Michael Fassbender isn’t a name that many would associate with the comedy genre. The actor is best known for period dramas like 12 Years a Slave, A Dangerous Method and Jane Eyre, and even in more outlandish films (like X-Men: First Class) he tends to play fairly serious and straight-faced characters.
As the lead in Lenny Abrahamson’s offbeat indie comedy Frank, however, Fassbender’s face isn’t his face at all. The titular character is a strange but visionary musician called Frank, who wears a large papier-mâché head that he never takes off. Domhnall Gleeson (About Time) plays a young wannabe musician who joins Frank’s pop group and is taken under his wing in a very unconventional program of rehearsals and training.
The new trailer for Frank is pretty much the entire genre of indie movies crystallized into two minutes: the odd big-name actor (Maggie Gyllenhaal also co-stars) coupled with very odd humor and almost more quirkiness than one movie can feasibly handle. It certainly won the critics over at Sundance, however, described as “mandatory watching for the adventurous viewer,” by The Playlist and praised for being “off-beat and punk-spirited” by The Telegraph.
Frank is based on the character Frank Sidebottom, created by musician and comedian Chris Sievey, who was very popular in Britain during the 1980s. The same period was also responsible for the terrifying masked children’s TV show character Mr Noseybonk, who really should get his own horror movie at some point.
It’s an obscure and unusual inspiration for a movie, but the script was penned by Peter Straughan (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy) and Jon Ronson (The Men Who Stare at Goats), and Abrahamson’s last film was the critically-acclaimed Irish drama What Richard Did. Between the stellar cast and the strong creative team, Frank is definitely worth a look – even if you can’t look him in the eye.
Frank is out in theaters on May 9, 2014.