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People in Film | Michael Fassbender

Posted December 21, 2010 to photo album "People in Film | Michael Fassbender"

Michael Fassbender plays an anguished hero in Jane Eyre. As an actor, who’s gone from fallen angel to Irish rebel to savvy spy, he makes complexity look simple.

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Michael Fassbender | In Between Worlds

Michael Fassbender | In Between Worlds

While Michael Fassbender was born in Heidelberg, Germany, he never lost his Irish connection. His father, Josef Fassbender, was German, but his mother Adele hailed from Larne, County Antrim, a town located on the Northwest coast of Northern Ireland. (Supposedly his mother was the great-great-niece of the Irish independence leader Michael Collins). When he was just two, Fassbender and his family resettled to the Irish town of Killarney, where they ran the West End House restaurant. During his youth, Fassbender had no natural inclination to become an actor. He jokes, "I thought maybe a lawyer would be interesting…but I'm a slow reader so that volume of reading wasn't a good idea." But at 17, he began a few acting workshops, and quickly discovered he had a natural talent. In the next year, he helped put together a theatrical staging of Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs. At 19, he moved to London to study at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama, and before he’d actually graduated, he found an agent and was touring in Chekhov's Three Sisters with the Oxford Stage Company. Like many young actors, Fassbender worked for years before he received his first big break, playing Sgt. Burton 'Pat' Christenson in the Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg produced HBO miniseries, Band of Brothers. But, in hindsight, Fassbender remembers thinking at the time, “This is it, now, here we go! Hollywood is next!”…But there were so many of us running around in green.”