Has Michael Fassbender given up Hollywood to be a full-time racecar driver?

Michael Fassbender seen leaving Radio 2

In the few times I’ve written about Michael Fassbender in the past few years, I tend to mention how he’s really seemed to take a step back from Hollywood. He barely works at this point, and he barely even promotes what films he does have out. I actually watched The Snowman a few months ago, and it was AWFUL and I retroactively understood why Fassbender barely lifted a finger to promote it. Still, it’s weird, right? Six years ago, he was such a big deal – the new It Actor, awards-buzzy, in demand with a pile of scripts. Then he got mad about not getting an Oscar nomination for Shame, and then he made some bad choices about which scripts to say “yes” to. I still believe that a lot of directors would love to work with him, but he seems hampered by his own bad decision-making when it comes to which projects to do.

So what is he doing now? I really didn’t have much of a clue. We know he married Alicia Vikander and they moved to Lisbon, Portugal at some point. We also know – from looking at his IMDB – that he has next to nothing coming up. He reprised the role of Magneto in Dark Phoenix, out next year, and there’s something called Kung Fury 2 in pre-production. That’s it. That’s all he’s got going on. So maybe he’s given up Hollywood to be a race car driver? That’s apparently happening, according to this Hollywood Reporter story. In THR’s story, Fassbender gives his first interview in a while, and it’s all about how he’s racing Ferraris professionally now. From THR:

The 41-year-old star, who picked up the sport in 2016, possesses an encyclopedic, arcane knowledge of 1980s Group B rally racing and has logged more than 120 hours behind the wheel of his 488 Ferrari Challenge car — valued at $330,000, featuring a 670-horsepower, 3.9-liter turbocharged V-8 engine. It’s numbered 133, because, as he says, “three is my lucky number.”

Luck, though, had little to do with Fassbender winning the first of six series (his next race is in Montreal on June 9) in the Ferrari Challenge 2018 season, which opened at Florida’s Daytona Speedway in January, where speeds exceed 190 miles per hour. Says Ferrari Challenge head instructor Didier Theys: “From the start, Michael has shown a great deal of dedication and talent as a competitor.”

Racing is the reward that rounds out a career marked (so far) by two Oscar nominations, for his work in 2013′s 12 Years a Slave and 2015′s Steve Jobs.

“It’s one of the things about the job that I do that’s a huge perk, just an absolute dream come true,” says Fassbender, who lives in Lisbon, Portugal, with Alicia Vikander, whom he married in October. “It was always a goal to do some sort of racing at 40, but I didn’t imagine that I’d be in a series like this with very powerful, very fast 660-odd horsepower machines.” Fassbender adds with a laugh, “It’s a lot more fun prepping for this than learning lines at home,” the downside being, “if you miss an apex or mess up a corner, you don’t get a ‘take two.’”

[From THR]

Other celebrity men have taken up racing as a full-time hobby too, like Paul Newman and Patrick Dempsey (for real). But they kept acting, because that’s where the money is. I get the feeling that Fassbender would race full-time and leave acting completely if he could. And that’s probably what he’s going to do. So here’s my question: was this what Alicia Vikander signed up for? She thought she was marrying an actor who would eventually get an Oscar, and now she’s married to a guy who is just starting out as a racecar driver at the age of 41.

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55 Responses to “Has Michael Fassbender given up Hollywood to be a full-time racecar driver?”

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  1. Meggles says:

    Alicia married him. She obviously knows him better than we do. I don’t get why fans think married couples don’t, like, talk. It’s not some Ariana Grande insta-engagement thing; they’ve been together a long time. Don’t most long-term coupled people know what their partner’s hopes, dreams, and ambitions are? Presumably they had conversations before marrying about where they wanted to live, what they wanted to do career-wise and with their lives, whether they wanted kids, etc. Standard stuff all couples talk about??

    • WestHollywood says:

      Ditto. Alicia married a person with a certain personality and mindset, not some Oscar hopeful. She herself has an Oscar and wasn’t that lucky with her post-Oscar choices, but she seems pretty happy with her life now nonetheless…

      • Meggles says:

        I think some fans just can’t accept that Alicia is an actual human being in a real marriage, and not some kind of cartoon character who lives in a box and only comes out for PR appearances.

