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Michael Fassbender

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Michael Fassbender
SDCC13 - Michael Fassbender.jpg
Fassbender at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con International
Born (1977-04-02) 2 April 1977 (age 37)
Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, West Germany
Residence Hackney, London, England, UK[1]
Los Angeles, California, US
Nationality German-Irish
Alma mater Drama Centre London (dropped out)
Occupation Actor, Producer
Years active 1994–present

Michael Fassbender (born 2 April 1977)[2] is a German-Irish actor and producer. His first screen role was in the 2000 TV miniseries, Hearts and Bones, followed by the 2001 television miniseries Band of Brothers.[3] He then worked on a number of TV productions through the 2000s. His notable film roles include Lt. Archie Hicox in Quentin Tarantino's war film Inglourious Basterds (2009), Magneto in the superhero films X-Men: First Class (2011) and X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), the android David in the Ridley Scott-directed science fiction movie Prometheus (2012), and slave owner Edwin Epps in 12 Years a Slave (2013), a historical drama that earned him a 2014 Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Other film credits include a Spartan warrior in the fantasy action film 300 (2007); Connor O'Reily, a man who is attracted to his girlfriend's 15-year-old daughter, in the independent drama Fish Tank (2009); Edward Fairfax Rochester in the romantic drama Jane Eyre (2011); Carl Jung in the historical film A Dangerous Method (2011); IRA volunteer Bobby Sands in the biographical film Hunger (2008), and a sex-addicted executive in the drama Shame (2011), the latter two directed by Steve McQueen. For his role in Shame, he won the Volpi Cup Best Actor award at the 68th Venice International Film Festival held in August 2011 and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and a BAFTA. He has also performed as a theatre actor.

Early life and education[edit]

He was born in Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.[4] His mother, Adele, is from Larne, County Antrim, in Northern Ireland, and his father, Josef Fassbender, is German.[5] According to Fassbender "family lore," his mother is the great-grand-niece of Michael Collins, an Irish leader during the War of Independence.[4][6] When he was two years old, his parents moved to Killarney, County Kerry, in the Republic of Ireland, where they ran the West End House, a restaurant where his father worked as a chef.[4][5] Fassbender served as an altar boy[7] at the church his family attended. He has an older sister, Catherine, who works at the University of California, Davis as a neuropsychologist.[8]

Fassbender and his sister spent summer holidays in Germany, and he speaks German fluently.[9] He attended Fossa National School,[10] and St. Brendan's College, both in Killarney, County Kerry.[11] He discovered he wanted to be an actor at age 17 when he was cast in a play by Donie Courtney. At 19, he moved to London to study at the Drama Centre London. In 1999 he dropped out of the Drama Centre and toured with the Oxford Stage Company to perform the play Three Sisters.[8][12]


Early work[edit]

Fassbender at the premiere of 12 Years a Slave, 2013 Toronto Film Festival

Before he found work as an actor, he had a period of doing "auditions interspersed with bartending stints, [and] postal delivery".[13] Fassbender's first screen role was that of Burton "Pat" Christenson in Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg's award-winning WW II television miniseries Band of Brothers (2001).[3] He played the character of Azazeal in both series of Hex on Sky One and starred as the main character in the music video for the song "Blind Pilots," by the British band The Cooper Temple Clause. In the video, he plays the part of a man out with friends on a stag night who slowly transforms into a goat due to wearing a cowbell necklace.[3]

Fassbender played Jonathan Harker in a ten-part radio serialisation of Dracula produced by BBC Northern Ireland and broadcast in the Book at Bedtime series between 24 November and 5 December 2003. He was also seen in early 2004 in a Guinness television commercial, The Quarrel, playing a man who swims across the ocean from Ireland to apologise personally to his brother in New York;[14] this commercial won a gold medal at the 2005 FAB Awards.[15][16]

During the 2006 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Fassbender played Michael Collins in Allegiance, a play by Mary Kenny based on the meeting between Collins and Winston Churchill.[17] In addition, he produced, directed, and starred in a stage version of Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs,[3] along with his production company.

