The Actor’s Actor: Michael Fassbender


Hugh Jackman is my favorite actor. Ever since Paperback Hero, an early pre-Hollywood fame movie in his native Australia he has been my celebrity hero. There is alot to admire with Jackman and I always see any film he is in. This is one fan whose always going to cheer on the Australian superstar. Yet now, I’ve chosen Michael Fassbender as my top actor’s actor. Why? There is something special in Fassbender just like Hugh but also a kind of changeling ability that sets him apart.

My first thought when I first saw Michael Fassbender in Fish Tank was: bad boy, dangerous, dark knight type, and this was way before I saw any old episodes of Hex. Yet I didn’t recognize him as the young Magneto because he shifted into that role 100%. Then I saw Jane Eyre and it dawned on me: this guy is a chameleon. Later still, I saw him play the guitar and sing and his dance moves in Fish Tank and Wedding Belles shows a physicality that is natural.

Do I still think Fassy is a bad boy. I sure do. But that is not the allure of him. For me, its his talent which is something raw and harnessed at the same time. His eyes are intense. They are a smiling pair of baby blues but there is a “je ne sais quoi” that compels you to look. This guy is intense without being too serious. A range of depth appears to be his calling card and a trademark. Marlon Brando has been returned to us in the form of Michael Fassbender. Yes, that is it. He is the genuine article. Not the also ran reproduction of the Hollywood star machine. Fyi – je ne sais quoi is French for “I don’t know what it is”. It hints at a mystique (mystery not the X-Men character).

So why have I chosen Michael Fassbender. His acting takes me to another world. I get lost in the story. I’m somewhat transported to where he is. There is no distance between the audience and the screen. He pulsates and exudes a virility in his acting that you feel you’re in it with him. Maybe that is why Steve McQueen said – you can believe Michael. Who can resist him when he displays his singing, German speaking ability, and stares at the camera with THOSE eyes. If the eyes are the mirror to the soul its the conduit to an intense intimacy he can draw in with the audience. You bond to his work.

And I look forward to much more believable roles for many years to come.

Photo courtesy of WSJ

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