new_buddhist (new_buddhist) wrote in ohnotheydidnt,

Exclusive Fan Interview with Michael Fassbender

Image from Wonderland Magazine

Hello my ONTD peeps! I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Michael Fassbender a few weeks ago and I would like to post it here for you to enjoy!

For more images and live links, please read the article at Fassinating Fassbender

The Chameleon Actor with the Contagious Smile

In chronicling actor Michael Fassbender’s career, the editor of Fassinating Fassbender was honored to speak with him to ask some questions, share some laughs, reveal common interests, and present an all around happy and intriguing man.

It’s not everyday when a fan gets the opportunity to interview one of their favorite actors. In fact, it is rare for a mere fan to have access to interview a celebrity, and a busy one at that. Michael currently has seven films in pre&post production status for the 2010-11 calendar, and counting. Originally I sought out to have a few questions answered by Michael via email, but as I soon learned, he does not use the computer often. And when it was presented to me that he preferred to conduct the interview on the phone, it was more than I could ever ask for.

Interviewing him live would allow for a natural flow of conversation and ad-libbing based on the information shared. I spoke with Michael just as he finished up his rendition of Mr. Rochester in 'Jane Eyre', and just as he is preparing to portray Carl Jung in David Cronenberg's 'A Dangerous Method'. So as I dialed up Michael’s mobile number on a rainy Michigan morning in May, any anxieties I woke up with, slowly dissipated and I felt oddly comfortable as if this event were meant to occur at that particular time. On the fifth ring, at 1pm GMT, Michael picked up the phone like he would any other call. That’s just how cool he is.

Fassinating Fassbender: Hi Michael this is Simone from Fassinating Fassbender! How are you?

Michael Fassbender: Hey, how’s it going?

FF: I’m going ok! Oh thank you so much for doing this! I know you are extremely busy.

M: No, it’s my pleasure, you people do fantastic work and I just wanted to make sure you had the time to get all the questions that you needed. I’m better on the phone than I am in front of the computer.

FF: I remember reading in an interview that you’re not too comfortable on computers?

M: Well yeah, I use them, but, I don’t use them for their full potential. I just watch YouTube on it, or DVDs actually. I’m not much for emailing and all that.

FF: Well this is even better because it’s just so unbelievable, I’ve been supporting you for about 4 years now and I’m just proud and supportive with how your career has progressed especially in the past few years. You are just such a busy guy. How are you dealing with the success right now?

M: You know, it doesn’t really affect me any differently really, my life is pretty much exactly the same. I don’t have the problem of some Hollywood stars in terms of getting recognized or stopped, I pretty much plotter about exactly the same places I did before. It’s just the work, and learning as much as I can from it and getting the opportunity, and you know, I’ve been so lucky to work with so many brilliant people and just trying to keep that alive and I don’t want to loose that.

FF: And to just touch on that for a moment, a while ago a fan wrote to me saying that I should blog about you more regularly, be more on it, be like Perez Hilton. And I was like, well, Michael is an actor, not a celebrity per se, there’s not all this crazy gossip and you’re just not out at a gas station being seen coming out of a grocery store, you’re just doing your thing and I like that, you’re busy acting. I only update the blog when there’s something to inform readers about your career.

M: Yeah I know, I’m so grateful, and I’m sort of lucky that it panned out this way really. You know all those other things really just tend to be sort of distractions really, and perhaps if I were younger, maybe 10 years younger, I might have sort of fallen into all that and it might have seen more attractive. But honestly I just want to, as they say, just to get good work done and try to learn and get as much mileage as I can.

FF: Ok, so are you just now finishing up Jane Eyre, or are you still working on it?

M: I finished it, and as we speak I’m in the middle of going through the next script, I’m going to be in ‘A Dangerous Method’. I’m just sort of re-reading the script at the moment. And just ready to sort of get into it, get into that head.

