Friday, November 18, 2011

Michael in TIME Magazine: The Wild Irish Boy

Hello world, this is Michael Fassbender. Featured in the Nov 28th edition of Time Magazine.  
The Wild Irish Boy. Image by Peter Hapak

Sigh. Just when I was going to go to bed, I see this picture at that damn tumblr place. I'm trying to not to hate on tumblr, but, sometimes I feel like it's junior high school, and reading some of the posts there... a lot of those people are just discovering Michael and are professing such love for him that it's nauseating. It was cute at first, but, tumblr is invaded with new fans who are sickeningly sweet puppy love  in love with Michael, it's a bit of a turn off, but, there's nothing I can do about it. With my like/hate for tumblr, good things come out of it because now that there is a rash of *new* fans, again, they have proven to be quite enthusiastic and helpful in posting new images of Michael. Do any of them have jobs or go to school, I do not know, but, round the clock, someone finds something to swoon over about Michael and it goes viral - I reblog or 'like' and get on with my life.

The other day, a nice girl posted that Michael was featured in the new Time magazine and there was a link to the website. However, once there, snobby Time Inc. stated that you have to be a damn subscriber to read the article. Well, TIME magazine, I didn't like your biased politics so I canceled my subscription a few years back. However, another tumblr girl (Michael Fassbender Daily) posted the full article which I will post here with my new found magic trick (click this blog article title to read the rest).

Anyway, to my surprise, this lovely image of Michael has been revealed at the accompanying photo to said Time article! Now, I must declare that Time magazine, for its flaws, is a very well respected weekly magazine that has a gigantic subscriber base. With that said, the timing of Michael appearing in this issue is brilliant, along with a nice article, and this handsome photo to go along with it. So what that stupid People magazine doesn't know who Michael is and completely fail to even mention his name in the Sexiest Man Alive PR crap fest. TIME magazine and GQ fixed that this week, like RollingStone did the week before, and some magazines in the coming weeks. There is also a fantastic interview with Michael with Slant magazine - just go to their website to read it. But for now, here is the Time article, and you don't need a subscription to read it here, however, if you, like me, want to add the original and more vibrant beautiful picture to your Fassbender collection at home, it looks like you'll have to buy a copy of Time as well. (continue)...

Michael Fassbender has a look. It’s a cross between a stare, a glare and a laser attack. The muscles in his finely angled face tense, and his blue-green eyes all but pulsate in their sockets. In his breakthrough film, Hunger (2008), Fassbender, playing the IRA martyr Bobby Sands, casts that look on a well-meaning priest, vaporizing any pleas against the hunger strike that will kill him. You see the look in Inglourious Basterds (2009), just before Fassbender’s English spy tongue-lashes a Nazi lout, and in this year’s Jane Eyre, when his Rochester matches wits with the equally steely heroine. The look is the standout special effect in this summer’s X-Men: First Class, which cast Fassbender as the vengeful mutant Magneto, and it’s the default expression of Brandon, the tormented sex addict of December’s Shame, for which Fassbender is being touted for an Oscar nomination.

For his growing constituency — art-house filmgoers, blockbuster directors, sentient heterosexual females — the tension and intrigue Fassbender can generate with one look partly explain why the 34-year-old Irishman is one of the most thrilling actors of his generation. His storm-cloud charisma, readiness for extreme physical transformation and melodic Irish lilt position him as an heir to Daniel Day-Lewis.
But when one meets Michael Fassbender, there’s no look. In the flesh, he seems younger and springier than the gravely poised figure he cuts in movies, and his wide, disarming grin evokes an ecstatic wolf puppy. “He’s very playful and very funny,” says David Cronenberg, director of another Oscar-season hopeful, A Dangerous Method, in which Fassbender plays the pioneering psychiatrist Carl Jung. “He’s a total delight. He’s kind of a wild Irish boy.”

The wild Irish boy was born in Heidelberg in 1977 to a German father and a Northern Irish mother. When he was a toddler, the family — including his older sister Catherine — moved to the village of Killarney, where his parents ran a restaurant and Michael was an altar boy. “I remember hearing that the spirit was always next to you, so I would always make room in my bed for the spirit,” he says with a laugh. “I’d make room for the teddy bears, Jesus and me. And then I’d wake up in the morning, and I’d squashed ‘em all.” Though the Fassbenders were somewhat pro forma Catholics (“I think we just went to church on Sunday because everyone else was doing it”), altar-boy duties awakened Michael’s interest in stagecraft. “The suspense of reality — the idea that wine turns into blood and bread turns into flesh — was a very visceral thing to deal with, and the ritual and theater of it,” he says. “I suppose it was my first experience of being onstage.”

