Currently starring in Steve Jobs, Michael Fassbender is well known for several iconic movies. However, he may never have gone as far as he has if he hadn’t spotted some writing on the wall — the urinal wall, to be exact.
Fassbender is a talented Irish actor who has risen to fame via several critically-acclaimed movies, including the 2008 film Hunger, where he played Irish Republican Bobby Sands, who led the inmates of a Northern Irish prison in a hunger strike.
He has also starred in several popular movies, including, among several others, Inglourious Basterds (2009), X-Men: First Class (2011), Shame (2011), Prometheus (2012), and another iconic movie, 12 Years a Slave (2013). His most recent roles are the part of Steve Jobs himself in the biopic of the same name and the Shakespearean epic Macbeth.
However, according to Michael Fassbender, 38, he would never have made it as far as he has if he hadn’t made a visit to a certain men’s room around 20 years ago while waiting to be called in for an audition.
He was recently interviewed by T Magazine, the New York Times style magazine, and shared the story of his inspiration for their latest issue.
Fassbender was waiting for an audition at a drama school and answered the call of nature. While in the urinal, he saw the words “Hi, Cookie!” written on the wall. Seeing that brief message changed the way he was going to handle his audition and apparently this was for the better.
“Those words were staring at me, as I stood there. I had just finished playing the Cook in a production of ‘Mother Courage,’ and I had done it with a Scottish accent. Cook; cookie. ‘I’ll do the Iago monologue in a Scottish accent,’ I decided, even though that wasn’t how I had prepared it… It’s funny.
“I haven’t thought about that for years and years. I’m not saying what I saw was a sign or anything. But maybe I did sort of take it that way, and that helped me.”
According to Irish Central, Michael Fassbender said that despite the successful audition, he still endured another 10 years of rejections and was forced to work as a bartender until he finally landed his role as hunger striker Bobby Sands in the multi-award-winning film Hunger.
When asked about his years as a bartender, Fassbender did say he enjoyed the work, but “God, I really, really, really wanted to act.”
Since then, he has gone from one great role to the next, including his latest role in Steve Jobs.
— T Magazine (@tmagazine) September 14, 2015
Fassbender was also asked how he prepares for a role, and he said that he goes over the words “again and again and again. Hundreds of times.”
He said that it is more of a doing than a thinking thing. He already has thoughts about the characters he is to play, he learns about them, but that this is not necessarily where the majority of the work gets done.
Steve Jobs director Danny Boyle said that Fassbender carried the difficult lead role effortlessly.
“On-set, when the camera’s not on, he’s totally easy, graceful, funny and careless — apparently careless — and then, he turns on a sixpence and delivers this absolutely ferocious level of concentration and intensity. I’ve never seen that kind of accuracy before, of being able to just drop into character so instantly.”
He added that in Fassbender there is a “quality of absolute charm being ferociously applied to the pursuit of perfection in a work.”
For those who enjoyed Prometheus back in 2012, the good news is that the sequel, Prometheus 2, is on the cards for 2017, with yet another stunning performance no doubt by Michael Fassbender.
— Peter Sciretta (@slashfilm) September 14, 2015
Born of a German father and an Irish mother, Michael Fassbender may have been inspired by a few words on a urinal wall, but his work since then has proved both his acting versatility and his great talent.
[Photo: Michael Fassbender by Ian Gavan / Getty Images Entertainment]