It’s always a treat to hear an actor talk about their craft, especially when they're as hilariously candid as Michael Fassbender, who describes his performance as Magneto in “X-Men: Days of Future Past” as “some dude shouting.”
Speaking in Toronto for TIFF Soirée, the annual fundraiser that precedes the Toronto International Film Festival, Fassbender reacted to footage of his own work shown during a career retrospective moderated by the Festival’s artistic director, Cameron Bailey.
“I don’t actually like that performance there, to be honest," Fassbender said, after having watched the clip from "X-Men: Days of Future Past." "I just think it’s me shouting. It’s just like some dude shouting.” The actor scowled and flapped his arms to emphasize the ridiculousness of his performance.
However, Fassbender was kinder about his work as the android, David, in Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus,” telling the TIFF audience that he’d modeled his performance after rock star David Bowie’s androgynous allure and on “the economy of movement" of diver Greg Louganis’s walk, which he found “funny and mesmerizing.”
Known as he is for his many villainous turns, Fassender suggested his secret superpower is power napping. "Having been a mutant with superhero powers, that is my real superhero power. I could do it now. I could just lie down on the stage, if it goes that way,” he told Bailey. “If we can have a super-movie featuring a guy who throws boomerangs, surely there's room for a power-napper.”
The actor also maintained that shooting Marvel movies is a relative breeze, as “he might shoot two pages of dialogue a day.” He compared the "ease" of making superhero movies to the grueling task of shooting a 23-minute one-take scene on the set of a Steve McQueen’s 2008 IRA drama, “The Hunger.”
The actor explained that it took nearly to months to learn the film’s now classic one-take scene, but that Director McQueen didn’t tell him and co-star Liam Cunningham that it would be a single take until the day of the shoot. He reminisced that McQueen “ran the whole 23 minutes and in four takes we were done.” He added that the film’s producers wanted to shoot more footage, but McQueen refused. “It was about 12:30 in the afternoon and that was it. We all went home.”
In response to an audience question about his most difficult movie, Fassbender said that he “considered maiming himself” to get out of the lead in Aaron Sorkin’s 2015 “Steve Jobs” biopic. He explained that the script was too dense for him because he’s such a slow learner. "I remember telling my driver, 'If I put my arm in the door, you should slam it. It should cause a break and it should get me out of this gig.'"
Fortunately for us, Fassbender listened to his father and his agent, and followed through on the role, which earned him 2016 Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
“X-Men: Apocalypse,” co-starring Fassbender as Magneto, is coming to Blu-Ray and DVD on October 4th. He also stars in "Assassin's Creed," releasing December 21, and is reprising his role as David in Ridley Scott’s “Alien: Covenant,” which hits theaters on August 4, 2017.