Growing up, Fassbender idolized the late actor John Cazale (mention the scene in Godfather II when Cazale bewails the Corleone line of succession while flailing around in a recliner, and Fassbender all but leaps into the air with excitement) and dabbled in local theater. At 18, he produced, directed and played Mr. Pink in a theater version of Quentin Tarantino’s film Reservoir Dogs, as he told Tarantino when he auditioned for Inglourious Basterds. “I said, ‘Look, man, it was for charity,’ and he said” — here Fassbender arches his brows and widens his eyes, speeds up his cadence and talks out of his adenoids — “‘Hey, that’s cool, man, that’s cool, as long as people aren’t making money off my shit.’” It’s an uncanny Tarantino impression.
After studying acting in Cork and London and nearly a decade of journeyman TV work, Fassbender auditioned for the debut feature of the acclaimed British visual artist Steve McQueen. “Steve changed my life with Hunger,” says Fassbender, who carved some 33 lb. (15 kg) from his already wiry frame to play Sands.

“When Michael came in, I thought he was cocky,” says McQueen, who also directed Shame. “It was a strange mixture of bravado and ‘I can’t be bothered.’ It was my first time directing, and I didn’t understand that actors have to deal with a lot of rejection. At that point in Michael’s path, what if that door gets slammed in your face again?” They met twice more, “and he just shone through,” McQueen says. “After I told him he had the part, I jumped on the back of his motorcycle and we went off for a drink. It was kind of romantic.”

Many would use stronger language to describe a ride on the back of Fassbender’s motorcycle. Thus he was ideally cast as English literature’s ultimate romantic hero in Jane Eyre, even if his method was hardly Method. “There’s a scene where Rochester and Jane are face to face, very close, staring intensely, but really we’re just desperately trying not to burst out laughing,” says his co-star Mia Wasikowska. “He plays all these brooding, dark characters, but the real Michael is so light and goofy. He’s a good mimic because he watches people closely and finds them inside of him, and he’s not judgmental.”

A mix of compassion and detachment is key to the deeply compromised characters Fassbender plays in A Dangerous Method (a therapist having an affair with his troubled patient) and Shame (a perpetual-motion sex machine). To prepare for Method, Fassbender read stacks of Jung and consulted with his sister Catherine, a psychologist who studies ADHD in children; for Shame, he met with real-life sex addicts. “Brandon is self-loathing, and it creates a pattern,” he says. “You go out, you have a few drinks, you have this uncontrollable urge to be with somebody, to get that release, and then there’s this feeling of shame, that you’re not in control of yourself. To push away the feeling of shame, you go out and do it again. You double the shame and triple the shame.”

Fassbender is in every scene of Shame, which earned an NC-17 rating for nudity and explicit sex scenes. He first saw the film at its Venice world premiere, with his father sitting behind him. “My mum was supposed to be there too, but her back played up at the last minute, thank God,” he says. “Obviously, I knew what we’d filmed, and it was all sort of real, and there to be seen. But actually watching it, I was a little bit ‘Holy shit.’ Then the lights came on straightaway as the credits were still rolling, and I was like” — he ducks on the couch, one leg in the air like a shield, as a strangled hysteria creeps into his voice — “Give me a second here. Let me put my clothes on! Just give me five.”

“He’s not afraid to be vulnerable,” McQueen says. “There’s a huge feminine side to him — he’s very manly, but at the same time, there’s this beautiful fragility.” He adds, “All these superhero things and X-Men things, they’re great, whatever, but we need Michael here on earth.”

He’s referring to Fassbender’s sideline in effects-laden tent poles such as X-Men: First Class and Ridley Scott’s forthcoming sci-fi epic Prometheus (Fassbender has also signed up for McQueen’s period drama Twelve Years a Slave and will have a role in indie hero Jim Jarmusch’s next project). But after spending time in his company, talking to his colleague-fans and seeing his Tarantino impression (“He also does a great Michael McDonald impersonation,” McQueen adds), one suspects that Fassbender isn’t merely cinema’s next great thespian. He might also be an untapped comic genius.

“I would like to do a comedy!” he says. “A lot of directors and people in the industry probably think I’m this intense sort of dude, who’s like, ‘Don’t talk to me right now,’ and listening to goth in the corner naked with a banana preparing.” Cue the wolf-puppy smile. “So, definitely. But you know, if somebody pulled the plug right now, I really wouldn’t have anything to complain about.”

Source: Time & tumblr


Dionne said...

