Michael Fassbender on
His first stage experience had the actor in Church - as an altar boy. Although today he skips the mass, but still believes in the fact that the world could only be saved by a little more charity
My parents are not very religious, but we still went to church every Sunday. If you are Catholic as I am and grew up in Ireland, this is simply a part of life. But at some point I started to get bored during the mass. I wanted to not only listen, but to be part of this great production, at the front of the altar. So I became an altar boy and one could say: My first stage experience I had in church. Since then, I feel a certain responsibility to the public. After my first year as an altar boy, they looked for head altar boys. These are the guys who get the keys to the church and unlock it before the mass. An important task for which I applied immediately. You have to imagine it: I was twelve years old - and had the keys to the house of God! I even slept a few times in the church, only because I was afraid to oversleep in the morning and could not unlock on time. Once I was in fact too late, ran like a madman across the fields to the church, in front of which all the dignitaries were waiting. I can tell you: at that moment I knew what shame was.
Today religion often has a negative image, but I try to see the positive. In Catholicism, there are these rituals and strong imagery. If you like, we have a much better show than the Protestants. Just the metaphor, turn water into wine, is great. Even the forbidden has always fascinated me. I remember very well that when I masturbated for the first time: that feeling of having done something dirty and then the fear to get caught and be punished terribly. At the same time these extreme emotions also had something very much alive. Until now, I draw from this very intensity plenty of power for acting.
Today I am no longer a practicing Catholic; I don’t go to church on Sundays. I would describe myself more as a spiritual person, one who takes a bit of something here and there - the best of all world religions. Sometimes I think of this song line from John Lennon: "If we were to deprive the people of the religion, would they then still be able to lovingly deal with each other?"* Or the sentence: "Love your neighbour as yourself," That sounds simple, but it is the truth. We need more love in this world. I believe in that, even if this sounds so hippie-esque and many people say this is doesn’t work. What is the alternative? The wars, the uncertainty, all these negative feelings, that brings us no further. Divine Love - that's it.
*Ann.: Literal translation. I'm certain the original text was in English and had been translated for the magazine. So I'm not certain if the original text refers to this line from Imagine: "And no religion too, Imagine all the people, living life in peace".
Source: Cover Magazin D, September 2012