Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bloody Mary Mouth

This is the second interview I have read of Michael in so many weeks were it is mentioned that he's drinking a Bloody Mary. I'm going to have to have one of those to see what's so fancy about them. I do like tomatoes, and tomato soup, so, naturally a Blood Mary is next. But what I also realized is that he has an extra saucy tongue when he's sipping on that tasty concoction, and I just love it! The List's Paul Dale had an interview with Michael and Liam at the San Sebastian film festival and you can go to the link to read its entirety, but I'm just going to post this bit right here... because I want to.

'Were you out last night my friend?''Is it that obvious?' I say pulling down a wrinkled lower eyelid to expose an eye as bloodshot as those of the two men opposite me. They are hot young actor Michael Fassbender - all fair brown hair, blue eyes, slight frame and Kilkenny accent, and veteran Dublin thespian Liam Cunningham - older, beefier but kinder looking. We are sitting in a windowless antechamber in one of San Sebastian's grandest hotels. There's a glass table between us upon which Cunningham is flicking the ash from his cigarette in the absence of an ashtray. Fassbender is nursing a large and lurid Bloody Mary.

We are here to talk about Hunger, film debut of Turner Prize winning artist Steve McQueen about the emotive events that led to the 1981 hunger strike at the Maze Prison and the death of provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) member and local MP Bobby Sands (played by Fassbender). The film is showing at the seaside city's annual film festival and the boys have come to enjoy some late summer sun and shoot the breeze about an important film that they both seem to know may just be their legacy.

It's before noon and a clearly tired Fassbender irritably fields all too familiar questions about the weight loss regime he followed in the film. 'Yeah, I had to get down to 58 kilos. At 58 your body mass and fat ratio are stable, any lower than that and you get into the danger zone. It took ten weeks and yes I did find the whole process humbling. When you deprive yourself to that extent, of course you are going to start appreciating the smaller things in life.'

'It's a remarkable thing, a real achievement what he did,' murmurs Cunningham with a sleepy smirk. Fassbender's uniquely entertaining turns in 300, Angel and Wedding Belles suddenly seem a long way away. Is this what they call the martyr complex? I decide to keep it simple and ask how he became involved in the film.

'The film's casting director Gary Davy gave me the script. I looked at it and thought "Jesus, what the fuck?" The first act was pretty sparse in dialogue and then you get to act two and it's like this fucking avalanche of words, it's like a cascade, and I'm thinking, "How do you tackle this?" And in the third act it's starvation and death. I was thinking "Who the fuck wants to watch this for an hour and a half?" So I thought "I don't think I want to do this.' Fassbender takes another hit from the hangover fixer and visibly seems to mellow. 'So - God bless him - Gary called me up and was like "Before you make your decision you've got to meet this guy, Steve McQueen" and I thought "Yeah of course I'll meet him. How stupid of me, and then once I got in the room there was this large black man from England wanting to make a film about Bobby Sands, and I was like, "Why the fuck do you wanna make a film about Bobby Sands man?" And he was like "well 1981 was the year in my life that I remember. The Brixton riots kicked off, Tottenham won the FA cup and there was this guy called Bobby Sands on the news every day who had such a powerful effect on society and the government and I wanted to make a film about it." So I was like "OK, and I want to make a film with you." There's such a humanity about Steve that makes you want to work with him'.

Dirty mouth? I just love how at ease Michael is in interviews. He just says what the hell is on his mind and is done with it. No tip toeing, no censored language, just blunt and cool about it. It's fucking refreshing!

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