His most devoted fans lovingly call him “Fassboner”—no doubt in reference to his natural charms on display in the movie Shame.
But Irish-German actor Michael Fassbender is more than the sum of his very nice body parts: He has great taste in choosing roles that stimulate the brain, too.
Case in point: He’s portraying tech-genius Steve Jobs in Danny Boyle’s biopic of the Apple founder, opening October 9. (Watch the trailer here.) And that’s only one example.
From a Charlotte Brontë-penned love interest to one of the most famous psychoanalysts in history, Fassbender has racked up the parts that appeal to thinking women everywhere. Here are a few of our favorites.
Mr. Rochester, Jane Eyre
The character of Edward Rochester is one of the most hotly contested in all of English literature. For some, he’s the romantic but flawed hero of Charlotte Brontë’s masterpiece, who wins the heart of Jane Eyre. To others Rochester is a deeply troubling character who [spoiler alert] has locked his first wife, a woman he brought over from the colonies, in the attic because he didn’t want to be married anymore.
Fassbender, in the 2011 film adaptation starring Mia Wasikowska as Jane, does an incredible job of straddling the alluring and rather disturbing elements of Rochester’s personality. It doesn’t hurt that the mutton chops and period clothing look great on him. Let’s just say when Jane saved Rochester from a fiery death—before he had time to pull on some pants—his mansion wasn’t the only thing on fire.
Lt. Archie Hicox, Inglorious Basterds
For one of the tensest scenes of all movie history, Quentin Tarantino knew he would need an actor that could hold the audience’s attention without interruption. Who can resist a man in uniform? And a British Commando Green Beret Army Officer who was a film critic before the war, at that.
Thanks to Lt. Hicox, we all learned to be very careful when ordering a whisky in Nazi Germany—and just because it’s wartime doesn’t mean you aren’t the perfect English gentleman. “If this is it, old boy,” he tells the Nazi, “I hope you don’t mind if I go out speaking the King’s.”
Carl Jung, A Dangerous Method
In 2011, Fassbender played Jung to Viggo Mortensen’s Freud and proved just how sexy psychoanalysis and a handlebar mustache can be, particularly in the spanking scenes with his co-star Keira Knightley. She told The Observer she was nervous about the intense interaction with Fassbender.
Nervous, Keira? Really? We can’t imagine why. “He’s absolutely wonderful,” Knightley said of Fassbender. “We had a couple of shots of vodka before doing the scene and a couple of glasses of champagne afterwards.” Oh, Keira.
The novelist Elizabeth Taylor’s parents made an unfortunate name choice for their daughter, whose work to this day has been long under-appreciated. In the 2007 film adaptation of Taylor’s 1957 novel Angel, which tells the story of a young female novelist in the early 1900s, Fassbender stars as the mischievously sexy Esmé, a local, rakish aristocrat who seduces Angel (played by the gorgeous Romola Garai) for her money. Fassbender is remarkable in his portrayal of a man that so many women will recognize—the charismatic cad.
Comic book fans everywhere rejoiced when Fassbender was chosen to portray Magneto, a complicated, brilliant supervillain. (Fassbender plays the younger version of Magneto, who was played by Sir Ian McKellan in the earlier X-Men films.) His friendship—and subsequent rivalry—with James McAvoy (who plays the younger version of Patrick Stewart’s Professor X) results in “thinking woman” men overload.
Plus, let’s face it, if Magneto looked anything like Fassbender IRL, we’d probably convert to the dark side, too.
On December 4, Fassbender will tackle his first big-screen Shakespearean role with the fiercely talented Marion Cotillard as his manipulative Lady Macbeth. No doubt Fassbender will be in top form as he goes for one of the most challenging roles in all of theater history. It helps that his Scottish accent is excellent. Good luck to all English majors in keeping their cool during this flick.