|There's something sexy about seeing an image of Michael along with German text.|
Attached to the article was a "set of rules" they ask from the interviewee. He got number 28 to 30.
Here they are:
GQ Set of RulesN07
What makes a man a gentleman in 2012, Mr Fassbender?
28th He does not make a fool of himself.
Strutting around and beat on your chest is not male. I don't have to prove my manhood by supposedly masculine posturing.
29th He is not opposed to the woman in him.
I'm certain that men have female qualities, as well as female have male. To recognize and admit it is male.
30th He tells the truth.
Honesty is not very easy. Anyone who is honest is also courageous.
And this is the interview:
GQ Germany September 2012 - Close Up
Interview by Gordon Detels
A man speeds up
2012 is the year in cinema of Michael Fassbender: "Prometheus" is his third film. And the one who will make him a superstar.
He was a mutant, an IRA activist, a spy, a contract killer, a psychiatrist and a sex-obsessed. Now he is an android. And with this latest role in Ridley Scott's "Prometheus", probably the best-selling blockbuster of 2012, Michael Fassbender would become in Germany that, what he has been in the U.S. and the UK for some time: a superstar. The 35-year-old has achieved in just five years, for what other actors need a whole life: the rise into the premier league of Hollywood. Michael Fassbender knows that. And he knows as well, that in addition to his talent a lot of chance was involved. "I am very grateful for the situation I'm in," says the German-born Irishman who, despite his fame and wealth is still living in the three room apartment in East London, in which he moved in in 2006, before his breakthrough with the film "Hunger".
Fassbender takes a seat on a couch, takes a sip of water and fixes his opposite with his pale green eyes. His physical presence off screen is also impressive.
Would you agree that you became a part of the Hollywood A-list with "Prometheus"?
I hope I've done a good job. That's what I think about. Whether I belong to the top ten, I can't judge. It's what you and your colleagues say.
In the last four years you stood in front of Steve McQueen's, David Cronenberg's, Quentin Tarantino's, Steven Soderbergh's and Ridley Scott's camera. There is hardly anyone who has collected in such a short time so many good directors.
Absolutely. I agree with you. I had the honour to work with people who are not only good but very good. This is really a dream.
We're the same age, so the "Alien" series accompanied us both through our youth. It must be a crazy feeling to play now in this prequel to the series.
I still remember that time. You always knew: If you watched an "Alien" movie in the theatre, you saw something different, something special. This was also true for "Blade Runner", but the two of us couldn't see it in the theatre because of our age. Because we were just about seven years old. Apart from that to be honest I wasn't and still I'm not interested in science fiction.
Did you need to think when Ridley Scott called you?
I did not immediately scream "hurray". But after I read the script, I realised: That's something I need to do, it is written extremely intelligent, Ridley Scott is a great director, that's going to be something.
If you look at the past four years and the rapid success: Would you say that success is just?
As the saying goes: everything or nothing. Unfortunately that's the way it is. I am very grateful that I'm in the position I'm in. Especially now, when there are less and less good jobs due to economic constraints. In 2006 my life was quite different.
At that time were you jealous of colleagues who had success?
No. It makes you - not only as an actor - sick when you're jealous. You know, acting is an unpredictable business, to be honest is has little to do with talent. You have to be in the right place at the right time and get the opportunity to do the right thing. And you have to fit the fashion. If you think about, whether you are better than another or whether the situation is fair or unfair, you get bitter. And people smell that when you enter the room. You must maintain the positive. This is important.
You think success is pure chance?
To a large extent. Perhaps you have a great talent for baking, but unfortunately no bakery. If you don't get one, you can never prove yourself. But if you meet someone, who supports you and provides the facilities, you can show everyone. That's what it really is: You never manage it on your own. You need other people who believe in you and help you, assist you. Otherwise it's hopeless.
In life there are those rare moments in which for a brief moment an opportunity arises.
Exactly. And one has to recognize it and act fast! For me it was in 2007 during the casting of "Hunger", my first film with Steve McQueen. I was there and felt: Something happens, there is an opportunity, someone has left the door slightly ajar, and if I'm fast enough, I get a foot in. I knew that if I screw up, it takes years again until a new opportunity appears. That's what I mean by timing: You have to be there at the right moment, see the chance and embrace it.
Can you challenge your chance?
Unfortunately not. You can't force success; it's not in your hands. You may be well-prepared, be ready, but then there are just many other variables that are not under your control. An example from my job is the castings. You turn up well prepared, say your lines, leave the room and are certain that it was good. At such moments, it can happen that you do not get the job because you have the wrong hair colour or facial wrinkles. But you have done everything within your power. Bad are the castings you leave and know that you could have performed better. That's a terrible feeling because you know you can't blame it on the circumstances.