He appeared in Angel (UK title: The Real Life of Angel Deverell), about the rise and fall of an eccentric young British writer (played by Romola Garai) in the early 20th century. Fassbender plays her love interest, an average painter named Esmé.[3] The drama—the first English-language effort by French director François Ozon and based on the novel by Elizabeth Taylor—premiered on 17 February 2007 at the Berlin International Film Festival and on 14 March 2007 in Paris. He then made a brief appearance in Dean Cavanagh and Irvine Welsh's Wedding Belles as Barney, speaking with a Scottish accent.

Mainstream success[edit]

Fassbender at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival

In 2006, Fassbender played the role of Stelios, a young Spartan warrior, in 300, a fantasy action film directed by Zack Snyder. The film was a commercial success.[18] In preparation for his role as Provisional Irish Republican Army prisoner Bobby Sands in Steve McQueen's 2008 film Hunger, Fassbender underwent a crash diet that restricted him to 600 calories a day. He received the British Independent Film Award for his performance.[19] One year after his success at the Cannes Film Festival with Hunger, he appeared in two films. The first was Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, in which he played the British officer Lieutenant Archie Hicox. The other film was Fish Tank directed by Andrea Arnold. Both films were critically acclaimed and Fassbender's work in them also well received.

In 2010, Fassbender appeared as Burke in Jonah Hex, a Western film.[20] In an interview at San Diego Comic-Con International, a comic book convention, Fassbender commented of the role: "I kind of developed this character and really pushed it – I’ll see how far I pushed it ... I had this idea about the character, he’s kind of psychotic, he gets his kicks in perverted ways. I didn’t want to make it very obvious or like something you’ve seen before."[21] Hex received predominately negative reviews.[22] Responding to criticism of Jonah Hex in 2011, Fassbender commented: "Pretty awful, was it? I haven't seen it myself."[23] He portrayed Quintus Dias in Neil Marshall's bloody Roman war-thriller-drama film Centurion.[24] and was cast as 'Richard Wirth' in the Joel Schumacher film Blood Creek alongside Dominic Purcell. The story centres on a West Virginia man who comes to terms with his moral qualms and helps his brother wipe out a family that had been protecting a Nazi occultist and who had kept his brother captive for him to feed off for years. Fassbender played Edward Rochester in the 2011 film Jane Eyre, featuring Mia Wasikowska in the title role, with Cary Fukunaga directing.[25]

Fassbender (right), Megan Fox and Josh Brolin promoting the 2010 film Jonah Hex at Comic-Con in 2009.

Fassbender portrayed Magneto in the superhero blockbuster X-Men: First Class, the prequel to X-Men. Set in 1962, it focuses on the friendship between Charles Xavier (played by James McAvoy) and Magneto and the origin of their groups, the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants. The film was released on 3 June 2011 to general acclaim and financial success and promoted Fassbender to being more of a popular movie star. In 2011, Fassbender starred in A Dangerous Method by director David Cronenberg, playing Swiss psychiatrist and psychologist Carl Jung. The film premiered at the 2011 Venice Film Festival.[26]

He also starred in Shame, as a man in his thirties struggling with his sexual addiction. Shame reunited him with director Steve McQueen and premiered at the 2011 Venice Film Festival, where Fassbender won a Volpi Cup best actor award for his portrayal of Brandon.[27] Fassbender was a serious contender for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, but he was not nominated, and according to various sources his full-frontal nudity and depiction of sexual encounters inspired voters "to fantasize, and not actually vote."[28][29] Fassbender achieved critical acclaim for his performance in Shame and received nominations for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama and a BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Starring in the film raised Fassbender's profile leading to roles in larger films.