      • Layla Beans says:

        Meggles, I agree.

  2. French Girl says:

    Good for him.If he is happy,where is the issue?

    • MI6 says:

      Seriously. And call me Pollyanna, but maybe she just married him because she loves him, Oscar or not?
      People aren’t trophies.

    • SM says:

      I agree, he clearly finds Hollywood dreadful, so good for him for finding whatever rocks his boat instead of just continuing to do movies and feeling misserable.

  3. Alyse says:

    I’m sure when Alicia married Michael he was already racing, so she prob knew what she was getting herself into.

  4. MVC says:

    Midlife crisis works like a clock. Considering his past relationships Alicia is better without him but who knows 🤷

    • Shawn says:

      Agree. Something that’s not mentioned in this article is that he PAYS for these races. He isn’t a paid professional driver. This is just a really expensive hobby for rich middle aged men. I don’t think Alicia is going to be sticking around long if he is blowing their fortune on ‘fun’.

  5. Nah says:

    I’ll say this — Alicia has her OWN Oscar, I think she’s just fine.

    • MI6 says:

      Thank you!!

    • Shawn says:

      I wouldn’t say ‘fine’. Her career hasn’t exactly been stellar in a number of years and from the looks of it she has just as few upcoming and lackluster projects as Fassbender.

  6. Incredulous says:

    Also, the first Kung Fury is on Youtube, it is a giant and glorious love letter to 80s movie silliness.

    • DesertReal says:

      Oh my goodness!
      I know, right? I saw it over 4 years ago and loved its nod to Big Trouble in Little China, Karate Kid, Terminator, Back to the Future and everything in between. Loved it! I just hope any studio adaptation they do of it, keeps that same tone.

    • Spikey says:

      If he’s indeed doing Kung Fury 2 it’s his best franchise to date! And about time for him to do some comedy stuff. He’s always so serious. We loved Kung Fury, we’re still quoting from it day and night. Please let Fassy be the next “awesome pecs” guy *lol*

  7. DesertReal says:

    He looks happy and healthy which isn’t something that happens when someone has an unhappy newlywed at home…
    So…

  8. Farah says:

    I mean, all of his non X-Men movies bombed and there was a study that showed that American audiences were less likely to see a movie if he was in it. So I don’t think stepping away from Hollywood was his choice.

    • jammypants says:

      Woah that’s rough. I wonder why? He’s a good actor. But after seeing him in a few films, he gives off this cold intensity that’s unpleasant after a time. He just needs to spread out more, do musicals, comedies etc.

    • Shawn says:

      He also has a past of abusing women which I’m sure doesn’t help. Especially in light of the past year with big men in Hollywood being called out for their past transgressions.

      • Jamie42 says:

        Not “women.” One woman accused him. She had accused another ex, apparently falsely. No other woman has accused Fassbender.

      • Shawn says:

        Abusing one woman is still abhorrent and it IS possible for one woman to be abused by more than one man. Just because she had multiple horrible boyfriends doesn’t mean she is a liar (none of her accusations have been proven false btw). Once a woman beater always a woman beater in my book. Glad his career is going nowhere.

  9. Caitlin Bruce says:

    He’s still got more in the pipeline than Tom Hiddleston and no reports of him retiring. Actors sometimes need to take breaks. Then when they come back to it they realise why they loved it so much to begin with. But hey I’m a Tom Hiddleston fan and he said he always comes second to Michael so maybe Tom will start being people’s first choice. Least Tom actually make the effort to promote his films no matter how bad they are (ISTL which I didn’t find that bad but everyone else did) or how long he is in them (Infinity War)

  10. Willow says:

    What happened was that Sony email leak where he got torn apart by writers and executives behind the scenes regarding JOBS. The Variety article where they conducted a study regarding him showing that people were less likely to watch a movie starring him had to be a blow. The critical and commercial flops speak for themselves. He probably is just not getting any decent scripts/they are going with other actors. Hollywood loves you on Monday and hates you on Thursday. Getting pouty about awards didn’t help.

