X-Men Apocalypse is sure to be the next blockbuster in this film franchise, and star Michael Fassbender, now starring for the third time as the villain Magneto, is one reason.
As we approach X-Men Apocalypse‘s much-hyped debut in theaters this Friday, here are five things you may not have known about Fassbender.
- Michael Fassbender is of Mixed German and Irish ancestry. Born in Heidelberg, Germany, Fassbender’s mother is Irish, and his father German, according to the Irish Times. They moved back to Ireland when he was two, but Fassbender and his sister returned to Germany almost every summer. His parents own a popular restaurant, the West End House, in Killarney, Ireland.
In an interview with the Telegraph, Fassbender revealed that his mother is a relative of Michael Collins, one of the key figures in the Irish war for independence.
“We’re only going by my grandfather’s word, but – I believe it,” he said. Fassbender once played Collins at an Edinburgh Festival, the Telegraph stated.
2. Fassbender’s first major breakthrough was in Steven Spielberg’s World War II HBO miniseries, Band of Brothers. According to Moviepilot, Fassbender starred in the award-winning miniseries with Donnie Walhberg (of New Kids On The Block, later on the hit TV show Blue Bloods), and David Schwimmer (Friends).
Fassbender played Sgt. Burton “Pat” Christenson, and one of the men under him was James McAvoy — who now plays Fassbender’s counterpart in X-Men Apocalypse, Charles Xavier.
3. Fassbender starved himself to play one of his groundbreaking roles. After starring in 300, the hit 2006 film about the Persian Wars that was filmed to replicate a comic book feel, Fassbender went on to play Bobby Sands, a member of the Irish Republican Army who starved himself to death, in Hunger.
To prepare for the role, he told The Guardian, Fassbender restricted himself to 600 calories a day — a fact which “means he will be taken seriously from now on.”
The events involving Sands, who starved himself to death in prison as a protest against the British government, happened when Fassbender was just 11 years old. Sands and his men “refused to wear prison uniforms, going naked except for blankets,” and when the British government still refused to listen, they began their hunger strikes. Sands, the father of one child, died at the age of 27 in 1981.
“It was a coming-of-age situation,” he recalls. “It stuck in my psyche.”
He won a British Independent Film Award for his performance. Hunger also won awards at the Venice and Toronto film festivals.
4. Michael Fassbender starred in the Academy Award-winning 12 Years A Slave. The film was about an African-American living free in New York who was kidnapped and forced to work on plantations in the South before he could regain his freedom.
Fassbender played Southern plantation owner Edwin Epps, who “owned” the main character, Solomon Northup, until cotton worm forces Epps to “lease” his slaves to a rival plantation owner.
Fassbender was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal.
"I like characters that are flawed because we all are." — Michael Fassbender pic.twitter.com/BuFZ3Fieyv— ㅤ (@ClNEMAH) May 22, 2016
5. Fassbender played Steve Jobs in the 2015 biopic movie. Primarily centered around Jobs’ relationship with his estranged daughter, Fassbender starred as the neurotic creator of Apple Inc. The film begins in 1984, where Jobs was extremely nervous prior to the introduction of the Apple Mac. It then takes viewers through the company’s firing of Jobs, and then their rehiring of him and Apple’s subsequent rebirth as a major player in personal computers that continues to this day.
“Fassbender gives an entirely fluent and commanding performance,” The Guardian said in their review, and he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor. He lost to Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revevant.
X-Men Apocalypse, starring Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, and Jennifer Lawrence, opens in theaters this Friday. Check local listings for time and location.
[Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images]