I really enjoyed both articles, a lot better than the GQ one. Michael's so adorable talking about the spirit. I bet he was the cutest kid! The Slant article really gave insight into how Michael prepares for a role. Both very good :)
Thanks Simone

F.FRANKLIN said...

i also enjoyed the article and i hope he does comedy,its the only genre he havent done really looking forward for that

Irene_Gmnz said...

Thank you! You do a great job with this blog. Best wishes from Spain!

Nina said...

Great articles and I would love to see him do a comedy role.

Holly said...

Let me preface this by saying I love coming to your blog to see the new info you post about Fassy... but this post where you hate on all people who are newly enjoying the Fass is just a bit unfair I think. I am only newly enjoying him, after seeing X-men, and I don't think it's fair to judge people just because you have liked him as an actor longer than the people you are belittling. You attempt to make this blog respectfully about Fass' career, but then you make snide comments about other people doting on him? How is that career related? You also say you hate tumblr, but you are on tumblr? It says so right on your main fassinatingfassbender page. Again, I really like your blog, but even YOU have publicly had your fangirl moments where you gush about him. So I don't think it's very professional of you to write such unfair comments about other people who very much enjoy "the Fass".
This is not a "hate" comment, it's just a "You are making me feel uncomfortable coming to your blog" comment.

Simone said...

Holly, where have I stated that I hate the new fans on tumblr? You're taking my words out of context and too harshly. Please re-read what I wrote. I was careful in being frank about my opinion about my like/hate for tumblr (the hate part is related to the politics of tumblr that I have encountered recently - it's not directed at any fans per se, just the way things operate at tumblr).

And as this is a fan blog, I'm a fan just like everybody else and as I take the time to create this blog, I have a right to my fun gushing moments because it's 'fun'. All the other times, I want to convey a polite and respectful atmosphere here. I will continue to gush at times, and I will continue to conduct myself in a professional and objective manner at other times. I reckon a nice mixture of the two is what makes FF an interesting place to visit.

I'm sorry you were offended by my comments, it wasn't my intent. It's just that it's funny how Michael has been on the scene for quite a few years, and only when he goes something mainstream, people start to take notice.

@ Irene - thank you, I'm glad you are enjoying the blog!

@Nina - Michael would be awesome in a comedy. When I saw Bridesmaids a few weeks ago, he totally could have played Chris O'Dowd's police officer role, just as an example.

Holly said...

Thanks for your response Simone. I guess to me it does read harsh, but if that wasn't your intent, then my apologies. A lot can be lost in translation (and meaning) when reading just words.
I absolutely don't think there's anything wrong with the fangirl moments, I just got the impression that this blog wasn't exactly a place for that based on my general feeling of all the previous posts I've read here. But alas, maybe that meaning has been misconstrued as well.
Agreed, regarding the mainstream comment, but really, it's not anyone's fault! I think most people develop their interest based on a particularly riveting performance, and from there develop their "fassination". I know that's happened to me many a time. And with Fass, I had seen 300 I don't know how many times and I'd even watched Jonah Hex 6 months before the Fassination took hold (and thought, that's a sexy Irishman), but it wasn't until his mindblowing performance as Magneto that I took notice! If I'd seen Fish Tank before though, or Hunger, then I would certainly have taken notice then. But, I just hadn't even heard of them to be honest. Especially in Australia (where I'm from) the movies that I most hear about are American blockbusters, so it's almost natural that the one movie I would really "notice" him in, purely because it's been marketed and is more noticed here, is X-men.
So yes, unfortunately mainstream movies mean there are more Fassinators, and although we are new to this, we appreciate him just as much as you do! And not just for his mainstream roles. It's just that mainstream films have been the instrument of our Fassinitiation (another word for you!). :-)
Anyway, thanks for the response.

Simone said...

Thanks for your follow up comments Holly. And you brought up a good point that I have suspected as well. All around the world, a lot of people may not have access to the films/tv shows that Michael has been in, and DVDs of these programs are not available to everyone due to regional settings. So the fanbase is developing in waves as people are slowly being exposed to his work, and I anticipated things would get crazy once X-men came out. That's just how the cookie crumbles. Hell, I haven't seen all of Fassy's stuff because I don't have a regional DVD player that plays UK DVDs. But I'll get one soon enough.

Anyway, like I stated before, the new fans add great enthusiasm and many of them post here, so no hate... but tumblr, especially as I'm an older fan, it's strange at times, but I'm sticking out it, I just need to avoid the "ovaries exploding" comments and I'm good. ;-)

And a final note, a lot of "pop trash" bloggers are starting to write about Michael... and getting paid in the process. That's what sucks. Only through his mainstream work are they starting to pay attention to him, when I wrote to them two years ago (Perez, Lainey) trying to pimp the Fass - they couldn't be bothered with me or him. He starts to bend metal... Voila! Let's talk about Michael... and get paid for it. And it's not even quality writing, it is generic regurgitation from other articles. It's irritating to say the least.

pati said...

