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Michael Fassbender Biography

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Birth Name: Michael Fassbender
Born: 04/02/1977
Birth Place: Germany

Born on April 2 1977 in Heidelberg, Germany, Fassbender was raised by his German father, Josef, a chef, and Irish mother, Adele. When he was two years old, Fassbender's parents decided to relocate the family to Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland, where they ran a restaurant called the West End House. Fassbender knew early on of family lore which touted his relation on his mother's side to Irish revolutionary, Michael Collins, though his parent's strongly condemned violence of any kind. At 17, the shiftless Fassbender, who played the guitar, accordion and piano, weighed becoming a guitarist in a heavy metal band, though at the time he really had no idea what he wanted to do with his life. While attending St. Brendan's, a secondary school in Killarney, Fassbender saw a posted notice for a comedy and drama class with teacher Donie Courtney. Finally with some direction, he took the class, which led to a stage production of Quentin Tarantino's "Reservoir Dogs" (1992), which Fassbender directed and starred as the jabbering Mr. Pink.

Fassbender next attended the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, only to bail during his third year after becoming fed up with the institution's emphasis on the purity of language. He appeared in a tour of Anton Chekhov's "Three Sisters" with the Oxford Stage Company, only to find himself loading boxes in a factory after the show finished. Following some serious questions about his life's direction, Fassbender quit the box job, picked up a bartending gig and began to audition again. He restarted his career after landing a three episode arc on short lived British series "Hearts and Bones" (BBC, 2000-01). Fassbender followed by landing the role of Sgt. Burton 'Pat' Christenson in the multi-award winning miniseries "Band of Brothers" (HBO, 2001), a ten part exploration of comradeship which followed U.S. Army Airborne paratroopers from their training in 1942 through the end of World War II. While the role served as a high profile introduction to Hollywood, Fassbender returned to London for a succession of television jobs, including "Gunpowder, Treason & Plot " (BBC 2004), a miniseries that detailed the reign of Mary, Queen of Scotts (Clémence Poésy), and a five episode stint on the popular crime-drama series "Murphy's Law" (BBC 2003-07).

In the supernatural drama "Hex" (Sky One, 2004-05), Fassbender found himself playing as Azazeal, the seductive leader of a band of fallen angels who indulge in sex, drugs and human sacrifice. The following year, he appeared in the theatrical production of "Allegiance" (2006) at the Edinburgh Festival, portraying his probable ancestor, Michael Collins. Meanwhile, American audiences were reacquainted with Fassbender after his portrayal of Spartan Warrior Stelios in the box-office bonanza "300" (2006), a comic-inspired historical epic that broke new ground and achieved cult status with fans. More importantly, the movie opened new doors for the actor. Fassbender next appeared in François Ozon's Edwardian melodrama "Angel" (2007), playing the frustrated painter, Esme, who is caught in the middle of a love triangle. But it was his intense portrayal of IRA prisoner Bobby Sands in "Hunger" (2008), which depicted the real life hunger strike in 1981 at the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland, that elevated his game. For the role, he dropped some 35 pounds off his six foot frame, thanks to crash diet of berries, nuts and sardines, while filing the difficult piece left him emotionally exhausted. The end performance, however, was nothing short of astonishing, netting him several international Best Actor Awards.

Fassbender again delivered the goods with "Fish Tank" (2009), in which he played a working-class man who becomes a parental figure to a troubled 15-year-old girl (Katie Jarvis), only to push their bond to an inappropriate level. Fassbender next joined the ensemble cast for Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds" (2009), playing British cinephile turned resistance fighter, Lt. Archie Hicox, after originally pursuing the larger, showier role of Col. Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz). Fassbender studied tapes of British actor George Sanders to replicate the heightened language and movement of that era, which translated into a seamless, effortless performance. Fassbender next led a fractured group of Roman soldiers in the year 117 A.D. with "Centurion" (2010), then starred in the comic book adaptation of "Jonah Hex" (2010), playing the psychopathic right-hand man of a plantation owner (John Malkovich) who has sworn vengeance on the titular disfigured bounty hunter (Josh Brolin). He followed up with a banner year in 2011, playing a young Magneto in the prequel "X-Men: First Class" and starring opposite Mia Wasikowska in an adaptation of "Jane Eyre." But his greatest acclaim came with his performance in Steve McQueen's "Shame" (2011), in which he played a sex-addicted New York yuppie unable to balance his life with his uncontrollable urges. The NC-17 film earned a deal of press for its unflinching sexuality, but nonetheless earned widespread critical praise. He next played famed Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung to Viggo Mortensen's Sigmund Freud in David Cronenberg's historical drama, "A Dangerous Method" (2011), which also starred Keira Knightley as Sabina Spielrein, a troubled psychoanalyst who comes between the two men.

Fassbender next appeared in Steve Soderbergh's hard-hitting espionage thriller "Haywire" (2012), which featured a particularly intense scene where his assassin character attempts to kill the formidable heroine played by real-life martial arts expert Gina Carano. That summer, he portrayed the refined and inquisitive android David in Ridley Scott's highly anticipated return to science fiction, "Prometheus." In 2013, Fassbender collaborated once more with two of his favorite directors, working again with Scott for the Cormac McCarthy-scripted crime drama "The Counselor" and reuniting with McQueen for "12 Years a Slave," where he offered up a fierce performance as a sadistic plantation owner who clashes with Chiwetel Ejiofor's resilient lead character. Fassbender next starred in the quirky indie comedy "Frank" (2014), in which he played a musician who never took off the giant papier-mache cartoon head he wore onstage; the Sundance favorite, co-starring Domhnall Gleeson, was inspired by the life of Chris Sievey, a British post-punk musician who created the cartoonish alter ego Frank Sidebottom. Fassbender's second role of 2014 came in the blockbuster "X-Men: Days of Future Past" (2014), a time-travel story that also featured his older Magneto counterpart, Ian McKellen. The Bryan Singer film garnered some of the best reviews in the history of the franchise.