Mi­chael Fass­ben­der

THE MAN OF A THOU­SAND FACES

GREATER PARIS - - [Contents] Sommaire - By Ivan Es­sin­di

Mi­chael Fass­ben­der has pro­ved that des­pite his so­me­times ve­ry in­tense roles, he can still have fun and enjoy the be­ne­fits that his new­found star­dom brings.

You seem to be real­ly in­to playing evil, de­viant or ex­treme cha­rac­ters that exem­pli­fy the aber­ra­tions and dar­kest de­sires of man­kind. Is that your thing, shi­ning a spot­light on the flaws that hu­mans of­ten try to hide? I’m to­tal­ly mad, there’s no doubt about it. Thank­ful­ly not to the point of self-des­truc­tion. But we’re all a bit mad. Re­co­gni­sing your mad­ness is so much more in­ter­es­ting than igno­ring it. Look at how we live on this pla­net, it’s in­sane, and the­re­fore fas­ci­na­ting. Sho­cking or violent scenes are ne­ver ea­sy to do, but I re­search my roles in depth so that I can get in­to my cha­rac­ter’s psy­cho­lo­gy. For my role of Ed­win Epps in Steve Mcqueen’s film 12 Years A Slave, I had to get it just right be­cause it was a true sto­ry. So­lo­mon Nor­thup real­ly exis­ted, he real­ly was en­sla­ved for 12 years. It was my du­ty to do jus­tice to the slaves who went through that or­deal. Des­pite your ten­den­cy to play su­per vil­lains, people see you as a sex sym­bol. Do you find that strange? No, I find it per­fect­ly nor­mal. What are you trying to say?! I feel good about my­self, I don’t mind del­ving in­to the ugly side of my roles, the hu­man race or even my­self. The most at­trac­tive women are those who feel good about them­selves. Maybe the rea­son why people are drawn to me has so­me­thing to do with that. To be ho­nest I find the whole sex sym­bol sta­tus thing a bit alar­ming and ri­di­cu­lous, but I’m ok with it. You ear­ned your place in the “ban­kable” ac­tors ca­te­go­ry in 2011 with the won­der­ful, dis­tur­bing and contro­ver­sial film Shame, in which you played a sex ad­dict. Did this experience change your self-image? From a nar­cis­sis­tic point of view, ab­so­lu­te­ly not, I al­rea­dy knew I was good loo­king and the film just confir­med that. No, but on a se­rious note, the part was pi­vo­tal for me. It ope­ned my eyes to other pos­si­bi­li­ties, I mean more phy­si­cal, more in­tense roles, which in­vol­ved por­traying vi­ri­li­ty open­ly. And it pa­ved the way for lead roles. I think it was thanks to this experience/per­for­mance that I can now take roles in se­ries like X-men and As­sas­sin’s Creed. You’re one of the stars to fea­ture in the im­pres­sive cast, in­clu­ding Ryan Gos­ling, Cate Blan­chett, Ch­ris­tian Bale and Na­ta­lie Port­man, of Weight­less, the new Ter­rence Ma­lick film to be re­lea­sed in spring this year. It’s set in the mu­sic scene in Aus­tin, Texas, in the ear­ly 2010s. What’s it like being part of such a stel­lar line-up? It’s nice, and at the same time we find it real­ly weird. But for me, the real stars were Ig­gy Pop and John Ly­don [for­mer­ly John­ny Rot­ten and ex-lead sin­ger of The Sex Pis­tols]. I shot some scenes with them and they were such a laugh off set. Those guys are huge. To­tal­ly cra­zy, fas­ci­na­ting and in­ca­pable of being any­thing but them­selves. You’ve made two films, in­clu­ding the recent As­sas­sin’s Creed, with France’s ho­me­grown star, Ma­rion Co­tillard. Did she talk up the charms of France, and Pa­ris in par­ti­cu­lar, to you? Ma­rion her­self em­bo­dies French charm. Af­ter shoo­ting Pro­me­theus in 2012, I nee­ded a break so I took a year off to go on a road trip with my fa­ther. It was fan­tas­tic, we saw Sa­ra­je­vo, Du­brov­nik, Ita­ly, France and Spain. When you tra­vel by mo­tor­bike, you get this ama­zing fee­ling of power, speed and free­dom. I met some great people in France. We most­ly vi­si­ted ru­ral France, with its vil­lages and tra­di­tions. We didn’t stop in Pa­ris. I’ll keep that for when I’m to­tal­ly free to ex­plore the ci­ty that has al­ways been my mo­ther’s ob­ses­sion.

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