In 2012, he appeared as an MI6 agent in Haywire, an action-thriller directed by Steven Soderbergh,[20] and in the science fiction film Prometheus. Reviews praised both the film's visual aesthetic design and the acting, most notably Fassbender's performance as the android David. Fassbender played the title role in The Counselor, a 2013 film directed by Ridley Scott, and based on the Cormac McCarthy script.[30][31] In 2013, he starred in 12 Years a Slave, his third collaboration with Steve McQueen. Fassbender's portrayal of Edwin Epps earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.[32][33] Fassbender reprised the role of Magneto in X-Men: Days of Future Past (released May 23, 2014), the sequel to X-Men: First Class.[34] Fassbender stars in the title role in Frank (film) (released late summer 2014),[35] a comedy loosely inspired by Frank Sidebottom, a comic persona created by English comedian Chris Sievey.

Future projects[edit]

Fassbender at the premiere of 12 Years a Slave at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival

Fassbender completed production on Slow West , a western starring Kodi Smit-McPhee and Ben Mendelsohn in 2014. He plays Silas, an enigmatic traveller.[36] The film has premiered at Sundance Film Festival on 24 January 2015. It was announced in 2013 that Fassbender will take on the Shakespearean role of Macbeth in a film directed by Justin Kurzel, where he will team up with Academy Award winner Marion Cotillard as Lady Macbeth.[37] Filming for the production began in January 2014.[38] This film has yet to be released. Together with screenwriter Ronan Bennett, Fassbender has formed a production company, Finn McCool Films. Fassbender and Bennett are currently developing a film about the Irish mythological hero Cú Chulainn.[39]

Fassbender announced in November 2013 that there will be a sequel to Prometheus where he will reprise his role as the android David.[40] He will co-produce and star in the film adaptation of Assassin's Creed along with Marion Cotillard which is set for release on 21 December 2016.[41][42]

After winning his third IFTA award for Best Supporting Actor in 12 Years a Slave, Fassbender confirmed that he will start filming Trespass Against Us with fellow Irishman, Brendan Gleeson.[43] His next movie, titled The Light Between Oceans based on the novel written by M.L. Stedman, began filming in New Zealand with director Derek Cianfrance in late September 2014, for theatrical release sometime in 2015.[44] In the end of 2014 filming of the movie has completed. In January 2015, filming of Steve Jobs has started in San Francisco, US. Fassbender plays the late Apple founder and CEO Steve Jobs in this Danny Boyle-directed adaptation of Walter Isaacson's book Steve Jobs.[45] The screenplay was written by Aaron Sorkin. Fassbender is attached after Christian Bale dropped out of the project.[46]

Personal life[edit]

Shifting between European and American films, Fassbender resides in East London where he has lived since 1996, while making career-related visits to Los Angeles, California.[1][47] Fassbender still lives in the same modest flat in Hackney, East London, that he has owned since his late 20s, when he was struggling to get enough work to make ends meet.[48] He speaks German, though he stated before filming Inglourious Basterds that he had needed to brush up a bit on his spoken German because it was a bit rusty.[49][50] He has also expressed interest in performing in a German-language film or theatre production one day.[51] He is a lapsed Catholic.[11][52]


Feature films[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2007 300 Stelios
2007 Angel Esmé Howe-Nevinson
2008 Hunger Bobby Sands British Independent Film Award for Best Actor
2008 Eden Lake Steve
2009 Blood Creek Richard Wirth
2009 Fish Tank Connor Nominated – British Independent Film Award for Best Supporting Actor
2009 Inglourious Basterds Lt. Archie Hicox
2010 Centurion Quintus Dias
2010 Jonah Hex Burke
2011 Jane Eyre Edward Rochester
2011 X-Men: First Class Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto
2011 A Dangerous Method Carl Gustav Jung
2011 Shame Brandon Sullivan British Independent Film Award for Best Actor
Volpi Cup
Nominated – Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
2012 Haywire Paul
2012 Prometheus David Nominated– Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
2013 12 Years a Slave Edwin Epps AACTA International Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated – Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
Nominated – Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2013 The Counselor Counselor
2014 1: Life on the Limit Narrator Documentary
2014 Frank Frank Nominated – British Independent Film Award for Best Supporting Actor
2014 X-Men: Days of Future Past Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto Role shared with Ian McKellen

Nominated - Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Villain

2015 Slow West Silas Selleck
2015 Project V Post-production[53]
2015 Macbeth Lord Macbeth Post-production
2015 Trespass Against Us Chad Cutler Post-production
2015 The Light Between Oceans Tom Sherbourne Post-production
2015 Steve Jobs Steve Jobs Filming


Fassbender was at the Top Gear studios in Surrey, England, on 8 February 2012 to film Star in a Reasonably Priced Car, where celebs try to set a fastest lap time of the Top Gear test track in a low-spec family hatchback. The lap and his interview with Jeremy Clarkson was aired on BBC2 on 19 February 2012. Fassbender narrated the 2014 F1 movie-documentary 1: Life on the Limit.

