Michael is featured on the June 5th issue of Madame Figaro:
The first Poster for Assassin’s Creed has been released:
If you saw the new trailer for director Justin Kurzel’s upcoming adaptation of Macbeth this week, you’re no doubt excited for that film. But if you’re excited about Macbeth, you should also be excited about the impending Assassin’s Creed movie. Macbeth star Michael Fassbender is producing and starring in the video game adaptation opposite his Macbeth co-star Marion Cotillard, and he even enlisted Kurzel to take the helm. It’s a true reunion project for the trio, and if the intensity and beauty of that Macbeth trailer is any indication of what we can expect from the Assassin’s Creed movie, we could be in for one of the first good video game adaptations in history.
Production on Assassin’s Creed is slated to begin later this year in anticipation of a December 21, 2016 release date, but the film is one of many that will be showcased next week the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas, and we got our hands on a piece of promo material that is being used. While it’s not an official piece of marketing from 20th Century Fox (I’d be shocked if “Assassin’s Creed: The Movie” were its official title), it is our first very early look at something from the film.
While video game adaptations have a terrible track record, everything about Assassin’s Creed is promising—right down to the December release date. With that kind of clout both in front of and behind the camera, and considering the rave reviews Macbeth received at Cannes, it’s not entirely out of the question to consider the picture a potential awards contender.
The First Official Teaser for Macbeth has been released, I have added screen captures from the trailer, the poster and some higher quality version of the stills:
The highly anticipated tale of war, ambition, love, murder and betrayal, directed by Justin Kurzel (Snowtown) and starring Academy-Award nominee Michael Fassbender (Twelve Years A Slave, Shame, Hunger) and Academy-Award winner Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night, La Vie En Rose) will see a UK release on OCTOBER 2nd.
Macbeth is the story of a fearless warrior and inspiring leader brought low by ambition and desire. A thrilling interpretation of the dramatic realities of the times and a reimagining of what wartime must have been like for one of literature’s most famous and compelling characters, a story of all-consuming passion and ambition set in war torn Scotland.
MACBETH is from the producers of The King’s Speech and Shame. MACBETH also stars Paddy Considine (The Bourne Ultimatum), David Thewlis (the Harry Potter series), Sean Harris (Prometheus), Jack Reynor (What Richard Did) and Elizabeth Debicki (The Great Gatsby).
“Eye of the Tiger” is the song that plays on the publicist’s phone as she connects the call with Michael Fassbender. It’s fitting intro music for the prolific 38-year-old actor, who’s made one bold choice after another since his 2008 breakthrough in Steve McQueen’s Hunger. He’s averages four movies per year, ranging from blockbusters (Prometheus, two X-Men films), bold dramas (Jane Eyre, Shame, and 12 Years a Slave, for which he scored an Oscar nomination) and genre-warping comedies like Inglourious Basterds and last year’s Frank, where he wore a giant paper mache mask over his face for the entire running time.
Currently in theaters and available on DirecTV, Fassbender stars as a bounty hunter in the tight, stylish Slow West. But he’s calling from Cannes, where on Saturday he attended the last-in-the-lineup premiere of main competition entry Macbeth, which sees him starring as Shakespeare’s Scottish rogue opposite Marion Cotillard. The two will reteam next year with Macbeth’s director Justin Kurzel for a film version of the video game Assassin’s Creed, which begins shooting in August. Plus there’s another Prometheus, another X-Men, and oh yeah, he also happens to be starring in a film this fall as one of the icons of the last century. Fassbender spoke to EW about the thrill of the fight.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: It’s interesting to hear you say that the Western was something you wanted to tick off the list. Do you keep a list of fantasy roles?
MICHAEL FASSBENDER: In terms of my fantasy career, yeah. In this case I think it comes from the time when I was a boy and watching Westerns and being really engrossed in them. And at that young age thinking to myself how much I’d love to be in one.
You knew John Maclean, the writer-director of Slow West, from having starred in a couple of his short films. Did he come to you or did you go to him with the idea of a Western?
He came to me. We’d always been talking about genres, ever since we made [2009 short film] Man on a Motorcycle and realized how much we enjoyed working together and wanted to do it again. And by the time we got to [2011 short film] Pitch Black Heist, he started telling me about Slow West, which had been incubating in his mind. I clearly wanted to act in a feature film that he would direct. He’s so original in terms of his visual storytelling and I wanted to do whatever I could to help get that originality out there. He went off and wrote the script and we workshopped it a bit together.
And you took on a role as executive producer on the film. Were you involved in the decision to shoot in New Zealand? It gives the movie such a great otherworldly quality. Somehow in our brains we just know it’s not Colorado.
Yeah, I love that. We were looking for that special kind of fairy tale element within the Western that I always felt to be very interesting. In terms of New Zealand, we had connections down there with See-Saw Films and the New Zealand Film Commission. Plus, the fact that they’ve got amazing crews there. And again we were looking for landscapes that seemed untouched, and they’ve got a much smaller population than in the States. And it was John’s call, he really thought the setting would work to fulfill his vision. I think it worked out beautifully.
And I think it’s historic, too. The first film to use New Zealand to mimic the American frontier.
I believe so. I was talking to Wayne McCormack, who’s an amazing guy. He was the horse wrangler on the film. He was the one who told me that this was the first Western with New Zealand standing in for America. I hope it entourages more people to make Westerns in New Zealand. The crews are fantastic down there.
So you’re in Cannes for the premiere of Macbeth. A Shakespearean classic—was this another one that you wanted to tick off the list?
I wasn’t seeking out to do Shakespeare at the time, when [producer] Iain Canning approached me. But it was one of those things. You get the opportunity to do it and there was just no way I could have said no. So then I had the privilege of meeting the director Justin Kurtzel and we had an immediate chemistry. I knew right away that I believed in him and believed in his vision. And i could feel that excitement of going on a journey together, never knowing if it was going to work or not.
