I’ve been very thorough over the last several years in explaining why Michael Fassbender‘s career began to slump around ’16 or thereabouts, and why he seemed to be on a four-year hiatus between ’18 and ’21, although he’s been coming out of that. He’s actually on the verge of a career re-boot with (a) Taiki Waititi’s endlessly delayed Next Goal Wins possibly emerging later this year along with (b) Fassbender’s lead performance as a conscience-stricken hitman in David Fincher‘s The Killer (Netflix, 11.10).
By all means read Alexander Larman’s two-day-old Telegraph piece, “Whatever Happened to Michael Fassbender?” and give his various hypotheses full weight.
The Steve McQueen-like race-car obsession thing is interesting, but I suspect he got into that because the acting career was slowing down.
There are at least two reasons why Fassbender’s career started to go cold around six years ago, give or take.
One, he enjoyed a hot six-year streak between ’08 and ’13, but movie lovers began to go cold on the guy around ’16 or ’17, as evidenced by (a) a 6.1.16 HE piece called “Turning Against Fassbender“, (b) the total flopping of The Snowman and Assassins Creed, and (c) the #MeToo allegations that popped through five years ago.
Here’s how I put it nearly seven years ago:
Another key reason why Fassbender ran out of steam is that audiences have never made superstars out of ginger-haired guys. Insane as it may sound, ginger- or copper-haired buys have almost never made it to the penthouse level. There’s something about them that Americans just can’t quite settle in with or bow down to…not really. Fassbender, Lucas Hedges, Paul Bettany, Jesse Plemons, David Caruso, Ed Sheeran, Damian Lewis, Rupert Grint, Alan Tudyk, Brendan Gleeson, Danny Bonaduce, Eric Stoltz, Carrot Top Thompson, David Lewis, Domhnall Gleeson, Rupert Grint, Simon Pegg, Toby Stephens, the great Philip Seymour Hoffman, Chuck Norris, Jason Flemyng, Seth Green, David Wenham…none of them ever made it into the elite winner’s circle, not really. Because people glommed onto that hair and those freckles and went “okay, fine, good actor but nope.”
Only two copper-haired actors in the entire history of Hollywood have become serious superstars — James Cagney and Robert Redford. Except Cagney doesn’t really count because he enjoyed his big-star heyday in the mostly monochrome ’30s and ’40s, and Redford doesn’t count because he became a blonde sometime in the early to mid ’60s and stayed that way until his downshift period began in the late ’80s and early ’90s.