It takes balls of steel to boldly go where few actors have gone before. We take our hats off to Tom Hardy, Ewan McGregor and Vincent Gallo. With Hunger (2008) and Shame (2011), Irish-German actor Michael Fassbender joins this elite circle of luminaries—bold actors who's never squeamish when it comes to flaunting their lightsabers.
"The idea of male frontal nudity baffles me: Women can parade around naked, but the guy conveniently has his pants on. I remember my mom saying, 'It's always the women who are naked.' So this [one's] for you, Mom!"
He went the whole nine yards twice. Luckily, they paid off. Critics gave him best actor awards for Hunger (British Independent Film Awards, Stockholm Film Festival) and Shame (Venice Film Festival, Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards).
Although Hunger established Fassbender as a major talent in the UK, it was Jane Eyre, X-Men: First Class, A Dangerous Method and Shame — all released in 2011 — which jumpstarted his acting career. It seems every major director, from David Cronenberg to Steven Soderbergh, wants a piece of Fassbender. In the works is Ridley Scott's Prometheus with Charlize Theron and Guy Pearce, followed by Steve McQueen's Twelve Years a Slave with Brad Pitt. No word yet if he'll walk around in his birthday suit in any of these movies—not that his mother would mind (God bless her).
Photograph by Sebastian Kim from the February 2012 issue of Interview