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Michael Fassbender is The Counselor – Next up X-Men: Days of Future Past

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 Michael Fassbender is The Counselor – Next up X-Men: Days of Future Past Empty Michael Fassbender is The Counselor – Next up X-Men: Days of Future Past

Post by Admin on Mon Sep 23, 2013 5:12 pm

Michael Fassbender is The Counselor – Next up X-Men: Days of Future Past
Posted by Interview People on September 20, 2013

Michael Fassbender wants you to know that he is not irreversibly drawn to playing twisted characters. In recent years, audiences have seen him play an IRA terrorist (The Hunger), a self-hating sex addict (Shame), and an evil android (Prometheus). His new film, The Counselor, directed by Ridley Scott, presents him in a slightly better light, that of an overly ambitious lawyer drawn into the highly lucrative yet dangerous world of drug trafficking.

“I suppose I haven’t played the most noble characters lately but they were all superbly tragic,” Fassbender says. “I think we’re all attracted to flawed people – we want to try to understand why we don’t always do the right thing or why life turns out to be much uglier than we want it to be. That’s what makes human beings so fascinating.”

In The Counselor, Fassbender’s lawyer soon finds that his dealings with Reiner, a drug lord played with delicious manic malevolence by Javier Bardem, may be more of a Faustian bargain that he imagined. Brad Pitt and Penelope Cruz also co-star in this tense drama based on a script by Cormac McCarthy, whose book No Country for Old Men was the basis for the Coen Bros. film of the same name that earned Bardem an Oscar.

The 36-year-old Fassbender has spent the summer working in Montreal where he is reprising his role as Magneto in Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, co-starring Jennifer Lawrence and Hugh Jackman. The film is slated to be released next summer. In the meantime, the handsome Irish-German actor will be seen playing yet another villain in 12 Years a Slave, co-starring as a slave owner in 1841 Louisiana. The film is directed by Steve McQueen, whose Shame turned Fassbender into a major star as well as a sex symbol.

Michael Fassbender still maintains his principal residence in London. He is rumored to be dating British Olympian Louise Hazel although this summer in Montreal he was spotted at various times with an unidentified lithe blonde woman.

Michael, what’s it like having Penelope Cruz as your girlfriend in The Counselor and Javier Bardem playing opposite you as well?

Penelope is a wonderful actress and it’s of course a joy to work with her. They’re both incredibly talented and professional and I don’t think Javier was at all worried by my scenes together with Penelope. His character was sufficiently intimidating in the film that I wouldn’t have noticed whether there was any added factor that went into his performance. (laughs)

This film is based on a Cormac McCarthy script. Did Javier remind you at all of Chigurh, the evil guy he played in No Country for Old Men?

No, but he still has a strange haircut in this film, too, just not as weird. Javier laughed about his hair but I don’t think he suffered with it. He just wanted something to add to his character’s level of menace. It’s great to be able to work with Javier and see him transform his expression from inviting to vicious in a few seconds. That’s part of what makes him such a brilliant actor.

What drew you to this film?

Ridley Scott sent it to me and as soon as I had finished it, I told him I was in. The screenplay is brilliant with so many dark references and things going on underneath that you feel very much part of a world that seduces you and also frightens you. That’s part of the world that Cormac McCarthy likes to describe. And of course Ridley is a master director and one of the best in the business.

How would you describe your character?

My character is our way of getting inside this very strange world of drug dealing. He’s like a passenger along for a very dangerous ride that sees him and his girlfriend getting involved with very dangerous people. He has no idea what he’s getting involved with and that’s part of what makes the film very compelling.

Is he seduced by the money?

He’s seduced by the money and the glamor. He wants to be able to lead this kind of high life mixed with a bit of danger. His arrogance gets the better of him, however, and his greed is making him do things that he ordinarily never would have considered. It’s not going to be as easy and smooth a ride as he expects.

You actually wanted to become a lawyer when you were a teenager, didn’t you?

