Michael Fass­ben­der waits his turn

Michael Fass­ben­der con­tin­ues to look for his big break­through.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - By sTeven ZeiTchik

ThIS movie sea­son, Michael Fass­ben­der seems to keep get­ting lec­tured on the ways of the world. By an un­likely teacher.

The Ger­man-born, Ire­land-raised ac­tor plays cruel plan­ta­tion owner epps in the pe­riod drama 12 Years A Slave, in which Brad Pitt, as a morally scrupu­lous car­pen­ter, ad­mon­ishes him that a more en­light­ened way of think­ing is about to leave him in the dust. And as the in-over-his-head lead char­ac­ter in The Coun­selor, ri­d­ley Scott’s drug-traf­fick­ing thriller based on cor­mac Mccarthy’s first orig­i­nal screen­play, Fass­ben­der is a lawyer set straight by Pitt’s world-weary smug­gler.

“Brad seems to be telling me like it is a lot lately,” Fass­ben­der said with a laugh. “I don’t seem to lis­ten.”

All that screen time with one of the world’s most fa­mous peo­ple high­lights the trust film­mak­ers have th­ese days in the by-his-in­stincts Fass­ben­der. Yet, the pair­ing si­mul­ta­ne­ously throws into relief how the 36-year-old ac­tor con­tin­ues to live in a kind of A-list shadow.

De­spite po­ten­tial ca­reer-mak­ing turns as a coolly com­posed young Mag­neto in X-Men: First Class and a can­did an­droid in Scott’s Prometheus the last few years, Fass­ben­der hasn’t ex­actly be­come a house­hold name. Yet, he still man­ages to land some of the juici­est roles in moviedom.

Steve McQueen has cast him in all three of his films, in­clud­ing IrA prison tale Hunger and sex-ad­dic­tion drama Shame, and Fass­ben­der has reg­u­larly worked with di­rec­to­rial roy­alty like Quentin Tarantino and David cro­nen­berg. Fass­ben­der of­ten elic­its crit­i­cal praise – the Los An­ge­les Times’ Ken­neth Tu­ran said he “mes­merise(d)” as carl Jung in cro­nen­berg’s A Dan­ger­ous Method in 2011 – yet has never been nom­i­nated for an Os­car.

Fass­ben­der has a kind of turn-iton in­ten­sity that’s in stark con­trast to the so-called method ap­proach favoured by a num­ber of other dra­matic ac­tors (think Daniel DayLewis’ liv­ing as Abraham Lin­coln to play the 16th pres­i­dent in Steven Spiel­berg’s 2012 film). he has de­vel­oped a rep­u­ta­tion for do­ing things like jok­ing around with the crew, then snap­ping into the scene.

“Michael is blessed with a great crys­tal in­tu­ition. he’ll say, ‘I don’t want to prac­tice; I just want to do it,’” Scott said. “And five min­utes later he’s giv­ing you a fan­tas­tic scene. It’s like watch­ing Fed­erer or nadal. You don’t know how they do it. You just like watch­ing it.”

On the set of the sex-ad­dic­tion drama Shame, sev­eral co-stars, in­clud­ing carey Mul­li­gan, de­scribed a man who could have been mis­taken for one of the crew be­fore takes; in one scene he even took a quick tequila shot be­fore trans­form­ing into a tor­tured man grimly ex­or­cis­ing sex­ual de­mons.

(Don’t be fooled by the trans­for­ma­tions, he said; those in­tense scenes can over­whelm him. In one par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult 12 Years mo­ment, he re­called, he be­came so in­vested he briefly passed out. And in Coun­selor, he found him­self un­ex­pect­edly break­ing down cry­ing dur­ing a scene where a jefe is telling him what’s about to be­fall him. “It just hap­pened. I’m still not sure how,” he said.)

Fass­ben­der’s style with in­ter­view­ers has a sim­i­lar switch-flip­ping qual­ity. The ac­tor spends much of the con­ver­sa­tion in earnest anal­y­sis of his char­ac­ters’ mo­ti­va­tions. But he bursts out in comedic song af­ter say­ing he and McQueen may next col­lab­o­rate on a mu­si­cal (re­ally) be­fore quickly go­ing back to dis­cussing the so­ci­ol­ogy of the an­te­bel­lum South and how a man’s psy­che might be af­fected by slave own­er­ship. – Los An­ge­les Times/ Mcclatchy-Tri­bune In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices

12 Years A Slave is show­ing at GSC In­ter­na­tional Screens.

Stellar per­for­mance: Fass­ben­der has starred in some no­table re­leases; as the sex-ad­dicted bran­don in Shame and in david cro­nen­berg’s adan­ger­ous­method as the pi­o­neer­ing psy­chol­o­gist carl Jung.

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