Michael Fassbender (born 2 April 1977) is an Irish-German actor. His feature film debut was in the fantasy war epic 300 (2007) as a Spartan warrior; his earlier roles included various stage productions, as well as starring roles on television such as in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers (2001) and the Sky One fantasy drama Hex (2004–05). He first came to prominence for his role as IRA activist Bobby Sands in Hunger (2008), for which he won a British Independent Film Award. Subsequent roles include in the independent film Fish Tank (2009), as a Royal Marines lieutenant in Inglourious Basterds (2009), as Edward Rochester in the 2011 film adaptation of Jane Eyre, as Carl Jung in A Dangerous Method (2011), as the sentient android David 8 in Prometheus (2012) and its sequel, Alien: Covenant (2017), and in the musical comedy-drama Frank (2014) as an eccentric musician loosely inspired by Frank Sidebottom.
Fassbender at the 2015
San Diego Comic-Con International
|Residence||London, England |
|Alma mater||Drama Centre London |
St. Brendan's College
|Home town||Fossa, County Kerry, Ireland|
Alicia Vikander (m. 2017)
In 2011, Fassbender debuted as the Marvel Comics supervillain Magneto in X-Men: First Class, and went on to share the role with Ian McKellen in X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), reprised it again in X-Men: Apocalypse (2016), and is set to reprise it once more in Dark Phoenix (2019). Also in 2011, Fassbender's performance as a sex addict in Shame earned him the Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival and was nominated for Golden Globe and BAFTA Awards. In 2013, his role as slave owner Edwin Epps in the slavery epic 12 Years a Slave was similarly praised, earning him his first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. In 2013, Fassbender appeared in another Ridley Scott film, The Counselor. In 2015, he portrayed the title role in the Danny Boyle-directed biopic Steve Jobs (2015), and played Macbeth in Justin Kurzel's adaptation of William Shakespeare's play. For the former, he received Academy Award, BAFTA, Golden Globe and SAG nominations. In 2015, he produced the western Slow West, in which he also starred.
Fassbender was born on 2 April 1977 in Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg. His mother, Adele, is Irish (from Larne, County Antrim), while his father, Josef Fassbender, is German. According to Fassbender family lore, his mother is the great-grand-niece of Michael Collins, an Irish leader during the War of Independence. When Fassbender was two years old, his parents moved to the Irish town of Killarney, County Kerry, where they ran the West End House, a restaurant where his father worked as a chef. His parents moved to Kerry as they wanted their children to grow up in the countryside rather than the industrial backdrop of their previous residence in Germany. Fassbender was raised Catholic, and served as an altar boy at the church his family attended. He has an older sister, Catherine, who is a neuropsychologist.
Fassbender and his sister spent summer holidays in Germany, and he speaks German fluently, though he later stated before filming Inglourious Basterds that he had needed to brush up a bit on his spoken German because "it was a bit rusty". He attended Fossa National School and St. Brendan's College, both in Killarney. He decided that he wanted to be an actor at age 17 when he was cast in a play by Donal Courtney. At 19, he moved to London to study at the Drama Centre London, a constituent school of Central Saint Martins. In 1999, he dropped out of the Drama Centre and toured with the Oxford Stage Company to perform the play Three Sisters. Before he found work as an actor, he worked as a bartender and postman. Other jobs include labour work, market research for the Royal Mail and working for Dell computers.
Fassbender's first screen role was that of Burton "Pat" Christenson in Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg's award-winning television miniseries Band of Brothers (2001). 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.
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; this commercial won a gold medal at the 2005 FAB Awards.
During the 2006 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Fassbender played Michael Collins, his great-great-grand-uncle, in Allegiance, a play by Mary Kenny based on the meeting between Collins and Winston Churchill. In addition, Fassbender produced, directed, and starred in a stage version of Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs, 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. 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.
In 2006, Fassbender played Stelios, a young Spartan warrior, in 300, a fantasy action film directed by Zack Snyder. The film was a commercial success. 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. 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.[weasel words]
In 2010, Fassbender appeared as Burke in Jonah Hex, a Western film. 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." Hex received predominantly negative reviews. Responding to criticism of Jonah Hex in 2011, Fassbender commented: "Pretty awful, was it? I haven't seen it myself." He portrayed Quintus Dias in Neil Marshall's bloody Roman war-thriller-drama film Centurion. 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 portrayed Edward Rochester in the 2011 film Jane Eyre, featuring Mia Wasikowska in the title role, with Cary Fukunaga directing.
