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Michael Fassbender on Challenges of ‘Macbeth,’ the Future of ‘X-Men’

Michael Fassbender is having such a busy year, he can’t even keep all his projects straight. This week, A24 releases “Slow West,” the Sundance indie in which he plays a cowboy (he produced the film with his company DMC and developed the script with director John Maclean). Then next week, he jets to the Cannes Film Festival for the premiere of Justin Kurzel’s adaptation of “Macbeth” on May 23. He just finished playing Steve Jobs for Danny Boyle’s high-profile biopic, and he’s about to reprise Magneto in “X-Men: Apocalypse.” He also revealed to Variety that he wants to direct.

“Slow West” is the first feature you’ve produced. How did the idea come about?
John and I started working together in 2007 or 2008 on this thing [a short film] called “Man on The Motorcycle.” That worked out really well, and we thought, “Let’s continue this, and we’ll aim one day of doing a feature film.” Around that time, he’s like, “I got this idea for a Western.” We started chatting about that and developing the characters and then he went away and wrote it. And then he’d show me a script and I’d give him notes. Eventually, we got a script and was like, “Let’s shoot it.” Here we are. It’s nice to see the goal fulfilled. I think he made a charming love story within a Western.

Were you a fan of Westerns growing up?
Yes. Clint Eastwood is my favorite. The last Western that I saw that I really liked was “Unforgiven.” I was shooting [on the film] for about five weeks. All in New Zealand, which is supposed to be Colorado.

You recently finished playing Steve Jobs. Is it dark?
Like “The Conjuring”?

No, is it a favorable adaptation?
I think it is.

You look skinnier now.
I didn’t lose weight. But I certainly didn’t go to the gym.

Did it cause you to look at Mac products differently?
It did. I’m still on my iPhone 4.

You don’t have the iPhone 6?
No, the 4 is my favorite design. I also use something until it’s no longer useable.

Your phone looks broken.
But it still works. The cover actually broke off my broken phone.

Where are you living now?
I’m still in London, but I haven’t spent too much time there in the last year. I did think about L.A. before, but not so much now. I think I’m European. I know I’m European. I’m happiest there.

Do you still have to put yourself on tape?
Luckily, not for a while. I think the last audition I did was for “Inside Llewyn Davis,” the Coen brothers film.

Are you in that movie?
No, I’m not. Thanks for pointing that out. It was an unsuccessful audition. I went up for Oscar [Isaac’s] part.

What are you shooting next?
“X-Men.”

Will you do more after this one?
I will shoot a hundred of them. The contract is in three film deals, and this is the last of that. But I’ll be curious to see what happens next.

Have you seen “Macbeth”?
I have not.

Why won’t they show it to you?
Because they are mean. I’ll see it in Cannes for the first time.

Had you done Shakespeare before?
Just in drama school, but not professionally. I had my Lady Macbeth and we got a scene or two.

Is Macbeth a hard character to play?
It’s challenging because of the language, and he’s going through quite a lot.

Did you have to master iambic pentameter?
I didn’t. I never approached it that way. I don’t even know if I got that right. I’m a little dyslexic with the iambic pentameter. I just always tried to make sense of it, and hoped the rhythm would follow.

You have a lot of acting jobs lined up. But now that you have your own production company, would you want to direct?
I’d like to direct at some point.

When?
Right now, I’m involved in acting. It’s been full on. To direct, you need at least two years for a project. We’ve got a lot of projects that we’re looking at. There are ones that I’d like to do, but I’d rather see them get into production.

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