- April 02, 1977 (age 43)
- Actor, Film Producer
- Josef Fassbender, Adele Fassbender
Michael Fassbender (born 2 April 1977) is a German-Irish actor of stage and screen whose career includes roles in both independent and blockbuster films.
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 biographical role as IRA activist Bobby Sands in the historical drama Hunger (2008), for which he won a British Independent Film Award for Best Actor. Subsequent roles included the independent film Fish Tank (2009), earning his second BIFA nomination; as a Royal Marines lieutenant in the Quentin Tarantino war film Inglourious Basterds (2009); as Edward Rochester in the 2011 film adaptation of Jane Eyre; as psychiatry innovator Carl Jung in historical drama A Dangerous Method (2011); as a sentient android in the Ridley Scott science fiction film Prometheus (2012); and in the musical comedy-drama Frank (2014) as an eccentric musician loosely inspired by Frank Sidebottom.
In 2011, Fassbender debuted as the Marvel Comics antihero Magneto in the prequel X-Men: First Class; he would go on to share the role with Ian McKellen in X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014). Also in 2011, Fassbender's performance as a sex addict in Shame received critical acclaim. He won 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 slavery epic 12 Years a Slave was similarly praised, earning him his first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. 12 Years a Slave marked Fassbender's third collaboration with Steve McQueen, who also directed Hunger and Shame. In 2013, Fassbender appeared in another Ridley Scott film, The Counselor. In 2015, he portrayed Steve Jobs in the Danny Boyle-directed biopic of the same name, and played Macbeth in Justin Kurzel's adaptation of William Shakespeare's play. For the former, he has received Academy Award, BAFTA, Golden Globe and SAG nominations for Best Actor. As well as acting, Fassbender produced the 2015 western Slow West which he also starred in.
Early life and education
He was born in Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. His mother, Adele, is from Larne, County Antrim, in Northern Ireland, and 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 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. Fassbender served as an altar boy at the church his family attended. He has an older sister, Catherine, who works at the University of California, Davis as a neuropsychologist.
Fassbender and his sister spent summer holidays in Germany, and he speaks German fluently. He attended Fossa National School, and St. Brendan's College, both in Killarney, County Kerry. 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. He dropped out of the Drama Centre and toured with the Oxford Stage Company to perform the play Three Sisters.
Fassbender's first role was that of Burton "Pat" Christenson in Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg's award-winning television miniseries Band of Brothers. He played the character of Azazeal in both series of Hex on Sky One and he also 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 on a stag night with his friends, only to slowly transform into a goat due to wearing a cowbell necklace.
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.
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.
X-Men: First Class
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.
From 2006 to 2008, Fassbender dated the Australian singer Maiko Spencer, they lived together in London. From 2008 to 2009, he dated American model Leasi Andrews. In 2011, Fassbender was in a brief relationship with actress Zoë Kravitz, whom he met on the set of X-Men: First Class. Fassbender confirmed he was seeing Nicole Beharie, his co-star in Shame in 2012, though by early 2013 the couple confirmed they had split. In May 2013, he had a brief relationship with British Olympian Louise Hazel. In September 2013, Fassbender started dating actress and model Mădălina Diana Ghenea, but they split in early 2014. Since 2014, he has been dating Swedish actress Alicia Vikander.