Michael Fassbender is enjoying a bit of a halcyon era in his career at present. He’s been able to keep up with more low-budget, independent projects while also starring in big-studio fare like X-Men: Apocalypse, Steve Jobs, and the upcoming Assassin’s Creed. He’s also proven to be quite prolific, with three or four projects coming out this year and a similar amount set to be released in 2017, including a reprisal of his role as David in Alien Covenant. So, it’s not surprising to hear that Fassbender was the subject of a bit of a career retrospective and long-form interview at the Toronto International Film Festival.
What is surprising is how candid the star got about his recent roles and his work with a variety of major directors. According to EW, following a screening of scenes from X-Men: Days of Future Past, Fassbender responded with this:
“I don’t actually like that performance there, to be honest…I just think it’s me shouting. It’s just like…some dude shouting.”
Though I’m somewhat inclined to agree with his summation of his role in the recent X-Men franchise, it’s surprising to hear a performer talk so openly about his issues with his own roles. His Magneto is not exactly up to his thoughtful work in Macbeth or, better still, Steve McQueen‘s exhilarating Hunger, but it’s serviceable and not without nuance…and that seems to be his issue. He wants more from his work but big challenges also seemingly have given him a sick feeling in his stomach. When asked about the hardest role for him, he quickly answered with the titular character from Steve Jobs and pointed to Aaron Sorkin‘s script as formidable:
“He wrote all that stuff! It was so dense! It was such a mountain, and I’m a slow learner, so when the script arrived for me and the opportunity came to play the part, I really thought, This is not me. This should be somebody else. It’s a miscast scenario.”
“In rehearsals I was trying to find a way to get out of the job…I remember telling my driver, ‘If I put my arm in the door, you should slam it. It should cause a break and it should get me out of this gig.'”
Of course, he ended up doing a pretty impressive job as Jobs, especially in the last segment of the film, and was rewarded with plenty of award nominations. The talk also included another reference to Greg Louganis as a primer for David in Prometheus, citing the diver’s “economy of movement” as a huge influence. There was also quite a lot of talk about how he nearly wasn’t cast in his breakout role as Bobby Sands in Hunger due to a “defensive” audition that did not please McQueen. The director’s displeasure with Fassbender’s audition led to producers and casting people begging McQueen to give him a chance, and thank whatever that he did.
There were plenty of other tidbits at the talk – he wants to be in a comedy real bad – and the overall feeling of his perspective makes me all the more impressed with an actor I was already balled over by.