It sounds similar to how you describe your relationship with John Maclean, not to mention Steve McQueen.
Yes. Steve always says, “Let’s try and fail better next time.” The risk you might fall flat on your face is critical. I love the idea of being around new, fresh talent. With Justin, it’s such a treat to watch him work and say to yourself, “He’s doing exactly what he should be doing on this planet.” The expereince of working with him was exceptional. He put his heart and soul into it.
Have you seen Macbeth yet?
No, I’m going to be seeing it with everyone else at the premiere on Saturday night. I can tell you that Marion [Cotillard] as Lady Macbeth is incredible. I know that from being across from her during the scenes. She’s mesmerizing.
What’s the atmosphere like in Cannes right now?
Oh, it’s great. It’s such a celebration of film, everywhere you look. It’s a place of absolute passion for filmmaking. And of course it also happens to be incredibly glamorous and fun.
What can you tell me about the Steve Jobs biopic? There’s a teaser that everybody got excited about last week.
I got excited about it! I really loved the teaser. I feel very lucky to be a part of this movie at all. It’s exhilarating—again, for the opportunity to fall flat on my face, maybe. But it was nothing but a joy for me to be working with Aaron Sorkin, a genius, and Danny Boyle, such an inspirational person and a wonderful filmmaker.
And the biopic is another one to tick off your fantasy list. You’ve played real people before but Steve Jobs is huge.
Oh, man. Steve Jobs changed the way we live. It’s hard to comprehend just how integral he was in the way we live our lives now. Not only in terms of the phone but also retail. There were High Street stores closing down because of internet sales, and so he imagined stores with 30 people working on the floor, one-on-one with the customers. I was very glad that we were able to explore that. The movie will show how he changed the whole experience of retail as we know it.
Have you been able to see any movie so far in Cannes?
I just got in this morning, so nothing yet. But I can’t wait to see The Lobster and Carol and many, many others. It feels like this year has a lot of varied and very intriguing stuff. I’m going to try to catch everything I can while I’m here. And if I don’t catch them here, hopefully they’ll be released soon so I can pay for my ticket at the cinema.
ComingSoon.net has a great interview with Michael:
Video games rarely get a fair trade when it comes to their movie adaptations, maybe because there have been so so SO many bad video game adaptations over the years.
Ubisoft has created an incredible video game franchise with their Assassin’s Creed games, taking open world technology back in time for a series of historical action-adventures. Most of the games feature a bartender named Desmond Miles who has a long bloodline of assassins in his family that allows him to travel back in time using something called an Animus to document those times for Abstergo Industries. He isn’t given much of a choice in the matter.
Ubisoft Motion Pictures, the film division of the company, has been developing the games into a film for 20th Century Fox, starring Michael Fassbender, and as luck would have it, ComingSoon.net spoke with Fassbender earlier today for his upcoming Western Slow West, and we wanted to learn more about the long-in-development Assassin’s Creed movie, for which he’ll be reuniting with director Justin Kurrzel and Marion Cotillard from their yet-to-be-scheduled Macbeth adaptation.
“You say it’s a long time but what I’ve found–it’s all new to me but starting to develop scripts and work on them, they take time,” he countered to our mention of the delays in getting the movie made. “It just takes time to get a good story together and we really want to do it right. It’s exciting. It’s going to start this year, we’ll be filming in September.”
Fassbender was incredibly coy on which character or characters he might be playing, since the games have such a vast array of stories and characters on which to focus. It’s been stated previously that he will play Desmond Miles, but that may not be entirely the case.
“You don’t know that. Don’t listen to what they tell you, that’s the first rule,” he said with a smile.
When asked about trying to figure out which games and time periods to base the first film on, all he would say was, “That’s always the challenge of something that’s so dense, to really find something and pare it down and basically, there are so many elements to it, so trying to translate that to an audience, you have to pick key things. So yes, that is part of it, getting through the density of it and paring down and engaging a simple story.”
We also knew better than to ask the actor about Magneto’s role in Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Apocalypse, since we have already been down that block with his new co-star (playing the title villain) Oscar Isaac.
You can watch this portion of the video interview below and then check back next week on ComingSoon.net for what Fassbender had to say about Slow West, which will get its theatrical release on May 15.
Coming off a social-realist piece like Snowtown, I would never have thought I would direct a Shakespeare play but it just became more and more fascinating, and more scary,” director Justin Kurzel recently told Screen Daily ahead of the Cannes premiere of Macbeth. “This project connected with many aspects of the psychology of Snowtown. The idea of being seduced by evil was still pretty fresh in me. I find those figures that dance with evil really fascinating.”
With a premiere set for later in the festival, on the 23rd, today brings our first brief glimpse of footage thanks to a teaser. While it runs under 30 seconds, it shows of Kurzel’s dark tone and gives us an enticing preview of Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. “I think Macbeth has always been a study of ambition and power, and I thought there would be something really interesting in seeing how that could arise from trauma and grief, a sense of loss – of a child, perhaps – or through a sense of post-traumatic stress after all the battles he had been through,” Kurzel adds. “I wanted to bring an intimacy to the overt ideas of the play. Macbeth, as a warrior, was a product of an incredibly brutal landscape and I was interested in how that landscape and other external factors influence ambition.”
Macbeth is the story of a fearless warrior and inspiring leader brought low by ambition and desire. A thrilling interpretation of the dramatic realities of the times and a reimagining of what wartime must have been like for one of Shakespeare’s most famous and compelling characters, a story of all-consuming passion and ambition set in war torn 11th Century Scotland.