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.
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. 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." Fassbender achieved critical acclaim for his portrayal 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, and in Ridley Scott's 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 8. Fassbender played the title role in Ridley Scott's The Counselor, a 2013 film based on the Cormac McCarthy script. 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. Fassbender reprised the role of Magneto in X-Men: Days of Future Past (released 23 May 2014), the sequel to X-Men: First Class. Fassbender stars in the title role in Frank (released late summer 2014), a comedy loosely inspired by Frank Sidebottom, a comic persona created by English comedian Chris Sievey.
Fassbender played late Apple founder and CEO Steve Jobs in the Danny Boyle-directed film Steve Jobs, which began filming in January 2015, in San Francisco, U.S., and premiered in September of that year. The film is an adaptation of Walter Isaacson's book Steve Jobs. The screenplay was written by Aaron Sorkin. Fassbender became attached after Christian Bale dropped out of the project. His performance saw him nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor.
Fassbender took on the Shakespearean role of Macbeth in a film directed by Justin Kurzel, where he teamed up with Academy Award winner Marion Cotillard as Lady Macbeth and David Thewlis as King Duncan. Filming for the production began in January 2014 and the film premiered at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.
In 2016, Fassbender once again played Magneto in the film X-Men: Apocalypse. He next starred in The Light Between Oceans, based on the novel written by M. L. Stedman, and directed by Derek Cianfrance; the movie began filming in New Zealand in late September 2014, and was released on 2 September 2016. Also in 2016, Fassbender starred in the thriller Trespass Against Us, with fellow Irishman Brendan Gleeson. His final film of the year was the adaptation of video game Assassin's Creed, which he co-produced through his DMC Film banner. It was released on 21 December 2016. Macbeth helmer Justin Kurzel directed, and co-star Marion Cotillard had a leading role, working with Fassbender again. In May 2017, Fassbender reprised his role as the android David, and played another character, in the sequel to Prometheus, Alien: Covenant. Principal photography for the film was completed in 2016. In 2015, Fassbender was cast in The Snowman, an adaptation of Jo Nesbø's novel, directed by Tomas Alfredson and co-starring Rebecca Ferguson and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Filming began in January 2016 and the film was released in October 2017.
Fassbender will be reprising his role as Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto in the 2019 film X-Men: Dark Phoenix. In February 2018, Fassbender and Arnold Schwarzenegger were confirmed to star alongside David Hasselhoff in a full-length movie sequel of 2015 short film Kung Fury.
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.
Fassbender is fluent in German and has expressed interest in performing in a German-language film or play. He is a lapsed Catholic, though he still goes to church to light candles. He is a supporter of football club Liverpool.
In 2010, Fassbender's then ex-girlfriend, Sunawin Andrews, filed a restraining order against him in Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleging that he "threw me over a chair breaking my nose" in 2009, and that he had also dragged her alongside his car, injuring her ankle and knee, as well as causing her to burst an ovarian cyst. The Daily Beast repeated the allegations, to which Fassbender had not publicly responded, in 2018 in the wake of the Me Too movement.
Although he prefers to keep his personal life private, Fassbender stated in a 2012 interview in GQ that he was seeing actress Nicole Beharie “as much as possible,” after they worked together on the movie Shame. In December 2014, he began dating Swedish actress Alicia Vikander, whom he met on the set of The Light Between Oceans. The two married in a private ceremony on 14 October 2017 in Ibiza, Spain. As of 2017, they reside in Lisbon, Portugal.
Awards and nominations
- "X-Men star buys £1.7 million hidden hilltop holiday home in Portugal". 17 May 2017.
- Aitkenhead, Decca (22 October 2016). "Michael Fassbender: 'I was a bit of a worrywart. I've tried to work on that'". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 May 2017.
- Murphy, Sarah-Jane (15 December 2015). "Backlash as Colin Farrell, Saoirse Ronan and Michael Fassbender named as 'British' stars at London film awards". Irish Independent. Retrieved 6 May 2017.
- "Michael Fassbender Biography: Actor (1977–)". Biography.com (FYI / A&E Networks). Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
- Garratt, Sheryl (18 October 2008). "Michael Fassbender on Playing Bobby Sands in Hunger". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 9 February 2009.
