Michael Fassbender Fronts British GQ February 2014
During his sit down with the publication, the 36-year-old actor chatted about his reaction to taking on his role in "Inglourious Basterds" and shared his insights on his character in "12 Years a Slave."
Highlights from Mr. Fassbender's interview are as follows. For more, be sure to pay a visit to British GQ!
On becoming Edwin Epps:
“He is a monster, but he too is a man. As hard as it is to believe, I had sympathy for him, despite his actions. I had this primal feeling that what we do to each other affects us, and that goes for both ends of the whip, if you like. I wanted to bring that part of Epps out to where the audience could recognize themselves, even if just for a second. So then it doesn’t become so comfortable to keep his monstrosity at arm’s length. Bring him closer and it’s more effective. To force the audience into recognizing the human being, the ﬂesh and blood and brain behind the horror. Where does such abhorrent racism stem from?And what does it leave behind in a man like Epps? I remember I had to practice on the whip; I had to learn to crack it properly. I remember thinking about the knot it created in my shoulder; the knot it would create from doing such a physical task as whipping the skin off another human’s back. That physical memory would stay in the body, my body, Epps’ body.The body would retain the memory of what you have done to your fellow man or fellow woman.What would the psychological effect of this be? The retention of pain in your body memory? It’s got to be stored somewhere.That’s what I tried to do with Epps.There’s a deep conﬂict in the man.”
On acting in "Inglourious Basterds":
"[I felt] like a god! For about an hour. [Then the fear came]. It was the terror. The terror of everyone, the entire town, my parents, watching me fail."
On learning to skydive:
“Man, you’ve got to do it. I’ve done two jumps but I want to do more. Last time was in Hawaii, New Year’s Eve. An incredible feeling.And that’s the sort of thing that blows my mind about human beings. Someone somewhere ﬁrst had that idea.To jump out of a plane and free fall. Of course, you have to pull the parachute eventually and that’s the bit that freaks me out. Applying the brakes suddenly makes you more aware of your own mortality. Before this, everything is just a rush of browns and greens as you scream towards the planet through space. Then the chute opens and you can see all the details.The cars.The trees. Houses.All of life is brought back into sharp focus. Suddenly reality appears a little too close somehow. Wouldn’t it be terrible to be on your deathbed and suddenly think, ‘God, why didn’t I do that? Was it because I was worried about failing? Or what someone else might think of me? Take the jump. What have you got to lose?”
Photo Credit: Jean-Baptiste Mondino for British GQ