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Michael Fassbender: The Best Actor in Hollywood Right Now?

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Michael Fassbender: The Best Actor in Hollywood Right Now?

Post by Admin on Mon May 28, 2012 2:48 pm

http://planetivy.com/2012/05/26/michael-fassbender-movie-star-material/

Michael Fassbender: The Best Actor in Hollywood Right Now?

May 26, 2012
Brogan Morris

How does a film actor know when he’s arrived as a major player in the business? Is it when he goes from bit-parter to lead actor in just a couple of years, or when King of Hollywood George Clooney namechecks his p**** in an acceptance speech? Or is it when auteurs Tarantino, Soderbergh, Cronenberg and ‘Prometheus’ helmer Ridley Scott are clambering to work with him? Is his star at its brightest when covers of magazines the world over bear the image of his grinning face?

Whatever the signifier, Michael Fassbender is definitely here. The mercurial Irish-German actor was the subject of controversy earlier this year when he was snubbed at the Oscars for his phenomenal performance in sex-addiction drama ‘Shame’. It was a good year for strong male performances, but Fassbender’s was better than most. By-turns charming, intense, emotional, frightening, frequently enigmatic, always subtle and true, this was the work of a real movie star, the kind of work the 35 year-old’s entire career has been built upon. Plus he did something none of the five Best Actor nominees this year dared to do: bared himself on screen, all of himself, forever to be haunted by Clooney’s taunts about playing golf with his arms behind his back. Oscar should’ve recognised him.

It’s not like Fassbender’s career will be harmed by the snub, though. He’s currently on a meteoric rise, thanks largely to breaking out with his lead role in 2007’s ‘Hunger’ after years of toiling in television. It was a performance as daring as anything he’s done – similarly 2009’s ‘Fish Tank’, which showed him in an alternately charming and dangerous light. Watch as he toes the difficult line between hero and villain, acting as a father figure for and then drunkenly seducing an underage girl. These were two films that highlighted the actor’s fearlessness early, as well as his considerable Irish charm; they also put him on the path to Hollywood.

It’s not just the talent or the matinee idol good-looks that account for his rapid rise. He fits just as snugly in blockbusters (he was the best thing in ‘X-Men: First Class’) as he does in period dramas (‘Jane Eyre’), action thrillers (‘Haywire’), social realist grit (‘Fish Tank’), war flicks (‘Inglourious Basterds’), arthouse pictures (‘Hunger’) and – judging by the early footage – science fiction (‘Prometheus’). And don’t forget explicit sex dramas.

Frankly, Michael Fassbender is a chameleon. It’s hard to imagine cinema’s other finest modern movie star, Ryan Gosling, working just as well in historical pieces (like ‘A Dangerous Method’ or ‘300’) as he does in contemporary drama. Fassbender, on the other hand, has yet to find a genre or style he can’t adapt to. This is what makes him the greatest movie star working today; he has the charisma to carry anything from low budget experimentals to tentpole extravaganzas. He has the intelligence as a performer to deliver exactly what his role requires. The chameleonic quality sees him fit comfortably into any project, and the handsome features are there to draw in the punters.

Last year's ‘X-Men: First Class’ was a sign of Hollywood finally taking note. This was a big blockbuster, a comic book movie part of a huge franchise, and Fassbender was given the second lead. He nailed the role of Magneto, here a tortured avenging force in the Connery-Bond mould, to the extent that the rest of the (admittedly very fine) film paled in comparison. The studio system took a gamble on the county Kerry-man and it paid off.

And so, unsurprisingly, Fassbender is currently one of the most in-demand performers in the industry. Right now he’s working on author Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Counsellor’, his second collaboration with Ridley Scott, and ‘Twelve Years A Slave’, his third with ‘Shame’ director Steve McQueen. A sequel to ‘First Class’ is also in the works, set to shoot in January. Compared to Fassbender’s usual output (five releases in 2011 alone), he’ll be calling this a quiet year.

Brogan Morris
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