Michael Fassbender may be the ultimate warrior. At least on screen... In Steven Spielberg's Band of Brothers, he took part in World War II. In 300, he played a Spartan soldier at the Battle of Thermopylae. This month's Inglourious Basterds sees Fassbender returning to the Big One (as British film-critic-turned-undercover-agent Lt. Archie Hicox). And soon genre fans will watch the Irish actor catapult back to the post-Civil War era in the supernatural western comic-book adaptation Jonah Hex. We caught up with Fassbender at this weekend's Basterds junket in LA, where he told us (and a room full of our fellow journos) about his role in the hotly anticipated Hex. Hit the jump to read what he had to say.
"I sort of developed this character," said Fassbender of his role in Jonah Hex as the villainous Burke, "and I kind of pushed. I'll see how far I pushed it. I was sort of John Malkovich's right-hand man. I had this idea about the character: he's kind of psychotic, he gets his kicks in kind of perverted ways. I didn't want to make it obvious, like you've seen it before, but I didn't know where to go with it. Then we were doing wardrobe, and Michael Wilkinson – who I worked with before, on 300, doing the wardrobe – he had this three-piece suit pulled out for me, which actually was very green. I'm playing this Irish guy, and I said, ‘Look man, you gotta take the green down. I can't go back home. They'd kill me.' So it was this faded-down green three-piece suit. I was going through hats and I picked up a bowler hat and I put it on and looked in the mirror and thought, ‘Oh, this is like Clockwork Orange.' So I thought, ‘I'm going to go along that thing physically… sort of Clockwork Orange meets Frank Gorshin's Riddler, with a Kerry accent.' The guys in prosthetics and [makeup artist] Christian Tinsley developed this tattoo thing, which started here and goes all the way down my torso and along my arms. So really the people around you that are doing all these things kind of do the work for you, if you're just open to it and see it, so I kind of went along the vein of that. It became a really fun sort of character actually.
Regarding the extent of his involvement in Hex's action sequences, Fassbender remarked, "I try and do as much of that as they'll let me. I do sort of enjoy inhabiting that sort of physical role. And it's just good fun really – running around and jumping about the place. So yeah I did quite a bit of it. But when we got together with the stunt guys, they were just fantastic. They sort of watched both Josh and [my] fighting styles. They took us down to the dojo and saw exactly in what way we moved, so then, from there, they kind of developed the fight between us, which was great. Jonah is this sort of slugger – if he hits you once you're in big trouble. My guy is sort of dancing around, walking inside the pocket, and his weapon of choice is a knife. So it was really cool. They sort of developed this fight and then brought us down there, and then we went through it and we did pretty much most of it."