FF: And speaking of Jane Eyre people are talking about how cool that you finally got a Brontë girl project because you were formerly associated with Wuthering Heights, but that didn’t pan out. And people are saying, ‘Well he doesn’t look like a Mr. Rochester’. So when we see this, is your appearance being downgraded or whatever, because we will still see you on the screen, sexy Michael Fassbender as Mr. Rochester.

M: Well, I don’t know, I basically think that he’s such an interesting character. He’s not like Heathcliff at all, but they have these layers, they are dangerous, they’re complex, it’s interesting you know they have a journey, we meet them and something has happened in his past that we know about, and he carries that with him, he’s like a Byronic hero. Which are quite interesting, she was very much influenced by Lord Byron, and so he’s dark, he’s cruel, he’s arrogant, he’s intelligent, he’s sort of without a social standing so even though he is of the aristocracy he doesn’t really like that crowd. He doesn’t see the barriers between the social classes as it were, so he’s quite a fair person, and in some respect I like that. At the end of it all, he’s got a good heart, they have darker traits as oppose to the sort of more classical hero.

The first thing that sort of struck me and I thought was quite interesting about Rochester, is that he seems to be sort of bi-polar, his emotions are very skittish and can go from high to low very quickly. And once again, he’s sort of really interesting, he’s too good a character to pass up. He’s got too many good ingredients involved again. And Cary [Fukunaga], I’ve seen his film, 'Sin Nombre', and I loved that, and I saw that last year. And then Mia Wasikowska, who is just amazing, that girl is the future of acting. She’s 20 years old , she’s such an original, she’s so much fun, super smart and mature. I mean, I really can’t say enough about her, she’s really something special. So I think she’s done an absolute quintessential Jane, and perfect. And hopefully I can keep up with Rochester.

FF: I’m sure it’s going to be fantastic. Currently I have a poll up at the blog of all of your movies coming out this year, and out of almost 400 votes, 52% of them are for Jane Eyre so there are some serious Brontë lovers there and they are just so excited about this film, and I know I can’t wait to see this.

M: Hopefully I won’t let them down [laughs].

S. No no, you won’t! So far you’ve been hitting a hundred [laughs]. So in regards to the next project, I am just so excited about this, ‘A Dangerous Method’. I love David Cronenberg, I’ve been a fan of his since I was a kid. So this movie has you in it, it’s directed by David Cronenberg, and you’re going to be co-starring with the awesome Viggo Mortensen…

M: Oh yeah…

FF: Please share with me… I mean, how do you feel about this project? [laughs]

M: Uh, nervous [laughs]. You know, as usual, I start to shit myself a little bit. But I’m very excited. I mean, like yourself, I’ve loved Cronenberg for many, many years. And you know, Viggo Mortensen, I think he, again, going back to 'Carlito’s Way', I’ve always thought he was a fantastic actor. And Keira Knightley, she’s going to be perfect for this part, I think there’s something very classical about her features. And then of course there’s Vincent Cassel, who I think might have the best part of the movie actually, he’s only going to be in it for, I don’t know how many scenes, but he’s fantastic, he’s playing someone in Freud’s thinking crowd, Otto Gross, whose a very interesting character. So yeah, as I said, I’m deep into the program and just sort of getting every single moment of the day.

"Keira Knightley will play Sabina, a disturbed young woman brought to see Jung by her father. Jung (Fassbender) and Sabina have an affair, and the producers are promising me “lots of spirited sex”.

FF: Well I’m nervous for you because David Cronenberg, I met him and Viggo because I go to the Toronto Int’l Film Festival every year because I’m right here in Michigan, so it’s just a five hour drive to Toronto, and I just love those guys and I’m kinda nervous for you because David Cronenberg, looking at this psychological thriller, he’s just hard core and I read that there’s going to be typical Cronenberg sex scenes…[laughing] and I’m like…

M: I’m not sure…[laughing]

FF: I don’t know what he’s going to do with you guys! [laughs]

M: [laughing] Christ, well now you are making me nervous. Um. Yeah, I don’t even really think of these things to be honest. It’s the least thing on my mind. You know I just sort of trust him emphatically, and basically I go with whatever direction he wants to take it and whatever sort of colors or shades you have to put on. I can’t wait. You know, this part for me is really important. The next two to three weeks, I sort of get everything in my head right.

