If You Haven't Jumped On Board The Michael Fassbender Express Hop On!

Yessir, I am crushin’ on Fassy! Arguably the hottest Irish export since Colin Farrell (and Liam Neeson before), Michael Fassbender is the actor of the moment.

I only recently connected the dots because I’ve been renting DVDs and he’s had roles in several movies I stumbled onto. From the retooled Jane Eyre to X-Men: First Class, I’ve noted how fun it is to watch a leading man who can really act.

Shame got all the buzz at the Film Festivals and deservedly so. While the subject (sex addiction) may have been too risqué for the MPAA, resulting in an NC-17 rating in the US, cinephiles and critics alike have praised the film. British Director Steve McQueen gave Fassbender his big break in the film Hunger. It’s available for streaming on Netflix, along with a few of his earlier films if you’d like to catch up.

Fassbender and McQueen re-teamed for Shame, which saw a big push after premieres at both the Venice and Toronto International Film Festivals last fall. Some of the interracial bloggers had touted the pairing of his character with a black co-worker Marianne, portrayed by Nicole Beharie when it was being shot in NYC before having seeing the finished project.

At the time I skimmed over a description of certain plot elements like his intimacy issues, so it didn’t hold much appeal to me. Indeed, had the film not been handled so expertly it would have been a mess. Also, because Fassbender has been flying under the radar for a decade and transformed his appearance between projects I hadn’t connected the name until now. He had a featured role in 300 that went over most heads. I won’t forget him again.

The movie is…wow…go see it if you can. Ignore the talk about his ahem full frontal nudity. Well….don’t let it distract you. The characters are far more interesting than a moment of titillation. The Blue-Ray release date is April 17th. Here’s a perfectly ‘boring’ clip from Shame.

The Magneto role seems like an extended audition reel for the Broccoli family to cast him as their next James Bond. When I did a little digging I found out Daniel Craig agrees.

“The role is Michael’s,” he replies, without a moment’s hesitation. “Honestly, he has my blessing and I know the man. I’ve met him a few times and he’s just such a brilliant, brilliant actor with a phenomenal presence. If he’s up for it, I think he’d be a perfect fit for the part. You can see him as 007; he has all the right traits. It’s meant to be, really. I’m also a big fan of his work so I’d happily pass the torch to him.”

To Fassbender’s credit he’s diplomatically reminded inquiring minds that Craig hasn’t yet completed the next Bond movie, Skyfall. Looking at this clip you can’t miss the obvious reference.

XMFC Magneto Bar Scene (start at 7:35) –

Revenge sure works up a thirst!

He still has enough of an Irish lilt that recalls my time spent in Dublin 4. Even though Rochester has questionable morals, Fassbender’s portrayal in Jane Eyre proved he’s convincing as a (conflicted) romantic lead. 

I’m looking forward to seeing A Dangerous Method when it’s released on DVD next week where he plays Carl Jung. This is a wonderful reminder of how art and beauty ignites the senses.

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This post isn’t meant to be an extended public relations campaign or fangirl droolfest. I wrote it in reaction to being blown away by his performances. And he is easy on the eyes. Then I went to the fan sites and saw a small but rabid following had been discussing him for years! Some of what I read online on gossip sites was so troubling it put me off from publishing this post – which I had scheduled for January.

Reading that a former girlfriend had filed and dropped domestic abuse charges against him in 2010, for an incident that allegedly occurred in 2009 was enough for an instant and permanent ban.

http://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/45223583.html?page=8#comments

Something didn’t sit well with me though, because aside from the original entry at TMZ being repeated there was no substantiating info. The first place I went to was The Smoking Gun website because they usually have all the dirt and the damning paper trail to back it up, but I couldn’t find anything. That doesn’t necessarily exonerate him and I thought it might be because he isn’t famous. Outside the industry he’s still not a household name.

He has never spoken about, defended himself or denied any allegations. As you see from interviews he’s funny and charming. It’s still problematic so I did a little more research. I found a response to the allegations on one of the message boards at IMDB.

Regarding the case on Fassbender, LA county Steve Cooley continued the investigation after Andrew’s charges were dropped. Two unnamed witnesses were interviewed by victim services of LA county. D.A. Cooley concluded, no evidence appeared in statute to require any investigation against the German born-Irish actor. The actor gave a ICO.8 statement and no charges were filed.

Plus I pulled a domestic violence legal primer that stated: The position of the District Attorneys offices across California is that it is the Prosecutor’s job to proceed with the case to protect the victim, whether or not the “alleged victim” thinks they need protection. The ex in question has engaged in very questionable behavior (I’m not getting into specifics you can Google her), but again the mere possibility there’s any truth to this garners him a huge question mark.

