Muse and Musings of the Week: Michael Fassbender and Shame

He smokes, he’s wild, he’s a heart-breaker lady killer without apology, he inspires ramblings that would make Anais Nin blush, and has an eye for something dangerous in his method. He is Michael Fassbender. Perfectly imperfect in so many ways. Never was admiring a bad boy this good because his acting is out of this world. Do I really have to wait another month for his next two movies? Hugh Jackman is my favorite but he seems so perfect that sometimes I wonder if he is real? I know he is but in being so good Hugh Jackman feels like he exists in another plane of existence. Why? Because Hugh is too good to be true but he is. And life is gritty, and stark, and even dark at times. So when Michael Fassbender appears he is just as exceptionally handsome but you can believe him as real. He just feels real to me.

Someone else in the tumblr universe mentioned this in respect to Fassbender the Ginger’s post about the oversexed fans and their ramblings. I totally agree. Sensuality is not about sex. It is defined by an awakening of the senses: sight, hearing, touch, sound, scent. Perfume and fragrances that awake you are sensual. Beautifully prepared food is also sensual. The notion of sensuality in an actor is the degree of believability in their more passionate scenes and the level of comfort in their own skin. A person who is comfortable in their sexuality in a quiet confident way is sensual. It is not about sex. It is about being able to rest within oneself and acknowledge that sexuality is the opposite side of the coin to spirituality. To me, Michael Fassbender is sensual in many ways because he brings his whole self to a role – his voice, his eyes, his movements, etc.

Sexuality is what it is. It is sex, attraction, physical connection, and hormones.Anyone can be a sex symbol. Not everyone can be sensual. People who are not comfortable in their own bodies may react to a person who is in tune with their sensuality in an intense way. They can’t give themselves permission to own it and so they go haywire and project their repression onto someone who doesn’t repress that side of them. What makes the fantasy postings so disrespectful is that they reduce a person to a body part. That’s not cool. Shame is bringing out fangs in the fandom. Maybe its the latent puritanical streak in some places. I don’t have an answer. All I will say is that consider this: Channing Tatum was a male stripper. He can’t act to the level that a Tom Hardy or Michael Fassbender can. Why not redirect fantasies to someone like him? Consider this also – Kim Kardashian is famous for a sex tape. Projecting fantasies on to her are understandable. To mix someone like Fassbender into that mix is insulting, disgusting, and sickening.

Sure I may get hate mail for this one. But I am standing my ground. He does not have sex in Shame. He plays a role about the destructive journey of a sex addict. Kim Kardashian DID have sex on film and Channing Tatum WAS a male stripper. The later two delved in that seedy place. Michael Fassbender and Tom Hardy are actors and artists and for what they bring to the screen, deserve the acknowledgment of that.

So I’m with Fassbender the Ginger on her thoughts about the overtly libidinous ramblings that some Fassy fans have been participating in. While I agree that Michael Fassbender has had some steamy roles to reduce him to just that is disrespectful and diminishes his talent. I am not just saying this for him but if the Hugh Jackman fandom were posting relentless lustful fantasies about him I would be equally dismayed. It would be nice if people would look past Shame and actually see the harrowing story underneath.

There are many discussions about Michael Fassbender on his acting ability and the level of discipline he brings to a role. This is not only professional but it is above and beyond what most movie stars are willing to go through.

Reality TV has taken over and people like Snooki and The Situation think they are actors! Its too much. Even movie stars don’t always act. Where are the Meryl Streeps or the Marlon Brandos? Few and far between. The best talent in people’s minds seem to be what they see on Glee. Unfortunately, that’s not the best it can get. Now that Michael Fassbender is quickly ascending to the A-list its a chance for American audiences to be reminded what acting is all about. Most of the great actors are older or belong to another generation. With his youth and good looks, someone like Michael Fassbender brings back what the young Marlon Brando brought – ability, sex appeal, good looks, and a presence that lights up the screen like nothing else. Another fan on IMDB said that Michael Fassbender could play a cafeteria worker for 5 minutes on Glee and outshine Matthew Morrison without trying. That’s why America needs to see someone like Michael Fassbender and Tom Hardy. So they realize that they have been fed a diet of entertainment that is anemic and empty. If more people demand quality then we will get quality.

The Shame of it all. It sometimes takes an extensive foreign film festival ticket collection to find rare movie gems that actually display the art and soul of cinematography. For those of you who loved the X-Men and Jane Eyre there is the new Steve McQueen movie Shame that hits American theaters on December 2, 2011. Its star is the talented Irish-German actor Michael Fassbender who played Magneto. Fassbender has been described as the new Marlon Brando and his range is impressive. What is a Shame is that many believe the dark voyeuristic story of a passion addicted Manhatten yuppie will be too much for American audiences. That’s a shame because if it is a social critique it is a compelling tale of the loss of connection in a harried busy world and the meaningless tryst that only deepen the void. Fassbender was brilliant as Irish MP Bobby Sands in 2008’s Hunger which was also a film by Steve McQueen. What is the biggest shame of all is the rumor that the powers that be are pushing Clooney in the Oscar race for his role in Descendants. Clooney is also a fine actor but Shame goes beyond the obvious R rating scenes to reveal the despair of loneliness and how meaningless random hook-ups can get. Addiction is no joke and one thing about Fassbender’s character is that he is in a chronic misery that he tries to find relief for through the strange encounters all over New York.

Its inevitable that people are going to go all Anais Nin on their blogs about how attractive Fassy is. While its understandable in younger fans this is not an age issue. Michael Fassbender possesses the kind of geometric symmetry and gait that increases a person’s attractive quotient. The truth is there is more to him that his looks. I stress this because I’m one of those people who has seen good looks fade and expose nothing underneath. Fassbender seems different and in my opinion too much focus on his physical state could lead to the double edge sword of sex symbol status. For me that means that people don’t take you so seriously and you are lumped in the same category as the pretty boys of the moment. Maybe I am too conservative for wanting people to discuss his method instead of how his leather jacket looks makes them feel dizzy. Perhaps being in awe of the way he sacrificed to be Bobby Sands in self starvation of his art is what attracts me to him. Not so much the photogenic pictures that are blogged daily on the Internet.

On a side note – Michael Fassbender has become a muse. No matter what is assigned to me at the MFA level I can write and imagine him playing my character in the narrative. That chameleon ability makes it so easy. When I tumblr for the Fassy the words tumble out of my pen as I describe his work. The funny thing is I can’t review his commercial films. I’ve tried to do X-Men: First Class but the words stall and the muse goes away. The only way I can generate any literary statements about Fassy is when I write only on his Indie work. So once Prometheus is out there won’t be a review on this site and ditto for RoboCop. The actor provokes the wordsmith muse. The movie star cannot.

Photo courtesy of X-Men: First Class

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