FF: Well, I loved you in 'Inglourious Basterds', you did a brilliant job as Lt. Archie Hicox.

M: Thank you.

FF: And you convinced me as an American, that you were a German, you sounded very German to me. So with that, would you be interested in making a German language film one day?

M: You know, I would be, one day, for sure. And you know, once again, I can speak German, albeit fairly sort of rusty and my understanding of German is quite good. I can watch a film in German, and I’d love to do something in Germany perhaps on stage there. People are always asking me if I would be interested in doing theater, and their theater is pretty brilliant I think and it would be a real challenge for me. So it’s definitely something I would love to do or have the opportunity to do.

FF: That’s very good. You know, in regards to preparing yourself physically for Hunger, would you put yourself through such a physical challenge again for another role?

M: If the film ingredients were right, then yeah. If it was with an exciting director again and great writing, and I think if it was really a powerful interesting story then sure, yeah.

FF: So you are half-Irish, and half-German, and so far you have played Bobby Sands, a historical Irish political figure. Is there a German character, historical or fictional, that you would like to consider portraying one day?

M: Well I’m making my way to West Germany, I’m in Switzerland at the moment, so I’m getting there [laughs]. Um, there’s really no one that comes to mind. I don’t really think about those things. I mean perhaps one day, if I want to direct and if there’s a powerful story I want to tell or something like that. But otherwise, no, nothing sort of comes to mind really.

FF: So far, how has Hollywood measured up to what you thought it would be? Has it been easier, harder… I just can’t imagine how it is, how you thought you wanted your career to be at this point?

M: Well you know Hollywood, in terms of Los Angeles and living there. I mean, the weather’s fantastic, and people are very friendly, it’s contrary to what a lot of people think. It’s a very creative place, there’s a lot of very brilliant minds there. I find it kind of strange, you know, the usual thing about how you spend a lot of time in your car. You know, so it’s like getting into your car in the garage, and driving to a meeting, and getting back into your car, and stopping off somewhere to get something to eat, and you don’t need to get out of your car to do that. And then going to the next meeting or going home. So, if you like driving, it’s great. And I do like driving [we both laugh]. But, I like to walk along the streets. So New York I think, for me, would be to me, a more suitable city, and it’s somewhere that I really love.

I’ve only been there three times for a short period of time, and each time I just thought ‘Oh wow’, it’s such a labyrinth there on the streets, it’s my favorite city at the moment and I would like to spend some time there. But you know, Hollywood, once again, it’s just finding the right script, go to work for me, and hopefully taking risks and trying things out. I’m back in London now, it’s where I’m living at the moment, but you still read scripts and they come out of LA and what not. So it’s just about finding the right work, all that other stuff, it doesn’t really affect me, it’s not really a part of my life.

FF: That’s good! Well I know that as you were preparing for Hunger, you were down in the Venice Beach area, and I’m going there for vacation.

M: Yeah, I love it there.

FF: I absolutely love Venice Beach, you either love it or you hate it, it’s not for everyone.

M: Yeah! Look, if I was going to live in LA, that’s where I would be. I love Venice Beach, no doubt. I think that’s like, again, you can walk there and there’s lots of characters, basking in the moment, and the promenade there and just watching the characters playing basketball, and these people having this sort of banter going on between each other. It’s fascinating, and again, you can walk to restaurants, coffee shops, bars in the area, you don’t need the car down there.

FF: Exactly, I’m just going to do the lazy thing; fly in, have the taxi take me to the hotel, and then crash on the beach and eat sushi! [laughs]

M: [laughs] Totally! And tell me, where do you stay down there?

FF: I stay at the Inn at Venice Beach, right there on Washington Blvd, it’s right next to Marina Del Rey.

M: I know it!

FF: You do?

M: Yeah, yeah, because I use to live there on Washington and Ocean, it was on 28th or something like that, or 29th.