- "The Year Of Michael Fassbender". Irish America.
- "Blood, Sweat, Tears". The Irish Times. 5 April 2008. Retrieved 4 June 2011. (subscription required)
- 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.
- "Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender for W". Tom & Lorenzo. 16 March 2011. Archived from the original on 26 July 2011. Retrieved 4 June 2011.
- McClintock, Pamela (18 January 2012). "Fassbender on Fire". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
- "Faculty: Catherine Fassbender, Ph.D." University of California, Davis MIND Institute.
- 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.
- Cheney, Alexandra (2 June 2011). "Michael Fassbender, Supervillain with a Sensitive Side". The Wall Street Journal.
- "Irish Actor Michael Fassbender Brushes Up on His German for 'Inglourious Basterds'". Irishcentral.com. 21 August 2009. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- "Fossa National School, Fossa, Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland". Fossanationalschool.com. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
- "Michael Fassbender Opens Up About '12 Years A Slave,' Religion, and Assassin's Creed". Daily Beast. 16 October 2013. Retrieved 7 November 2013.
- Jim Maloney (3 September 2012). Michael Fassbender – The Biography: The Biography. John Blake Publishing, Limited. p. 21. ISBN 978-1-78219-075-2.
- 10/15/2013 10:08 am EDT (15 October 2013). "Michael Fassbender Opens Up About Dating, Women And The Trouble Of Maintaining Relationships". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
- "Michael Fassbender: 'You have a time when you're at your best. Then it's downhill'". TimeOut. 20 December 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
- "Michael Fassbender- Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Archived from the original on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
- "Michael Fassbender. Guinness". youtube. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
- "Michael Fassbender". michaelfassbender.org. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
- "Fabawards winners" (PDF).
- Interview with Michael Fassbender
- OnstageScotland, "Allegiance"
- O'Doherty, Cahir (16 February 2011). "Michael Fassbender Is Officially a Hollywood Leading Man". IrishCentral. Retrieved 16 February 2011.
- "300". Box Office Mojo. 11 March 2007. Retrieved 11 March 2007.
- "2008 Winners at British Independent Film Awards". Bifa.org.uk. 16 June 2011. Archived from the original on 9 August 2011. Retrieved 23 June 2011.
- "Knockout has begun filming in Dublin | Life of a Married Man". Alesrybarik.com. 16 February 2010. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- "In 2009". Screen Crave. 19 August 2009. Archived from the original on 26 July 2011. Retrieved 9 March 2009.
- "Jonah Hex Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 5 October 2010.
- "Michael Fassbender, future superstar". Salon. 8 March 2011. Retrieved 9 March 2012.
- "Get Ready To Jump in New 'Centurion' Clip". Bloody-disgusting.com. Retrieved 23 June 2011.
- Bartyzel, Monika (9 February 2010). "Casting Bites: From Weisz's 'Dream' to Wasikowska's 'Eyre' – The Moviefone Blog". Cinematical.com. Retrieved 23 June 2011.
- Maytum, Matt (11 September 2011). "Venice 2011: Michael Fassbender Wins Best Actor for Shame". TotalFilm.com. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
- Nikkhah, Roya (10 September 2011). "Michael Fassbender Wins Best actor at Venice for Sex-Addict role". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 11 September 2011.
- "Oscars 2012: Did Michael Fassbender's Big Part Cost Him a Nom?". Los Angeles Times. 25 January 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
- "Michael Fassbender's Penis Caused Oscar Snub?". The Huffington Post. 26 January 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
- Fleming, Mike. "TOLDJA! Michael Fassbender Commits To Ridley Scott-Directed 'The Counselor'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- Sneider, Jeff (4 September 2012). "Fassbender, Gleeson set for 'Frank'". Variety. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
- Konow, David (5 August 2012). "X-Men: Day of Future Past gets detailed". tgdaily.com. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
- "Sundance: Magnolia Acquires Michael Fassbender's 'Frank'". Variety. 24 January 2014. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
- White, James (21 October 2013). "Michael Fassbender Heads For Slow West". Empire Online. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
- "Kerry superstar Michael Fassbender lands Steve Jobs role in major Hollywood biopic". evoke.ie. 29 January 2014. Archived from the original on 9 February 2015. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
- "Universal Buys Steve Jobs Movie; Boyle and Fassbender Remain – /Film". Slashfilm.com. 25 November 2014. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
- "The 88th Academy Awards". Oscars. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 28 February 2016. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
- "Something SMOLDERING this way comes: Michael Fassbender makes Macbeth sexy in new poster". evoke.ie. 16 May 2014. Archived from the original on 30 May 2016. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
- Keslassy, Elsa. "Marion Cotillard Set to Topline 'MacBeth' Opposite Michael Fassbender". Retrieved 21 August 2013.
