It's a good time to be Michael Fassbender. Playing a robot in Prometheus, director Ridley Scott's new semi-prequel to his legendary sci-fi movie Alien, Fassbender has been wowing the critics in advance of the film going on general release.
'It's going to be a whole new world within the Alien family,' Fassbender told Metro Weekly. 'It's a totally different area that was overlooked by the characters in the original Alien films. They didn't realise what was at play in the greater scheme of things.'
Fassbender plays the human like android David, who comes on board the ship Prometheus as they search for humanity's origins.
'That's a big theme: Man's ambition to get information from our creators and also challenge them.'
The last twelve months have seen Fassbender appear (and get beaten up) in Haywire, then star opposite Keira Knightley in A Dangerous Method and in the film that wowed critics the most he played a desperate sex addict in the Steve McQueen directed Shame.
The 35-year-old carried off the Best Actor award for Shame at Venice Film Festival, but was criminally overlooked at the Oscars. 'I try not to take the awards too seriously,' he said philosophically after the snub. 'You try not to get wrapped up in the idea of winning something – like: "What does that statue really mean? Oh, I must've achieved something good here because I've got this statue.' But after a while it does penetrate you. You start to think about it and go: 'Well, I hope I win.'
Refreshingly, the actor is candid about his desire for the golden accolade. 'For sure. Absolutely. It is impossible not to. You start off at the beginning and you go: 'It doesn't mean anything. It's a joke. Keep it light.' But it starts to seep into you. So then, when I found out I wasn't nominated, of course I was upset. You're disappointed. But that's my ego and my vanity. So you go: 'That's OK. You have to keep that under control anyway.' And then you move on.'
Fassbender currently lives in London, where he moved after studying theatre in Cork. His ascent to stardom was sturdy but not meteoric. In 2001 a role on the World War II television drama Band of Brothers convinced him he had made it, but it turned out he didn't win another big part for 12 months.
'That was a good lesson for me, because I was like: 'OK, cool. The career is starting off here.' And then nothing – for a year. That taught me not to spend all my money,' he explains.
That awareness might explain his back to back film schedule and work ethic. 'After Prometheus, that was six films in 20 months and I thought: 'OK, I need to take a break now and go back to reality, in the real world and draw from that.'
In his personal life Fassbender recently admitted that he's dating Shame's Nicole Beharie as he prepares to star alongside Brad Pitt in Twelve Years a Slave (his third film with Hunger and Shame director Steve McQueen). It's a creative collaboration unlike any other in film in the last ten years, and it seems certain to underline just how talented and versatile the Irish star actually is.
Trailer for “Prometheus”:
Teaser trailer of Fassbender’s character David: