The Wild Irish Boy

Superhero, hunger striker, Mr. Rochester, psychiatrist, sex addict. Michael Fassbender can play anyone--with or without his clothes on

Peter Hapak for TIME

Michael Fassbender.

Michael Fassbender has a look. It's a cross between a stare, a glare and a laser attack. The muscles in his finely angled face tense, and his blue-green eyes all but pulsate in their sockets. In his breakthrough film, Hunger (2008), Fassbender, playing the IRA martyr Bobby Sands, casts that look on a well-meaning priest, vaporizing any pleas against the hunger strike that will kill him. You see the look in Inglourious Basterds (2009), just before Fassbender's English spy tongue-lashes a Nazi lout, and in this year's Jane Eyre, when his Rochester matches wits with the equally steely heroine. The look...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!