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.'”
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.
Photos courtesy of Getty, WENN.