Q&A

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents - In­ter­view by AL­LEY PAS­COE

Michael Fass­ben­der talks surf­ing, sharks and why he likes to bend the truth.

While film­ing in Aus­tralia last year you were spot­ted surf­ing at the fa­mous Bondi Beach. Ever thought of a ca­reer change – could you be the first Ir­ish­man to win a World Surf League cham­pi­onship? Def­i­nitely not. I’m pretty bad but I’m en­thu­si­as­tic. The shark alarm went off there last time and I have a healthy fear of them. If I’m in a very sharky spot I try to leave my imag­i­na­tion on the beach. Be­sides sharks, what are you most afraid of? Mob men­tal­ity and xeno­pho­bia. How would you say the Aus­tralian pa­parazzi com­pares to Bri­tain’s? Don’t like any of them. You play two an­droids, David and Wal­ter, in Ri­d­ley Scott’s new film Alien: Covenant. How would you con­vince some­one who isn’t a fan of sci-fi to see it? I wouldn’t. I don’t know, I al­ways feel bad telling peo­ple that they have to see some­thing. I’m not nec­es­sar­ily crazy about sci-fi, I just like a good movie and Ri­d­ley Scott is a great sto­ry­teller and he cre­ates com­plex worlds, and worlds that are rich. He brought us [Ellen] Ri­p­ley [played by Sigour­ney Weaver] nearly 40 years ago. In an age when the in­dus­try was fi­nally ad­dress­ing equal­ity, he brought us this won­der­ful fe­male char­ac­ter who had her own strength and whose ob­jec­tive wasn’t de­cided by the male lead. Ri­d­ley has al­ways been ahead of the curve and it’s al­ways worth see­ing what he does. Scott doesn’t rely too heav­ily on CGI in his films. As an actor, how does film­ing in front of a green screen com­pare to be­ing on an ac­tual set? On set is just a lot more fun, to be hon­est – you get to ex­plore and in­ter­act with the uni­verse that you’re tak­ing part in. In space it was so fun to walk around the space­ship, both on Prometheus and Alien: Covenant. It’s a real treat be­cause, as you said, it’s a very rare thing these days. Af­ter Car­rie Fisher’s death, there were ru­mours that Dis­ney would CGI her back to life in fu­ture Star Wars movies. Do you think CGI will ren­der ac­tors ir­rel­e­vant one day? Prob­a­bly. With [the devel­op­ment of] vir­tual re­al­ity, the ex­pe­ri­ence of go­ing to see a movie will be dif­fer­ent be­cause it’s al­most like the video-game world and movie-go­ing ex­pe­ri­ence sort of meet. So you go to watch Alien: Covenant and you are David, you choose one of the char­ac­ters that you want to be, and you ex­pe­ri­ence it that way. Are you ex­cited for that fu­ture or does it make you ner­vous? I’m ex­cited; I think it will be in­ter­est­ing to see the world of vir­tual re­al­ity. One of your lines in the film is: “I think if we go into the new world with kind­ness, it will be kind.” Is that the advice you’d give your fel­low global cit­i­zens at this point in his­tory? I think that’s the advice I’d give any­one, to be hon­est. I think

“The shark alarm went off last time [I was surf­ing at Bondi]. I have a healthy fear of them”

we’re all re­spon­si­ble for each other, and our ac­tions. Yeah, that would be sound advice. Your girlfriend, Alicia Vikan­der, played a robot in Ex Machina. Did you two com­pare notes? No, but I thought she did a damn fine job. You also play Mag­neto in the X-men films. Who’s more pas­sion­ate: Alien or Marvel fans? Tricky, tricky. I’d say there could be a cross­over there. They could be one and the same, I dare say. You turned 40 ear­lier this month. How did you feel about that par­tic­u­lar milestone? I felt a little shaky... No, I felt good, but birth­days al­ways make me feel a little bit weird any­way. Maybe it’s the idea that I’m get­ting older. How do you cope with stress? Chamomile tea. You’ve said be­fore that you can lie pretty eas­ily to jour­nal­ists. What’s the big­gest fib you’ve told? To­day I said that Katherine Water­ston’s char­ac­ter and my char­ac­ter [in Alien: Covenant] have a love af­fair, so I’m wait­ing to see if that gets out. I wouldn’t say I lie ex­ces­sively… Should we fact-check your an­swers from this in­ter­view? I think you prob­a­bly should, yeah. You are no­to­ri­ously pri­vate. Why is it im­por­tant to you to keep your per­sonal life to your­self? Num­ber one, I think it’s ef­fec­tive for me as an actor be­cause I want to be able to dis­ap­pear into the char­ac­ters I play. I don’t want the au­di­ence to be dis­tracted by what­ever else is seen of me in the real world. I would con­sider my­self a pri­vate per­son. I work in a medium where we rely on the pub­lic to go see it. But my own life is for me. You’ve starred in thrillers, pe­riod dra­mas, dark come­dies and West­erns – but we haven’t yet seen you in a rom-com. Has that been a de­lib­er­ate de­ci­sion? No, not re­ally, but stay tuned… So we’ll see you star­ring along­side rom-com queen Katherine Heigl pretty soon? That’s ex­actly right. That one you can go ahead and print. How of­ten do you get mis­taken for Tom Hid­dle­ston? Hap­pens all the time. I can see the sim­i­lar­i­ties, but I’m bet­ter look­ing than him [laughs]. Other than that, yes. I like Tom. Alien: Covenant is in cin­e­mas na­tion­wide on May 11.

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