• Golden Globe Awards

Michael Fassbender

“I studied Ashton Kutcher”. The humorous quip about how he prepared for the title role in Steve Jobs (by watching Kutcher’s earlier take on the Apple co-founder) underscores the playful nature behind one of the most hard-working and intense actors today.Whether playing one of Shakespeare’s great tragic figures in Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth or the late tech visionary in Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs, Michael Fassbender’s intensity on the screen belies the fact that in person, he is as witty as he is charming.The German-Irish actor’s commanding talents this year are once again showcased in Steve Jobs, a story in three acts in which he delivers Aaron Sorkin’s long yet sharp lines with uncanny aplomb. Fassbender’s portrayal of Jobs, which earned him a nomination for best performance by an actor in a motion picture-drama, is all the more remarkable considering his admission: “I am a slow learner and so it was a lot of hours just learning lines, to be honest. And if we weren’t rehearsing, I was at home learning lines. Then when we started filming act one and when we finished doing act one, I would go home and learn act two.”Fassbender also displayed his lighthearted side when he denied that he lived an almost monk-ish life when he was shooting Steve Jobs. “I drank and I had sex,” he cracked conceding, “I was just working and working. So basically, it was 17-, 18-hour-days of what you need to do. I needed to just get those lines and find those rhythms so yeah, it was pretty solitary for those months.”For Fassbender, it all began when he was 17 and a student at the secondary school of St. Brendans College in Killarney, Ireland. He attended a drama and comedy class run by Donie Courtney, to whom he is grateful to this day and acknowledges at interviews for turning him on to acting. Fassbender was considering becoming a musician but he realized that he wasn’t good enough as a guitarist.The aspiring actor left Ireland and enrolled at the Drama Centre London where he was a few years ahead of Tom Hardy. After dropping out and surviving a period of auditions while bartending and other jobs, Fassbender started landing roles, including 300 and the HBO miniseries, Band of Brothers.The newcomer’s obvious talent, good looks and charisma soon led to major breaks, including Hunger (one of several films he would do with director Steve McQueen, a pivotal collaborator in the actor’s career) and Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. By coincidence, a few years earlier, he produced, directed and acted in a stage version of Tarantino’s iconic film, Reservoir Dogs.Fassbender has been on a roll since then, winning one good role after another: the X-Men series, A Dangerous Method, Shame (where his depiction of a man struggling with sexual addiction earned him the first of his three Golden Globe nods) and 12 Years a Slave (which made him score his first Oscar nomination).Fassbender’s upcoming films are diverse and promise to further tap his acting gifts: an Untitled Terrence Malick Project, Trespass Against Us, The Light Between Oceans, X-Men Apocalypse, Assassin’s Creed, Alien: Covenant and The Snowman.These films will probably yield more unforgettable characters by Michael. What’s interesting is that, no matter how intense and memorable the performances are, Michael tends to forget some details about filming these movies. He simply moves on to the next project and concentrates on the current role he has at hand.So when Fassbender has to do interviews about movies, sometimes many months later, he admits to forgetting this or that about a role, no matter how indelible his performance, as in Steve Jobs. Breaking into a smile and joking again, Fassbender quips that maybe someday, he’ll remember everything. He says: “Who knows, maybe it will come back when I am at an old people’s home and be dressing up as all these different characters?”