    Not to mention complete silence regarding horrific abuse allegations. And his stans can jump in a lake about that because the days of silence and letting it blow over are no more regardless of whether you believe the accusations. If she made up everything, then expose her. Regardless, he is not some box office winner or has anyone big in his corner that would champion him, so here we are.

    • LaraK says:

      Abuse allegations?

      What did I miss here?

      • Willow says:

        Just type his name and abuse and you will see numerous articles from reputable souces like the Daily Beast.

        And to the posters talking about actors taking a break: actors who need a hit, critical or commercial hit don’t take 2-3 breaks with minimal work during their prime acting years outside of Daniel Day Louise, unless they are not getting decent work. If your only project is working with David Hasselhoff or waiting for Shakespeare project to get funding, something is deeply amiss.

    • Steph says:

      I always question those allegations, because the girl he dated did something similar to one of her exes and the police found out she was lying. Other than that he never had other exes saying something similar but who knows…

    • Flipper says:

      @Willow

      +1

    • Caitlin Bruce says:

      That’s not true at all lots of British actors take breaks, Tom filmed Crimson Peak, High Rise, ISTL and the night manager back to back had a small break then flew all over for Kong Skull island and Thor Ragnarok. He was away from home for all of them even high rise filmed in Ireland. He did some voice work and is working on a South Sudan documentary. I think he realises he was overexposed after the whole Taylor thing and took a step back. Which I think was the right thing to do. Taylor’s whole narrative about Tom was him being an attention whore but really in the last year and a half there has been little to no gossip about him at all

      • Pia says:

        There wasn’t that much gossip on him before Taylor so I think that’s just a natural consequence of him not dating anyone famous. It’s also possible he at the time thought it was a good idea to get the exposure but it backfired. I do think the combination of Taylor and toms personalities contributed to that relationship being so extra. Her relationship with Calvin was a lot less overexposed and her current relationship is the most low key she’s ever been in.

      • Meggles says:

        I do agree, but Tom has not worked at all since the charity stage production of Hamlet last summer, and apart from his cameo in Infinity War has done no screen work in at least 18 months. That is a substantial break for an actor who was at the height of his career, and with Tom’s general hermit-don it’s no wonder people are speculating that he’s quit acting and being in the limelight for good.

        I can’t think of too many other actors who have taken similar breaks. it’s not unheard of but it is unusual.

        I’m not judging it! I think as a culture we’re moving to a place of self-actualisation, and away from the idea of success being measured by external, objective success. So many famous people complain about being famous and end up self-destructing. It’s good that actors can admit that the thing they’ve been chasing is not what they dreamed it would be, but actually something rather toxic, and make new, better choices.

    • Ju says:

      He wasn’t torn apart in those Sony emails. There were some executives who just wanted a bigger name and not someone whose resume was mostly arthouse fare. Fassbender isn’t Di Caprio or Cruise. Nobody questioned his talent. Also,there wasn’t any “study” about him. It was a survey about upcoming movies and I think it was more about people not knowing him,Cotillard or McAvoy who got the same response. The truth is that the average moviegoer may recognize his face from the XMen movies,maybe Prometheus,but he’s not familiar with his name.

    • jammypants says:

      He wasn’t torn apart at all. Aaron Sorkin asked who TF was Fassbender after Bale bailed and DiCaprio left. He thought Fassbender was a nobody, not even realizing he was an Oscar nominated actor. Then he caught up and the light bulb went on.

  11. JoJo says:

    I really doubt he’s quitting acting for good. This just seems like another passion that he’s decided to focus on right now. He says as much in the interview – that his acting career has allowed him to get into this. I’m sure this is just fun and different right now, so why not. He’s a talented actor – he can easily come back when he’s ready, and I think he will.

  12. KatieK says:

    It’s only been two years since he got an Oscar nomination. I suspect his career is just fine.

  13. Carol says:

    I forgot how good looking he is. But man, is he good looking!