- Chitwood, Adam (21 January 2016). "'X-Men: Apocalypse': Michael Fassbender on Working with Oscar Isaac, Becoming a Horseman". Collider. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
- Bullbeck, Pip (14 August 2014). "DreamWorks confirms NZ shoot for Michael Fassbender starrer 'The Light Between Oceans'". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
- D'Alessandro, Anthony (9 February 2016). "Oscar Bait Fassbender-Vikander Film 'The Light Between Oceans' Dated For Next Awards Season". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
- 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.
- "Michael Fassbender". Variety.
- Fleming, Mike (13 February 2015). "Marion Cotillard To Star In 'Assassin's Creed' With Michael Fassbender". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
- Fleming, Jr., Mike (29 April 2014). "Michael Fassbender poised to re-team with 'MacBeth' Helmer on 'Assassin's Creed'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
- Risley, Matt. "Michael Fassbender says Prometheus 2 'is going to happen'". Retrieved 11 November 2013.
- "On the Set for 4/8/16: Ridley Scott & Michael Fassbender Start 'Alien: Covenant', Benedict Cumberbatch Wraps 'Doctor Strange'". SSN Insider. 8 April 2016. Archived from the original on 20 April 2016. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
- "Universal Sets Release Date for Michael Fassbender's 'The Snowman'". The Hollywood Reporter. 18 December 2015. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
- Fleming Jr., Mike (14 June 2017). "Fox Formalizes Simon Kinberg To Helm 'X-Men: Dark Phoenix'; Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy Back, Jessica Chastain In Talks". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
- McNary, Dave (12 February 2018). "Michael Fassbender to Star in 'Kung Fury' Feature Film". Variety. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
- "Arnold Schwarzenegger Joins 'Kung Fury' Feature Film (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
- Dawtrey, Adam (17 February 2012). "Michael Fassbender preps Cuchulain project". Variety. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
- Clarke, Cath (6 May 2014). "Michael Fassbender interview: 'You have to take risks'". timeout.com.
- "Michael Fassbender: the man to take on Brando's mantle". The Guardian. 20 May 2012. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
- "Michael Fassbender: LA is too soft". Belfast Telegraph. 9 May 2012. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
- Elizabeth Day. "Michael Fassbender: the man to take on Brando's mantle | Elizabeth Day | From the Observer | The Observer". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
- "A Michael Fassbender Fan Blog: June 2010". Fassinatingfassbender.com. 4 June 2010. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- 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.
- "Cover Story - Michael Fassbender". Vogue Italia. January 2012. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
- "Pupils starstruck as Michael Fassbender pops in to his old school". Independent.ie. 9 April 2014. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
- "Girlfriend Fears 'Inglourious Basterds' Star". TMZ. 23 March 2010. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
- Zimmerman, Amy; Briquelet, Kate (12 February 2018). "The Shocking Abuse Allegations Against Michael Fassbender". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
- "Michael Fassbender and Zoe Kravitz ‘go public’ with romance." SF Gate. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
- "Michael Fassbender GQ June 2012 interview." GQ Magazine. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
- "Michael Fassbender gushes about girlfriend Alicia Vikander: 'She gives great performances'". Irish Independent.
- Haskell, Rob, "Alicia Vikander: The Danish Girl Star Jumps Out of a Plane and Talks Overnight Fame", Vogue, December 14, 2015.
- On October 14, 2017 they were married in Ibiza, Spain."We've never hidden the fact that we're a couple", Mail Online, 27 September 2016
- "Michael Fassbender claims he did karaoke to Rihanna while the singer was in the room". Metro UK. 14 October 2017. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
- "Michael Fassbender's Portuguese hilltop hideaway:actor's luxe apartment is in one of Lisbon's best addresses, with private pool and garden terrace". Homes & Property. 19 May 2017. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
- "Why Alicia Vikander and Michael Fassbender Are Settling Down in Lisbon, Portugal". Vogue. 8 February 2018. Retrieved 11 February 2018.