I sometimes dance a bit when I feel good. A subtle kind of slow-roll thing. Low-key, hip-shakey, bop-shoo-woppy. Never on a dance floor, of course, but at a party, in a parking lot, in a checkout line…anywhere but in a fucking club. Why am I mentioning this? Because this is what Michael Fassbender was doing Saturday night at the 12 Years A Slave party in Telluride.
Or he did, at least, during…oh, the first 20 or 30 minutes when he was talking to his friends and colleagues. He seemed to be saying to himself (and to any perceptive person who was watching), “This is good, this party. I feel nice…uhm-hmm. I’m just gonna cut loose a little bit.” He was talking and listening and being the debonair adult, of course, but he was doin’ it besides. Like he was dancing to “All Shook Up.” And I was saying to myself, “This guy is cool because he dances whenever and wherever. Like me, he’s a free man in Paris. He doesn’t need a fucking dance floor.”
I was so in awe that I devolved into a fan mentality when I spoke to Fassbender 10 or 15 minutes later. For some reason I asked him where his character’s plantation was located and…fucking Christ, did I just ask Fassbender a question I could answer in 10 or 12 seconds by going on the IMDB? Stunned by my faux pas, I quickly said, “I mean, I know…kind of a dipshit question, right? I could get this info by going online.” And then Fassbender, to his immense and lasting credit, looked me in the eye and said without a smirk or the slightest tone of condescension, “Then why don’t you go online to get it?”
And he was right! Honesty blast! When I’ve said something asinine I know it right away and MF was straight enough to say, “Yeah, I agree with you!” I laughed (well, chortled) and recovered by sharing my feelings about 12 Years A Slave when I caught it the previous night at the Palm. And then we talked about the feelings everyone seemed to be having after it ended. And that was all right.
And then my dp friend Svetlana Cvetko (Inequality For All, Inside Job) stepped in and started speaking with him, and then maybe ten minutes later I sauntered over and said, “Michael, could I get a photo for my column?” And Fassbender said, “You know what, man? I’d rather not.” But not in a snide or dismissive way. It was almost a pleading thing. His eyes seemed to say, “Do you get this? It’s not you…I just don’t feel like it.” And I said, “That’s cool, man…no worries.” And we gave each other a little upper-arm, top-of the-shoulder reassurance pat and that was that.