Michael Fassbender: Right man for the Jobs

By Des Sampson

As his Oscar-nominated portrayal of Steve Jobs arrives at the cinema, Michael Fassbender talks to Des Sampson about the biopic.
Michael Fassbender stars as Steve Jobs in a scene from the film, Steve Jobs.
Michael Fassbender stars as Steve Jobs in a scene from the film, Steve Jobs.

Since 12 Years a Slave, your career seems to have exploded

It's been a crazy few years. There was a run of six films, back-to-back, which was amazing but also exhausting. I really needed a holiday after that. It was only when I took a break that I finally got a chance to reflect on what just happened. It was mad.

Where and when did you hear about the Steve Jobs film?

While on that break. I'd just finished filming The Light Between Oceans, in New Zealand and Tasmania, it was the start of summer and I thought it'd be nice to stay in the sunshine and do some surfing. But then an Aaron Sorkin script turned up for Steve Jobs. Straight away, when I read it, I thought; 'Well, there goes my break ...' I just had to do it, because it was genius writing - it's like modern day Shakespeare. Luckily, I still managed to sneak in a surfing holiday, but I had some reading to do in between waves.

What do you personally think of Steve Jobs? Was he a hero or a villain, given his innovations but also the appalling way he treated his colleagues, his ex and his daughter?

To be honest, I never really spent much time thinking about his personal motivations. He was somebody that changed the way we live our lives, on so many different levels, so that's the kind of person I was trying to portray - not whether he was bad or flawed.

What was the appeal of Alan Sorkin's script?

A lot of the times, with biographies, you have a typical trajectory: they start out pursuing a dream, achieve success, fall from grace and then return, redeemed, or die trying - a cradle-to-the-grave scenario. I just don't find that interesting. But Aaron's script was different: it's set across three acts, each tied to the launch of a new product - that's the framework for the story - and I though that was so clever. It also made it seem more like a play than a film, which I loved.

Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs in the 2015 movie Steve Jobs.
Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs in the 2015 movie Steve Jobs.

How much of a tech geek are you?

To be honest, I'm pretty hopeless when it comes to technology. I'm not very tech-savvy, which is somewhat ironic, I suppose, given the role I'm playing. I do have an iPad and an iPhone but I probably only use a tenth of their capacity. I rarely email - I'm really bad at doing that - which upsets a lot of people. I do call and text but, for me, that already takes up too much time in a day. I actually cherish when I go on holiday and I can turn off my mobile and tab and put them away.

Do you worry that although you're on a roll now, it could all change tomorrow?

Yeah, I'm very aware that things are going well for me today, but that doesn't mean things will be like that tomorrow. Who knows what might happen in the future? I'll just take it beat-by-beat, find good stories, good directors to work with and try to keep some sort of standard up. That's it, really. Whatever happens outside of that is out of my control.

Who: Michael Fassbender
What: Steve Jobs
When: In cinemas from today

- TimeOut

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