Yes. I was attracted to the idea of working as a barrister but I’m a slow reader and I began to realize that the profession requires reading a lot of thick files and going through law books day and night. So that discouraged me. Then I had ambitions of becoming an architect but that didn’t work out when I failed my technical drawing class. (laughs) Then acting came along when a former classmate of mine who was studying at the Irish Theatre School staged a play and offered me a role in it. So I was hooked from that moment on. I had always had an interest in acting ever since I saw Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia and as soon as I had the opportunity to perform. I immediately loved it.

You were also interested in becoming a musician?

That too! When I was 13 or 14 I started playing the guitar and I decided I was going to be a heavy metal guitarist. I tried forming my own band with a friend. But living in a small town we could never find a decent drummer. I thought I was a pretty decent guitarist until a friend of mine visited me and we started jamming in the garage. He suddenly launched into this incredible guitar solo and I saw that I wasn’t nearly as good as I needed to be. That was the end of my musical ambitions. (laughs)

You’ve been filming the new X-Men film this summer. What’s your take on it?

It’s been interesting to see characters from the different X-Men films all get together on this one. Audiences are going to love the way this story plays out. I’m very grateful to be able to go back to Eric (his character in X-Men) and be part of this incredible sci-fi world. The relationships and the characters are very well-developed and you enjoy the process that much more because you can add many layers to your character and it’s not just driven by the special effects.

How are you settling in your status as a sex symbol and movie star?

It’s much better than being a struggling actor! (laughs) I don’t think it’s affected how I live other than dealing with the paparazzi. But it’s more of a nuisance than something that affects how you live. I enjoy the good side of being recognized and having people tell you how much they appreciate your work. I’m about as happy as I can be the way things have worked out for me.

Is it hard to maintain relationships in this business?

What makes it difficult is the fact that you’re always working in a different part of the world and you simply don’t get to spend the time together you need to if you want to have a serious and committed relationship. I also wasn’t ready to make that kind of a commitment when my career was taking off and work became an obsession. I waited so long to have these kinds of opportunities I’m having now that I’ve been very focused on work.

It’s not fair to a woman to put your work ahead of everything and you feel guilty if you’re not giving someone the kind of attention you know you should be giving. And you can’t do that when you’re shooting a film for four or five months and then spending several more months on the road promoting it. But things are beginning to settle down now.

Your parents have been married for nearly forty years. Would you like to get married one day?

I’m not thinking about that right now. It’s difficult enough just being able to enjoy a relationship and find the kind of happiness you’re seeking from that. But I’m a romantic. I really would like to be able to enjoy spending time with a woman and enjoy sunsets on a beach or traveling through Europe and experiencing those kinds of moments.

Do you still enjoy traveling?

That’s one of my great passions. I took a motorcycle trip with my father in Europe a few years ago and I love being able to wander into different cities and experience the kind of wonder and escape you find in those moments.

Your father is German. Does that give you a greater sense of being European as well as Irish?

I would like to know more about German culture because I would like to improve my German. My parents are both fluent and they tried to teach me but living in Ireland made that hard. I would occasionally visit my grandparents in Germany while they were alive and that helped my German. It’s easy for me to follow a conversation in German and watch German films but it’s harder for me to speak it with any fluency. At some point I would love to make a film in Germany.

How difficult was it for you growing the son of a German father and having a German name in an Irish town?

(laughs) You have to suffer through a fair amount of teasing and it kind of toughens you because you’re forced to defend yourself against bullies. You also become tougher mentally because you learn to talk back and develop a smart mouth yourself and not be intimidated by the name-calling and taunts. You get a thick skin and I think that’s helped me over the years deal with the rejection you have as a struggling actor. You learn not to give up no matter what and that kind of attitude eventually paid off for me.

What do you value most in life?

I think it’s a sense of freedom. That’s why I love riding my motorcycle and traveling so much. That frees me from the intensity I apply to my work and the characters I’ve been playing. Having worked a lot lately, I’m very conscious of taking time off to appreciate my life and finding out what makes me happy. All I need is a few books, my motorcycle, and my helmet! (laughs)

And when it comes to a woman?

I love a woman with a good sense of humor about life and a sense of independence. Someone who’s not jealous and possessive.


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