You had to wait years until the opportunity arose. How did you manage to stay motivated during this time?
You have to work hard and should not say self-indulgently: "I'm great; the others are to blame if they do not recognize it." And you don't have to be satisfied. You must always try to preserve the outside view and to look at yourself with criticism. Who does not manage that, manages nothing in life.
How important is it to make sacrifices if you want to be successful?
This is life. If you are not willing to compromise, you are acting like a dictator. And only very few of us can afford such a stance. Insisting that it always goes the way you want it, it does not work that way. Whether at work or in your private life: relationships always work in two directions, and both sides can bring in their ideas only to a certain extent.
But you surely know, that within your circle of acquaintance someone says: "That is beneath my dignity. I won't do that." And so he misses the opportunity that lies in the situation.
Each individual has different priorities. And some, who behave as you described it, may seem ridiculous. I wouldn't have a problem doing something which is - at first glance - below of what I could demand. But if I have the feeling that that opens up other possibilities for me, I would do it. But as I said: Everyone makes the sacrifices he is ready for. And I am someone who makes great sacrifices, if he believes it makes sense and helps me to get on.
Would you say that you are brave?
Taking risks is important. I'm a guy, who tries out and tries to cope with the things he is afraid of, instead of running away from them. I like to be outside my comfort zone. There you cannot afford to be lazy.
Is that a reason why you play so many different characters?
Yes, I want to find out about others, to delve into personalities and experience them. I love challenges and the uncertainty and I like to let others experience the uncertainty.
Was it an advantage that you didn't have success in your early 20s?
Many of the rooms that I enter now, I knew five years ago as well. Only the reaction was quite different then: zero. They did not see me. Now they are much nicer to me. But I know why and can assess it. It comes easier to me now than with early 20. However, it is surreal that suddenly all the people around you always say yes, no matter what you want.
Do you feel the pressure of your success; do you have fear of the end?
Sure. I know that everything could collapse in the next moment and can be over. And of course I don't hope for that. But it's not a reason to panic, because you can't help it. I will continue just doing my job as best I can. I think there are a lot of positive things in the fact of just doing it, instead of always pondering. I don't read anything about me, and I will not read this interview. I prefer to find good material and translate it into action. Certainly: At some point I will fall flat on my face, that's inevitable. But that is not important. It's not about the fall, but about the fact getting up again. And such a high and low, hey, it happens to everyone. To you, to me, to everyone. That's life.
Would you advise anybody to make the most of everything?
Absolutely not. I think you shouldn't do anything, just because you can. I could earn lots of money with doing advertising, for example. But I don't do it. Granted, I'm in a pretty comfortable position and can financially afford to tackle new things, such as the production company that I founded.
Unfortunately you don't read anything about yourself. If you would, you would know that female journalists idolize you in their articles as the new type of man: masculine, strong, brave. But also as someone who shows his feminine side. Do you share this view?
Let me my roles speak: It doesn't interest me at all to be the strong hero, someone who is unattainable. I wanted and I will always play characters with whom one can identify oneself with. I have no problem with going to ugly places, while acting powerless. Because I do this for my audience. I think that if I do it, the audience can experience it without having to make the experience themselves.
What in your opinion characterises a real man?
I like the fact that today many men rely on themselves. They are totally sure that it's okay to be uncertain. Also to have doubts and to show them. Anyone who allows human emotions and traits will feel an immediate relief.
Getting back to "Prometheus". What drew you to play a kind of machine, an android, if the human side of your characters is always so important to you?
The human element is also there - in a very different kind. Men design an android instead of a robot, because it looks like a human and you will be less afraid. So I asked myself: What if the humanoid-programmed android suddenly begins to think and to discover personal qualities, develops an ego? How does a human react to it? And the other way around: what does the android think, which is always an arm's length away from the humans? Does he perhaps feel unwanted, how does he react?
You usually develop biographies for your characters. Have you done it this time as well?
Yes. I asked myself: What is the life span of an android, when was he created, by whom? It is very important to explore the past of a person because it is always a part of the present, you play in the movie. A person, each person moves around through time, is not only existent in the moment that you see. You've also brought a part of your day, your life with you in this room, as well as I did. Only when you have that in mind, we could understand each other.
Do you have a script for your next years?
I definitely want more than just acting, I want to help to create the big picture. Currently whenever I have the time I am sitting together with authors and we develop scripts. It is important to me that others can continue working on these new projects the next time I'm shooting a film. The idea is that I work as a producer and actor. From next year or the year after next.
As an actor wouldn't it be a good idea to take it a little bit easier?
You mean because this year, so many movies are at once in the theatres?
Maybe you're right. There is a risk that the audience will get a Michael Fassbender oversaturation. As the saying goes: Too much familiarity does more harm than good.