A couple of years a go, Michael Fassbender was a relatively unknown actor. However, a whole spectrum of performances in recent movies like Inglourious Basterds, Jane Eyre, and X-Men: First Class changed all that. Ridley Scott’s new highly anticipated movie, Prometheus, has Fassbender playing an entirely different kind of role: an android named David.
Fassbender recently discussed his unique characterization for “David” in an interview with Collider.
Fassbender explained that he did not go his normal “route” for developing his character. “I watched Blade Runner and I looked at the replicants. [I] looked at Sean Young. There was something in her character, a quality that I kind of liked for David, this longing for something or some sort of a soul at play there, a sort of vacancy also, a sort of vacant element.” Fassbender went on to explain how 2001: A Space Odyssey inspires quite a bit of his character, as well. “I don’t know exactly what, I just knew there was a quality that I liked … Hal from 2001.” Fassbender also mentions that “Peter O’Toole’s character of Lawrence [of Arabia]” was in “the mixture,” as well.
When asked if the androids from the previous Alien films affected his characterization(Prometheus is considered to be in the same universe as the Alien franchise), he said no. “I don’t know why. Sometimes you [watch previous performances], like when I was [preparing for] Jane Eyre I watched as many of the Rochesters as I could get my hands on, but for this I made a decision not to watch the Alien movies.”
Fassbender also talked about being on set, in character. “There’s something about that where I think if you keep it relaxed or go into it relaxed then things will happen as opposed to trying to preempt them. I don’t try to go ‘this is what I’m going to try to do with the character in this scene.’”
Fassbender felt it was important emphasize that performing a character well is not necessarily synonymous with rigidly staying in character at all times. “Sometimes if I stick in a character too much I feel like I might start to get blinkered, because I’m making my decisions too definite. I don’t know what David is going to do next … [t]here’s a thousand ways to do something.”