The dark­ness, the hyp­notic eyes, the vul­ner­a­bil­ity… SOPHIE HEA­WOOD ex­plains why we can’t get enough of Michael Fass­ben­der

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - CONTENTS -

Why we’re all in love with Michael Fass­ben­der

SOME­TIMES YOU WANT a man who buys you ow­ers and takes you danc­ing. At other times you long for a man who’ll be good with the kids and not moan about wrestling a roof rack on to the car. And some­times, just some­times, you feel the in­sa­tiable de­sire for a man who’ll look you in the eyes with a de­monic glare and lead you slowly up a moun­tain in a thun­der­storm to sacri ce wild an­i­mals and do some­thing so lthy to each other’s dark places that it can­not be printed here.

Erm, ex­cuse me a minute, sorry – it’s just that I re­cently saw Mac­beth, the lat­est lm star­ring Michael Fass­ben­der that got four-star re­views, and now I want this all the time. Oh God, help. The man is a sim­mer­ing beast of fury and leg­end, and ev­ery woman I know wants to have sex with him, as do sev­eral of my male friends. In fact, we have de­cided that all men should be more Fass­ben­der, as this is clearly the next stage in evo­lu­tion for hu­mankind.

If you don’t know who he is, then this is ex­cit­ing for you, be­cause the plea­sure and the dark­ness are all to come. Fass­ben­der is a 38-year-old ac­tor who be­gan the 21st cen­tury in TV dra­mas and is now a huge movie star. He’s the guy who is in ev­ery­thing, with his steely con­tain­ment, his stare. The cruel slave mas­ter in 12 Years A Slave (for which he was nom­i­nated for an Os­car); the com­pul­sive sex ad­dict at the heart of Shame; the sol­dier picked by Churchill to spy on the Ger­mans in In­glou­ri­ous Bas­terds; Rochester in Jane Eyre; Steve Jobs in the re­cent biopic (again Os­car nom­i­nated); some­thing equally dis­tress­ingly strong in X-Men, and I don’t even like the X-Men lms. Oh, Fassy.

The time has come to for­get Clooney suave­ness – that was all a bit 2007.The Beck­ham nice guy/sport­ing dad vibes have been done to death,and the Cum­ber­batch geeky thing only in­spires me to want a re­ally good con­ver­sa­tion with the chap. The cur­rent hot crush is Fass­ben­der, who has noth­ing boy­ish about him. A rock, but also a river, who con­tains some­thing dark and mys­te­ri­ous in­side him. So what is it?

I did a poll of my friends to nd out why they fancy him, and the re­sults were so in­crim­i­nat­ing, I’ve had to re­move their names, as they are all mar­ried. Let’s take Friend A, who lives near Fassy’s house. This friend used to see him in the park, where he was a reg­u­lar. ‘I ba­si­cally trained my dog to drop his ball be­tween Fassy’s feet while he was work­ing out,’ she ad­mits. Friend B says ‘I can’t ex­plain what it is, but I re­ally could stare at that man all day. Those eyes should look shifty, but they’re hyp­notic. Like when he plays Rochester, with all that re­pressed pas­sion on the moors, the long, lin­ger­ing looks and the eyes that re­duce me to a gib­ber­ing id­iot ev­ery time I watch it. Oh boy. I think I need a lie-down.’

And then there’s his pe­nis. I’m sorry to spell it out like that, but it’s a big part of things. It was the rst pe­nis my daugh­ter ever saw, as we walked in late to the moms and ba­bies screen­ing of Shame at our lo­cal cinema (it’s a very en­light­ened cinema) – there it was, sky high, close up on the screen, as we en­tered. I couldn’t help but stare, with my few-month-old also try­ing her best to fo­cus on the thing. If she ends up at­tracted to men like him – or sim­ply with un­re­al­is­tic ex­pec­ta­tions of si e – I shall have only my­self to blame. In that lm, he played a sex ad­dict with a ten­der­ness and com­plex­ity that seemed to lock in one level be­hind the char­ac­ter’s self-ob­ses­sion. His com­pas­sion to­wards his messed-up sis­ter, played by Carey Mulligan, also felt com­pli­cated and real.

And in Mac­beth, there is a scene where – I don’t want to re­veal any spoil­ers, but this hap­pens pretty early on, so it’s not go­ing to ruin any­thing – Lady Mac­beth (played by Mar­ion Cotil­lard) and her hus­band (Fass­ben­der) plot a mur­der while they are hav­ing sex. Stand­ing up. In the back room of a feast. He’s thrust­ing stealth­ily into her while agree­ing to be­tray King Dun­can in his sleep. It’s one of the most ar­rest­ing things I’ve seen on screen for some time. In an­other scene, he’s stand­ing on the bat­tled, stained in blood and mud and sur­rounded by rot­ting corpses, re­cently vis­ited by witches and the stench of death, and you’re look­ing at him, think­ing what power Shake­speare can bring to the big screen. All right, you’re look­ing at him think­ing, ‘Yeah, I would.’

Why do we feel this way? Be­cause he’s a man, not a boy racer, not a kidult, not an ac­tion hero. He’s mus­cu­lar, dam­aged, con­fi­dent, not tra­di­tion­ally at­trac­tive. He’s not par­tic­u­larly tall and he isn’t well dressed in the pa­parazzi shots you see of his ev­ery­day life, walk­ing down the street. But he man­ages to con­tain both an ag­o­nis­ing vul­ner­a­bil­ity and an al­most scary al­pha-male thing at the same time, which is mes­meris­ing to watch. And then there’s his chopper. mc Mac­beth is out on 8 April.

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