Image from Blackbook

FF: Oh yeah! I have literally walked around every corner of Venice Beach and I love walking there by the canal area.

M: Oh that’s beautiful!

FF: Yes! And there’s that restaurant Baja Cantina.

M: Yeah, yeah, yeah! For New Year’s when I was on the diet for Hunger, I wondered around those canals, it was beautiful because they had all the lights out and everything, it was really quite special.

FF: With all the increasing attention you have received due to your diverse projects, what do you do to keep yourself grounded in reality?

M: Family and friends tend to really sort of do that. I try to get back to see my family as much as possible when I have free time. And I love to travel, and meet people and just sort of feel different cultures and go about things. You know just being interested in people and hopefully that keeps you interesting. And things like music and exercise, it’s mind and body healthy. So, just pretty simple stuff. I like to get on my bike and go for a ride, take a trip on the motorcycle which is nice, you get to clear your head there. It’s a brilliant, freeing thing to do.

FF: Do you read a lot of books?

M: I don’t read as much as I would like to read because once again, it’s just reading scripts. I try to read as much as I can, of whatever sort of comes in, and read them from start to finish. And that kind of takes up so much time from me and I’m a slow reader as well unfortunately. What might take the average person an hour or two might take me four. Or three, whatever. [we both giggle] So, anytime I start a book, a script comes in then I start reading that, so I need to sit down and do it in one or two sittings.

FF: And you mentioned previously that you might want to do theater work. That’s excellent. Have you thought that if you found the right theater role, would you lean more towards the West End in London, or Broadway in New York?

M: Either or. Broadway sounds kind of fun. New York sounds fun. And just because I’ve lived here [in London] for 13 years, it would be nice to perhaps try something different. But once again, the right director, the right play, that’s all that really matters. When that comes up, it doesn’t matter were it would be, I would definitely get on it. I don’t want to do anything that runs too long. I started off doing theater, so I’m very comfortable with it. When I started off very basically, we started off with improvs, doing theater then, and that can be tough on you. And then pantomime, and then on to serious plays, and trained in the theater corps - we did various plays, ‘Mother Courage’, and then to London. Just shy of 3 years doing the theater heavy classical based training, with very little camera work involved at all. So when I left drama school, I did a play right out of drama school. And then I really wanted to concentrate on being in front of the camera, getting in front of that. And that was what really sort of inspired me when I decided to get into acting, even though it was theater pieces that sort of introduced acting to me if you know what I mean.

And then I started watching a lot of films from the late 60’s and through the 70’s, American films especially. And I really fell in love with that medium of film. And having left drama school, I got into television. And it’s funny, once you do television, I was doing like character parts, a mini-series or what not. And then I would be out of work for a spell of time. And I would be like "What’s happening with theater jobs?" And my agent at the time was like "Oh well they are looking for theater actors", and I was like, "Well what does that mean, I’ve studied, I have been training for over three years?" So that still happens a little bit, you get pigeonholed in either theater work or television until you become really big and then you can pick whatever you want. [laughs]

FF: Exactly, exactly. Yeah, I visit London often and back in 2008, Orlando Bloom was in the West End for a minute and I saw his play. He did a good job from Pirates of the Caribbean to doing a little kitchen sink drama. But it was pandemonium outside because it was Orlando Bloom. And so if you were to do theater one day, I can imagine that same kind of scenario.

M: No I don’t think it would be the same as Orlando Bloom [giggling]. I think he was pretty sort of huge, especially because he sprung on the scene with Legolas. That’s a whole sort of teenage girl fan base that he’s got going on there, which probably does not allow him to move around freely as I do. And that’s what it’s really like for him and someone like Brad [Pitt] as well, I mean, I don’t think it’s possible for Brad to do that. And that must be tough.

FF: Yeah, I guess you’re right. You’re happily in the middle there. And speaking of being happy, you have a great sense of humor and a wonderful smile. When we post pictures of you, some people say, "Oh he has this deviously gorgeous smile", and it’s contagious. Are you a pretty happy go lucky kind of guy?