  14. Slowsnow says:

    This kind of mindset is a mystery to me. Actors need breaks. He has been acting non stop, both in indie films and in big blockbusters. Moreover, he is Irish and not American. His own perspective on career is probably closer to Ewan McGregor’s than Tom Cruise’s.
    Also, it takes a very specific kind of non-American to take Hollywood. They all come and go, such as Damian Lewis, Hugh Laurie, Idris Elba, and many more.

  15. Snazzy says:

    Jackie Chan has a racing team too, he actually had 3 cars racing at Le Mans this weekend!

  16. H says:

    He’s got what may be 10 years to still be leading man material? Then he’ll probably move into character roles. I wish he would do a series on Netflix or Showtime. Something to showcase his acting abilities. He gets lost in all these blockbusters. But hey that’s where the money is. I agree with another poster it sounds like a midlife crisis. Forty is a little late to be starting a race car career.

    Wouldn’t it be awesome if he just wanted to be a stay-at-home dad while Alicia went out and made all the money?

    • Kiki says:

      I have been saying this for a long time, Michael Fassbender needs to do television series/mini-series or an internet streaming series like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon etc. Stop with the blockbuster movie non-sense and come back to acting worthy of television. He will get and that Kung Fury is pure BS to me.

  17. Pia says:

    He’s got more coming up on IMDb than another British “it” actor from a few years ago Tom Hiddleston so even with race car driving I think he’s doing ok. And Alicia has her own Oscar. I am intrigued they choose to live in Lisbon.

    • Slowsnow says:

      As a Lisbon-born and raised Portuguese I can explain: EVERYONE, from every path of life, is moving to Lisbon. Nice taxes, nice weather, nice people who won’t bother you or passive-aggressively exchange glances, nice houses, and a few hours away from any European country.

      The rents are going up and people are moving out of the city because of that. Traffic is crazy and the cost of life has increased with no real changes in salary.

      But that’s what it is.

  18. minxx says:

    I hope he returns to movies, eventually. Such a huge talent, wouldn’t want him to waste it. I wonder if they’ll have kids at some point.

  19. Andrea says:

    Isn’t it a little late to start a racing career? Typically, they retire by 45 or 50.

    • anon says:

      It’s not a real career, it’s more of a “bored rich mid-life male” hobby. A childhood dream made true by the fact that he’s now a millionaire. He’s just racing with other bored rich men, burning money and fuel to get some adrenaline going.

  20. Sage says:

    The King Fury film details was used to distract from the abuse allegations.

    He’s a really good actor and a really old looking 41 year old man!

    • Shawn says:

      He certainly looks a few days over 50. Drug and alcohol abuse from his earlier days, I’m guessing. I think he is taking a step back because he knows those allegations are out there. Time to lay low for a bit.

  21. ladida says:

    Midlife crisis might be starting a bit early with this one. Shame is one of my all-time favs.

    • Andrea says:

      I know two men presently 41 and 43 having a mid life crisis. Both are wearing eye makeup now. One just got a snakebite piercing and is calling himself nonbinary, the other is contemplating a nose ring and just got his first tattoo. I think 40 is the new 50 for mid life crisis.

      • Amy Tennant says:

        Well, maybe they ARE nonbinary, and either never had the word or the courage before. But the makeup is questionable.. of course I have a fetish for guyliner.

        Maybe it’s because I’m midlife crisis age myself, but I’m looking more kindly on a lot of crisis behaviors, as long as they don’t hurt other people (no affairs etc). Especially for women, sometimes before 40, we just don’t have the courage to be who we are.

        Anyway, determine your midlife by how long you want to live!

  22. Lola says:

    In the 21 Century (and even before) people are no longer “married” to do only one thing with the rest of their lives, why should Fassbender not pursue this full time if that is what he wants to do? In order to make a living, a lot of us now a days do more than one thing.

    • Shawn says:

      It’s not a job. He PAYS Ferrari to take part in these races. That’s like saying someone who has joined a local golf club as a hobby has ‘quit’ their job to become a ‘professional golfer’. He is blowing his money while not working. Classic case of the midlife crisis.