite a naughty and mischievous sense of humour. She’s just a very private person. I think it will be the classic scenario where she’ll end up being the Dame of British Acting.

What do you do in your down time?

I like road trips. I get on my bike and I like carting; that’s probably my favourite pastime. And music has always been a big influence for me. I’m trying to surf as well but I’m completely crap. I’m always travelling though; an actor’s life is travelling.

Where do you call home?

In my formative years, Ireland was where I grew up and most of my influences would come from there. Having said that, I’ve been here [in London] for 15 years now and I left Ireland when I was 19 so they’re almost balancing out. I would say one thing though; I feel European. I did a road trip there this summer, going through all the different countries in Europe. They’re all very different but there’s a sort of common thread of understanding we have; probably from hundreds of years of beating the s$#! out of each other and living in each other’s back gardens. It’s nice being a European in America, where you can appreciate it but have your own sense of history; of difference.

You’re up for a BAFTA. Do you take awards buzz seriously?

Of course you take it seriously. The idea to be nominated at all; it’s flattering and you’re honoured by it. But for me to start thinking about it there’s sort of that element of Gollum and the ring, ‘My Precious’. There’s not that much I can do now; I did my job six months ago or a year ago [on the film set]. Now you give it up into the hands of the viewing public and see where it goes from there.

You worked with director Steve McQueen on Hunger (2008) before Shame. Is it true you have a third project lined up?

Apparently. I’m not going to say anything about that just because it keeps me in a safe zone if it doesn’t happen. But yes, I love Steve. I knew when I met him that first time for Hunger that he was an original. I knew that I just needed to work with him because I was going to learn from him. He’s very open and honest about himself. If he’s vulnerable then that’s OK to show that or if there’s a femininity or a nerdishness or whatever it may be, we’ve all got it and he’s open about it. That shows a great sort of strength.

You haven’t got a publicist yet. Is that deliberate?

I just haven’t felt that I’ve needed one up until this point. I have an assistant which is great; a real luxury that I really do appreciate. I’ve got an agent here and then one in LA. We work very well within that dynamic. I don’t like to have too many numbers around.

A Dangerous Method is in cinemas from February 10

Posts : 27093
Join date : 2009-09-20
Location : California

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