Anyone is capable of doing anything and the absence of “dirt” on people does not mean they aren’t “dirty”. I like the fact people want accountability and thanks to the Internet age news travels faster than ever. There is a responsibility for accuracy as well.  Having dealt with questionable persons just from writing this blog, I can only imagine what havoc could be triggered in real life between two people after a relationship ends. Lest you think I’ve jumped the shark because I find someone appealing, I’ll admit I’m waiting to see if the other shoe will drop. This is where the real vetting and setting boundaries matters. There’s plenty of opportunities for rabid debate if the topic concerns you. Sabotage may have been the goal in mind.

http://articles.nydailynews.com/2009-05-10/gossip/17922794_1_inglourious-basterds-michael-fassbender-michael-cooper

If I’m going to give credence to the one set of inflammatory information, I’m giving weight to it all. Something about Whitney Houston’s death, the frenemies surrounding her and finding out Mel Gibson of all people tried to help got me thinking. Actually Gibson has me thinking how complicated people are. Sean Penn allegedly assaulted Madonna when they were married. If you recall during that period, he was slugging paparazzi left and right. Would anyone expect him to risk his life rescuing people post-Katrina years later?

Considering the extensive paper trail and public behavior of Roman Polanski, R Kelly, Chris Brown and others, I don’t see those traits being displayed by Fassbender. As long as people don’t start becoming apologists for documented crappy behavior. Only time will tell. The celebs can and do have handlers who make unflattering things disappear, but seriously out-of-control people eventually implode. Anyone who thinks the slightest hint of shadiness is a deal-breaker and want to distance themselves should.

There’s another aspect why I decided to publish this instead of keeping my observations private. It has to do with defining potential allies. I’m thinking back to Kevin Costner’s eloquent speech at Houston’s funeral. The wasted opportunities. It coincided with other conversations we’ve been having related to women being invested in destructive circumstances. Not just Houston or Rihanna.

The remake of The Parent Trap was on tv the other day. I’d forgotten how precocious Lyndsey Lohan was before all of her parent’s issues and her own personal demons overtook her career. I can see why some people are still rooting for her to find solid ground. She will be a footnote cautionary tale or a powerful example of survival.

While these are entertainers, for better or worse they still represent us regular folks albeit an extreme example. The pressures and rewards are just heightened. I liken the situation with black women to have even higher stakes than a few industry creatives, but it ties into the larger conversation about how we view and manifest ourselves.

With the close out to this latest Awards season cycle, we’ll see whether the oft-mentioned “change” that’s the persistent dangled carrot offered in exchange for compromise pays off. I can already tell you it won’t. The only thing that will result in long-term growth in opportunities is black women strategizing in ways that support their interests.

So we’re back to repeating why a change in mentality is required. Yes, that includes weight, dating and seeking new social circles. It requires self-care and a plan. Can you imagine what we could accomplish if we charted a specific course of action (implemented under cover of course) for black women being competitive globally?

Most people don’t realize the amount of planning that went into selecting a representative for the Montgomery Bus boycotts for example. It wasn’t a random incident when Rosa Parks resisted. The organizers wanted an attractive, well-spoken woman with certain credentials. A younger unmarried woman who was originally chosen got pregnant and had to be eliminated. Image does matter when you’re operating at a deficit or want to close a gap.

So when I see women debating online about whether more stringent boundaries are necessary in the age of Keeping It Real I shake my head. Their visions of mediocrity do not gel with me. So what does this have to do with writing about the next Hollywood It Boy Sex God and the necessity for careful vetting and positioning?

Someone posted remarks on a message board that are attributed to a conversation where Fassbender may have said this:

“Well physically, I am attracted to darker women, I’m not gonna lie. To me I personally find them beautiful, but of course there’s more to a person than what meets the eye. Everyone has their own uniqueness.

Amongst certain forums people are bending over backwards to eliminate black women from the realm of romantic possibility. I think he’s an equal opportunity dater enjoying his new-found fame. His past girlfriends have included white, Asian and black women. He dated Zoe Kravitz last year and if we’re to believe random Twitter messages he’s been spotted in his London neighborhood spending time with his Shame co-star Beharie.

Keeping this on a professional level, I have to share his little red carpet exchange with Viola Davis. The look on his face is priceless! While Charlize Theron was getting grief for telling Viola she’s beautiful when Ms. Davis wanted to reinforce the “sucks to be a black woman/black actress” meme at the annual Newsweek Oscar Roundtable event, Fassbender wanted to hear what her concerns were. Pal George Clooney tried to hijack the conversation by misdirecting it to “all” women. 

Fassbender’s career break stemmed from McQueen (who is black) hiring him. He struggled for a decade before finally getting his foot in the door. Despite any implied privilege due to race and gender, he still had to compete against other similarly situated males to win. He told himself he was good enough and didn’t give up.

Now he’s developing future projects with industry heavy-hitters and wants to give a diverse creative pool opportunities. So…I’m back to thinking about what Kevin Costner said at Whitney’s funeral and wonder if there’s potential for a mutually beneficial relationship for some enterprising women. If I was Viola I’d have Fassy on speed-dial. Do I need to s-p-e-l-l it out?

We don’t have to play by anybody else’s rules to use our femininity, talent and loyalty to our advantage. It’s way past time for more of us to have first right of refusal. Whoever doesn’t like it can go sit in the corner! And let’s face it, based on his February 2012 GQ interview I’m very tempted to start selling “I Wanna Be Wrecked By Fassy” t-shirts!!

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