Michael the chameleon: from Macbeth to Steve Jobs

– by Giulia Caruso-

From the 6th of January, Italian viewers will see him on the big screen walking in Macbeth’s shoes, while later that month, starting from the 21st, he will impersonate Apple guru Steve Jobs .Stanislaskij    itself, would  have liked Michael Fassbender, known for his eclectic nature, for the intelligence he carries across in every role and for his ability to fully devote himself, heart and soul, to his characters, by “wearing their skin”, as he often stated. A thorough and intense method he acquired as a student at the  Drama Centre London.

fass copertina

He almost starved himself to death to interpret Bobby Sands, in Hunger (2008), directed by Steve Mc Queen ; he lent his body to the desperate erotomaniac protagonist Shame (2011)  and finally, he put on the ice-cold mask of the slave-owner Edwin Hepps in   12 years a slave  , directed once again by Mc Queen, who enabled him to achieve international success.


foto Todd Pitt                                              M.Fassbender- (foto  Todd Pitt)              M.Fassbender- (Photo by Todd Pitt)

On the eve of his forties, Michael Fassbender, Irish with German heritage, has a long list of movies and international prizes to his credit, including the Coppa Volpi at “La Biennale” in Venice.

Born in Germany but raised in his mother’s town, Killarney, in Kerry, where his parents own a restaurant, 17-year-old Michael had already made up his mind about what he wanted to be when he grew up. As soon as he could, he would escape to London to attend acting school. After paying his dues, he encountered directors of the likes of Quentin Tarantino    Ridley Scott  , David Cronenberg and, finally, Steve  McQueen.

His career may be described a veritable Odyssey of the body in its most dramatic meaning: from a body depriving itself from food in the name of an ideal (Hunger), to the body of someone so hungry for sex, that he would drag himself from bed to bed (Shame), to the body of the tragic hero, like Stelions in  300- (a fully-digital movie directed by Zack Snyder) and to the body flogged by the icy winds of Machbeth’s gloomy Scotland.



It is in indeed with  Macbeth, by the Australian director Justin Kurzel, that the actor proves his vis drammatica, well beyond average classical Shakespearean acting. ” I interpreted Macbeth imagining a man suffering from post-traumatic stress”, he stated the day after the presentation of the movie at the Edinburgh festival in October. Not to mention the stress that must have marked his performance, when he had to shoot at the fury of the elements’ mercy, in the island of Skye, off the Scottish coast, in a “bloody brilliant” adaptation of the Shakespearian tragedy, as The Economist defined it. He is also the reason why we can absolve the director for some scenes reminiscent of Braveheart, a more commercial  movie by Mel Gibson.

From Macbeth to Steve Jobs is  quite a quantum leap, but once again, icy-eyes Michael not not fail to excel when challenged. In the US, the critics applauded his interpretation, praised as the best of his career.  The Guardian,  has even defined him as exceptional, while it scolded the director Danny Boyle, stating that “it’s Boyle’s best film for years, however it will mostly appeal to Apple geeks”. But what does Michael Fassbender actually think of Steve Jobs? “I did not know much about him” he admitted candidly. “But I don’t believe he was as insensitive as many described him”. Unlike the one interpreted by Ashton Kutcher  in 2013, his version of Steve Jobs seems to be very distant from the real man, especially in terms of physical appearance. Fassbender himself explained why to Time: “We decided to take a portrait, not a picture, which is why I was not supposed to look like him, our objective was seizing his spirit.”

Translation by Serena Tiburtini

Proofreading by Antoinette d’Arbela

jobs-ape                                    Steve Jobs (Universal pictures)





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