Year Title Role Notes
2001 Band of Brothers Burton 'Pat' Christenson Miniseries
Hearts and Bones Hermann 3 episodes
2002 NCS Manhunt Jack Silver
Holby City Christian Connolly 1 episode
2003 Carla Rob
2004 A Bear Named Winnie Lt. Harry Colebourn
Gunpowder, Treason & Plot Guy Fawkes
Julian Fellowes Investigates: A Most Mysterious Murder Charles Bravo
Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking Charles Allen
2004–2005 Hex Azazeal 12 episodes
2005 Murphy's Law Caz Miller 5 episodes
Our Hidden Lives German POW
William and Mary Lukasz 1 episode
2006 Poirot: After the Funeral George Abernethie 1 episode
Trial & Retribution: Sins of the Father Douglas Nesbitt
2007 Wedding Belles Barney
2008 The Devil's Whore Thomas Rainsborough Miniseries

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2010 Fable III Logan Voice


Year Production Playwright Role Notes
1994 Fairytales Fairytales 123 Donie Courtney Cinderella's ugly sister Stage debut[54]
1995 Reservoir Dogs Based on script by Quentin Tarantino Mr. Pink Also producer and director[54]
1999 Three Sisters Anton Chekhov Alexei Petrovich Fedotik Performances: Oxford Stage Company
2006 Allegiance Mary Kenny Michael Collins Performances: Edinburgh Festival Fringe[55]

Awards and nominations[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Michael Fassbender: the man to take on Brando's mantle". The Guardian. 20 May 2012. Retrieved 3 April 2014. 
  2. ^ "Michael Fassbender Biography: Actor (1977–)". (FYI / A&E Networks). Archived from the original on 3 September 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Michael Fassbender- Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c Garratt, Sheryl (18 October 2008). "Michael Fassbender on Playing Bobby Sands in Hunger". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 9 February 2009. 
  5. ^ a b "Blood, Sweat, Tears". The Irish Times. 5 April 2008. Retrieved 4 June 2011.  (subscription required)
  6. ^ Mottram, James (9 August 2009). "Interview: Michael Fassbender – Lean and Mean". The Scotsman. Archived from the original on 1 October 2013. Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  7. ^ "Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender for W". Tom & Lorenzo. 16 March 2011. Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  8. ^ a b McClintock, Pamela (18 January 2012). "Fassbender on Fire". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  9. ^ Day, Elizabeth (20 May 2012). "Michael Fassbender: the man to take on Brando's mantle". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 27 December 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  10. ^ Fossa National School, Fossa, Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland
  11. ^ a b "Michael Fassbender Opens Up About '12 Years A Slave,' Religion, and Assassin's Creed". Daily Beast. 16 October 2013. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  12. ^ Jim Maloney (3 September 2012). Michael Fassbender - The Biography: The Biography. John Blake Publishing, Limited. p. 21. ISBN 978-1-78219-075-2. 
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  15. ^ "Michael Fassbender". Retrieved 23 August 2014. 
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  17. ^ O'Doherty, Cahir (16 February 2011). "Michael Fassbender Is Officially a Hollywood Leading Man". IrishCentral. Retrieved 16 February 2011. 
  18. ^ "All-Time USA Box office". IMDb. 7 March 2012. Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
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  20. ^ a b "Knockout has begun filming in Dublin | Life of a Married Man". 16 February 2010. Retrieved 20 June 2012. 
  21. ^ "In 2009". Screen Crave. 19 August 2009. Retrieved 9 March 2009. 
  22. ^ "Jonah Hex Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 5 October 2010. 
  23. ^ "Michael Fassbender, future superstar". Salon. 8 March 2011. Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  24. ^ "Get Ready To Jump in New 'Centurion' Clip". Retrieved 23 June 2011. 
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  27. ^ Nikkhah, Roya (10 September 2011). "Michael Fassbender Wins Best actor at Venice for Sex-Addict role". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 11 September 2011. 
  28. ^ "Oscars 2012: Did Michael Fassbender's Big Part Cost Him a Nom?". Los Angeles Times. 25 January 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2012. 
  29. ^ "Michael Fassbender's Penis Caused Oscar Snub?". The Huffington Post. 26 January 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2012. 
  30. ^ Fleming, Mike. "TOLDJA! Michael Fassbender Commits To Ridley Scott-Directed 'The Counselor'". Retrieved 20 June 2012. 
  31. ^ Sneider, Jeff (4 September 2012). "Fassbender, Gleeson set for 'Frank'". Variety. Retrieved 4 September 2012. 
  32. ^ "Edwin Epps (Character)". imdb. Retrieved 15 July 2013. 
  33. ^ "12 Years a Slave (2013)". imdb. Retrieved 15 July 2013. 
  34. ^ Konow, David (5 August 2012). "X-Men: Day of Future Past gets detailed". Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
  35. ^ "Sundance: Magnolia Acquires Michael Fassbender’s ‘Frank’". Variety. 24 January 2014. Retrieved 23 August 2014. 
  36. ^ White, James (21 October 2013). "Michael Fassbender Heads For Slow West". Empire Online. Retrieved 12 November 2013. 
  37. ^ "Something SMOLDERING this way comes: Michael Fassbender makes Macbeth sexy in new poster". 16 May 2014. 
  38. ^ Keslassy, Elsa. "Marion Cotillard Set to Topline 'MacBeth' Opposite Michael Fassbender". Retrieved 21 August 2013. 
  39. ^ Dawtrey, Adam (17 February 2012). "Michael Fassbender preps Cuchulain project". Variety. Retrieved 20 February 2012. 
  40. ^ Risley, Matt. "Michael Fassbender says Prometheus 2 'is going to happen'". Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
  41. ^
  42. ^ Fleming, Jr., Mike (29 April 2014). "Michael Fassbender poised to re-team with 'MacBeth' Helmer on 'Assassin's Creed'". Retrieved 30 April 2014. 
  43. ^ De-Burca, Demelza (7 April 2014). "Michael Fassbender set to team up with Brendan Gleeson to play Traveller in upcoming flick". Irish Mirror. Retrieved 8 April 2014. 
  44. ^ Bullbeck, Pip (14 August 2014). "DreamWorks confirms NZ shoot for Michael Fassbender starrer 'The Light Between Oceans'". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 15 August 2014. 
  45. ^ "Kerry superstar Michael Fassbender lands Steve Jobs role in major Hollywood biopic". 29 January 2014. 
  46. ^
  47. ^ "Michael Fassbender: LA is too soft". Belfast Telegraph. 9 May 2012. Retrieved 3 April 2014. 
  48. ^
  49. ^ Cheney, Alexandra (2 June 2011). "Michael Fassbender, Supervillain with a Sensitive Side". The Wall Street Journal. 
  50. ^ "Irish Actor Michael Fassbender Brushes Up on His German for 'Inglourious Basterds'". 21 August 2009. Retrieved 20 June 2012. 
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  52. ^ Brockes, Emma (6 January 2012). "What's a nice boy like Michael Fassbender doing in a film like Shame?". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  53. ^ Wakeman, Gregory (December 2014). "Surprise: Terrence Malick's New Movie Sounds Really Weird". Retrieved 1 February 2015. 
  54. ^ a b Stars and Stories. "Jane Eyre: Michael Fassbender Interview". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 20 June 2012. 
  55. ^ Hallett, Victor (13 August 2006). "Allegiance". Retrieved 20 June 2012. 

External links[edit]