Yes. Michael is wonderful actor and sissi writes very well. Then, that is right ok?

Summer said...

Like Holly, MF's performance in XMFC captivated me and now I'm playing catch up with all his old films! Sadly I suspect Shame will not be screened where I live, and I'll probably have to wait for the DVD release (hopefully that gets passed by the censors). Simone, you're doing such a great job with this blog in getting the latest news out fast and pulling a lot of info about Michael together - keep it up. I do understand the balance between fangirl gushing and professional objective reviews you have to keep. I've found that for me what started out as a "omg-he's-so-handsome" crush has given way to an immense respect for his talent and hard work. He's a total chameleon - pretty sure he can still lose himself in a crowd anytime.

dshultz said...

I loved the articles, just seeing more and more of Fassy is great! I totally want to hear his Tarantino impression now!

dshultz said...

Quick question, is there a gallery on this site?

Simone said...

@ Summer, looks like you know exactly where I'm coming from and I appreciate that. BTW, where are you located since you don't think Shame will come to your area? I hope you keep visiting FF!

@Dshultz, no, FF doesn't have a gallery, but that option is avialable for me to create one. Would you like it? Refer to it? Lemme see what I can do.


Anonymous said...

Hello it's my first time commenting here so I would like to firstly thank you for creating this blog and updating us with relevant news about Michael. It's great how we can gush about his looks, but really this blog allows us readers to understand in greater depth his works, and appreciate the effort he makes to transcend his character to the audience. I also enjoy what i learn about those whom he works with too.( i like what I've read about and from Steve so far. He seems like a director who can create art)

I agree I do get annoyed scrolling through tumblr and having to read 'ovaries exploding' comments all over. It's exaggerated and unnecessary. But I guess each has their own ways in showing their liking for Michael.

I hope shame gets to be screened here in Asia too! Seeing as how it is nc-17, I'm afraid that it will only be screened at certain film festivals later next year, and even if it is screened at local theatres, they may slap a rating where only those above 21 are permitted to watch it. At least that is where I come from, where the strictest rating is as such. I want to keep my hopes up though. After all this movie garnered such good reviews, and it highlights to us the reality we are living in; it isn't some porn show.

Thank you so much for constantly updating this blog again.(:

Liz.Austen said...

I totally agree with Holly, but thank you Simone for clarify what you wrote.
I include myself as a Fassy’s new fan, because where I live (Argentina), only saw him on 300 (where his role doesn’t allow to appreciate his acting skills), and recently in X-Men, where I really discovered him… and after that, he impacted me deeply in Jane Eyre, who had absolutely no diffusion in my country, I found out about it because of my love for english literature in general and that novel in particular. Magneto, and specially his unbeatable Rochester caught my full attention… and later, watching his simplicity, humility, sympathy and even sweetness in the daily dealing with journalists and fans, his great talent, and –why deny it- his physical appearance, I discovered the absolute beautiful man he seems to be… and that is what it brings me here and even tumblr.
I also want to thank you for the great work you do in this blog… You are very fortunate for having the resources, time, living in a place where you can actually CAN do something you want… and even speaking the right language. And about Michael, you are very lucky to have been able to meet, talk, kiss and interview him. I don’t want to play a victim, but someone like me can’t even dream of exchanging at least emails with him… We will hardly be in the same city at the same time!
And as for the girls who describe her ovarian reactions, I really don’t like that kind of comments, but I forgive them because I believe they are just teenagers, with all the hormonal load involved… In a few months, I’m pretty sure that their ovaries will explode for or belong to someone else.
Please forgive my English, best wishes to everyone!

Simone said...

Hi Liz, well said what you wrote. I do understand the frustration many fans may be feeling in acknowledging that they may never be able to meet Mcihael. However, with that said, as I'm told others before... sometimes you have to make the effort to get to him via premieres, etc.

Never say never, you don't know if/when Michael will be in your country - don't give up hope. Meanwhile, just keep supporting him and having fun while doing it.

I would say that 96% of fans do not meet their idol, so you're in good company.

Liz Austen said...

Yes, I know it's usually improbable to be able to meet our idols, however I don't lose hope (nor perspective). Let me tell you (even when I'm a little ashamed about it) that I've tried to get an email to write (at least) to Michael, but with no success yet... so, if someone can give me a hand (almost an arm), my email is
Also, I'd like to say that it makes me really happy when I see other girls meet or talk to him... I feel it as my own experience! So, Simone, keep going with this, because you're doing an amazing job.