As fans clamour for a passable video game movie, producers are actively searching for the right pieces to make it happen. In the coming years, we will see adaptations of popular games like Need for Speed, Angry Birds, and Warcraft hit the screens. But without the right creators and actors, these films will meet the same fate as their predecessors. Today, we profile one of the most important figures behind the upcoming Assassin’s Creed film: Michael Fassbender.
According to Variety, Fassbender will star and co-produce this tale of Desmond Miles, a modern-day bartender that comes from a family of assassins. In the film, Miles is forced by mega-corporation Abstergo Industries to relive his ancestors’ memories to discover the location of ancient artifacts. This is done through a machine called “Animus.” Each of the games focuses on a different moment in history whether its the Crusades, 15th Century Italy, or the American Revolution. Each time, his ancestor is an assassin that relies on stealth to achieve their objectives.
Fassbender, while maybe not a household name, has a strong presence in nerd culture. After a minor role in 300, Fassbender’s first big break came as Lt. Archie Hicox in Inglourious Basterds. This role as the faux German soldier who doesn’t know how to show the number “3” with his fingers led to perhaps his most iconic performance as Erik Lensherr, AKA Magneto, in X-Men: First Class and the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past. Throw in a few action and sci-fi roles like Haywire and Prometheus, and Fassbender is on a roll.
This is why fans are excited to see the German-born actor take up the mantle of Desmond Miles. While he has already played some iconic roles, he has yet to have a mainstream hit that defined both the character and his career. Magneto, the closest he has to a career-defining roll, is shared with the great Sir Ian McKellan, who played the role in the first three X-Men movies, a cameo in The Wolverine, and shares the role with Fassbender in Days of Future Past. Assassin’s Creed is unique enough to stand out from other video game movie failures and Fassbender provides a nice balance of star power, nerd-cred (trademarked), and a career direction that is not yet defined. Jean-Claude Van Damme was a star before Street Fighter and the role did not follow him. At the time, Lara Croft appeared to be perfect for Angelina Jolie and vice versa, but Jolie went on to bigger things and Croft did not. Jake Gyllenhaal was Prince of Persia. That’s just difficult to type.
The point is that often the timing of casting is just as important as the accuracy of the casting. Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator, Sylvester Stallone as Rocky, Harrison Ford as Han Solo; the right actor for the right role at the right time makes all the difference. The time is now for Michael Fassbender to find a breakout role. The time is now for the video game industry to break through the walls of cinema. The partnership of Fassbender and Assassin’s Creed could be the break that the industry is looking for to become respectable and successful in the motion picture industry. Let’s just hope that, should AC become a trilogy, Fassbender has learned his lesson about the right way to show the number “3” in Germany. For his sake.