M: I am, you know, I'm like everybody else, so obviously you can’t be jolly all the time, then you’re just insane [we both laugh]. And there might be elements of that there too. But you know, I try to keep upbeat, I try and keep positive. And to be honest with you, it’s a lot of times when I’m going up the red carpet or whatever, I don’t know, I find it quite funny [laughing]. And it makes me laugh. I don’t know if that comes out because of nerves or genuinely enjoying myself. And I think it’s just genuinely enjoying myself. And it’s nice that it’s contagious as you say, I like that. It just gives me pleasure if I am, like I said to you before, that interaction with people, and getting on the tube in the morning and buying your ticket, and you take your ticket and go on the tube. Or you know if you like, have a little conversation with the person who is giving you the ticket, smile and ask how the day is going, and that sort of perks them up a little. And that exchange makes me feel good then to start my day off, you know. I think it’s likewise for most people, you know that interaction, it keeps us going. So you know, I think I’m pretty happy most of the time [we both laugh].

FF: Now back in February you were on the Late, Late Show with Ryan Tubridy and you just broke out and sang a song. That was so funny and so spontaneous {Michael mumbles "Oh God"}. When are you going to do an album or do a musical? [we both laugh]

M: Oh Christ no, I mean that’s exactly what I was thinking, "Oh God here’s another actor singing on TV, and trying to show us he can sing", which is just not the case, especially after Dionne Warwick. I was like, "Oh mother of God". I really like Ryan and they kinda sprung it up on me, because what happened the last time I was on the show, I went back to his brother’s house and we had a few drinks, we had a session of singing, and that sort of like happens quite a bit in Ireland [giggles]. And so one of the band guys was there,Paddy, and he was saying, “Oh next time you’re on the show you should be up singing”, and I was like "That’s a great idea." And of course, cut to a year later or whatever… Oh my God, yeah. [we’re both laughing]

FF: Oh that’s excellent! Well, I’m not going to keep you too much longer, but I just wanted to let you know Michael that you have an extremely mature and supportive fan base. You’re real lucky because we are here for you now more than ever, we just want you to know that you are a gentleman and a fantastic actor, and we’re just looking forward to all of your projects coming up this year. It’s ridiculous , I can’t wait for Jonah Hex, Centurion, and of course again with the Cronenberg film, and one more thing, ‘A Single Shot’, what’s going on with that, are you still attached to that?

M: I don’t know. It was suppose to happen and I was waiting for it all through autumn of last year into the new year, this year, and it kind of fell apart. And now I hear it’s back again, and they have some of the financing together. So I’m not sure, I have to see what’s happening later in the fall of this year. But I do like David Jacobsen a lot, and it’s an interesting script, and he had an interesting character. You know, the climate at the moment, the way it is with everything, with finances and everything, the financial market, people are just cautious so, probably it could fall apart weeks before and sometimes even days before they are scheduled to start. So it’s all sort of fluid at the moment, so I have to wait and see.

Well, thank you so much to all of you guys, and to you Simone in particular, for doing all this work on the internet. And like I said, I don’t use it, my friends don’t even get emails off me, so I hope none of you feel disheartened that I haven’t like popped into the website or anything like that. I do check in every now and again, but I can’t watch myself, that would be weird. [he laughs]

FF: I totally understand that! And if I can say anything, just you granting this interview for Fassinating Fassbender it legitimizes the blog. So thank you for this.

M: Anytime, you just get in touch with them again and let them know and we can do this again, you know. It’s no problem, it would be my pleasure.

FF: Again, it’s been a pleasure, thank you so much Michael and I wish you the best of luck, just take care of yourself, and keep smiling ok?

M: Ok Simone, likewise. All the best. Bye (with a smile in his voice).

Michael Fassbender can next be seen in Jonah Hex, co-starring Josh Brolin, Megan Fox, and John Malkovich, which will be released in the US on June 18th.

Interview copyrighted @ Fassinating Fassbender
Tags: michael fassbender

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