If you’ve seen actor Michael Fassbender in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, Zack Snyder’s 300, Neil Marshall’s Centurion or his unforgettable performances in Steve McQueen’s Hunger and Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank, then you already know that he’s well up for the role of playing Erik Lehnsherr a.k.a. Magneto in Matthew Vaughn’s superhero prequel X-Men: First Class.
The first trailer for the movie hit the internet in a big way this past week and since Fassbender was back in New York City to film Steve McQueen’s follow-up Shame and to do some press for his upcoming role as Rochester in Cary Fukunaga’s adaptation of Jane Eyre, SuperHeroHype sat down with him to talk about his role in the movie as well as his anticipated turn as the Master of Magnetism.
Because he’s been so busy working the last few days, he hadn’t realized his image in the trademark Magneto helmet was on the front page of every cool website, but we were glad to hear that the actor had done his homework on the character even if that didn’t necessarily mean doing an impression of Ian McKellen, who played Magneto in the previous three films. "I haven’t based it on him at all actually, and I hope the fans aren’t going to be disappointed by that, because I know he’s rated as #1 comic villain, well he’s up there anyway," he told us. "I just tried to steep myself in the source material, the comic books, and there’s so much. He’s such a fascinating guy, and how he becomes Magneto is a really interesting journey. The fact that he has been let down so many times by human beings and this distrust that he has. You can see where it’s coming from. Obviously, what was happening in the concentration camps and then he escaped from there with Magda, fell in love with her, then their child got burned and he ended up killing the whole town and she’s like ‘Whoa, this is too heavy for me, I gotta leave.’ So the love of his life left him."
Hearing all of Fassbender’s knowledge about Magneto’s origin, we wondered how much of that was going to be in the movie. At one point, 20th Century Fox was going to do a separate Magneto origins movie, but Fassbender confirmed we’ll only see a little bit of his origin this time around. "We see the stuff that’s happening in the concentration camp, you see that, but you don’t see that relationship (with Magda). I’ve just held that for my own personal use (in developing) the character, so when we meet him at the beginning of this film, he’s definitely a lone wolf. He’s on a mission and he’s uncompromising and then he bumps into Charles, literally collides into him, and then it’s the development of their relationship and really exploring that during the ’60s and the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King an Malcolm X."
Since the rapport between Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in the other "X-Men" movies have played a large part in why they’re so great, we asked Fassbender if he’d been able to develop a similar on-screen chemistry with his own Charles Xavier, James McAvoy. "That was a big draw when I heard that (James McAvoy) was going to be playing Charles Xavier. I thought, ‘That’s really interesting," being a big fan of his and we briefly worked together ten years ago on ‘Band of Brothers.’ I like him a lot. He’s really easy to work with, he’s just a normal practical worker, and we sat down and made sure that the relationship had all the elements that we wanted and that the progression was a good one, that there’s no filler scenes and every scene is there for a reason. We did a lot of writing together with Matthew, each day we’d sit down and make sure the scene was tight and that it was dealing with everything we wanted to deal with, the fact that they’re unsure of each other, sniffing each other, almost like dogs, and then there’s a real respect and liking for each other, and then the relationship fractures."
It may be of interest that following our interview, we went to check out new toys from Hasbro, and sadly, it doesn’t look like the company was given enough time to have any movie-related toys before the movie’s release but you can guarantee that if it does well, we’ll have our first Michael Fassbender as Magneto action figure by year’s end. Fingers crossed!
Look for our full interview with Michael Fassbender over on ComingSoon.net before Jane Eyre comes out on March 11.