Michael Fassbender Talks ‘X-Men: First Class’ & Young Magneto

Published 4 years ago by , Updated March 15th, 2013 at 12:41 pm,

Michael fassbender young magneto x men first class Michael Fassbender Talks X Men: First Class & Young Magneto

We’re on the road to the return of the X-Men, or at least, the previous generation of Professor X’s mutants in X-Men: First Class. With the first First Class cast photo releasing last month and the full trailer just last week, the ball is rolling on Fox’s attempt at kickstarting a potential new X-Men movie franchise with an entirely new cast.

Michael Fassbender, one of the two main leads in the X-Men prequel, plays the young Erik Lehnsherr before he becomes the villainous Magneto we all know him as. Like cast mates James McAvoy and January Jones, Fassbender has been working the press for other projects and in most interviews, has been subject to lots of questions regarding his biggest role to date as the master of magnetism.

MTV and Metro both had opportunities to speak with the highly sought after Hollywood star and prodded him about his take on Magneto and where he draws his inspiration from. In X-Men: First Class, he clarifies that he doesn’t aim to replicate Sir Ian McKellan’s performance of Magneto from the main X-Men trilogy and instead uses “the comics as the source material.” An answer fans are looking for and an answer most actors joining big comic book adaptations are learning to give.

Fassbender describes his character’s relationship with Charles Xavier not just as a friend and certainly not in the role of the leader or teacher, but as a student of sorts.

“I’m not a teacher, I’m a pupil. Charlie boy is the teacher. … He sees the potential in this new race… and gathers us all together to fulfill our ultimate powers.”

Will producer Bryan Singer’s story for X-Men: First Class delve in to Erik’s history, like we saw in the intro seen in the first X-Men film when his family is hauled away in a Nazi internment camp?

“You will see a little bit of that, yeah, at the beginning but I thought what was interesting was what happened to him after the war – he gets that young gypsy girl out of the concentration camp that he falls in love with. They take off together and have a baby and the mob ends up going crazy and burning down the house and the child dies in the blaze. Magneto goes ape sh*t and kills everybody. She’s freaked out and leaves him. So by the time we get to him in the movie, he’s a bit of a loner, really.”

X Men First Class Trailer 35 Magneto Helmet 570x240 Michael Fassbender Talks X Men: First Class & Young Magneto

Fassbender continues to explain the differences between the philosophies behind Erik Lehnsherr and Charles Xavier, using real life icons:

“It’s kind of like Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X — Charles [Professor X] being Martin Luther and Erik [Magneto] being Malcolm X — these two ideals, two intelligent guys but with different methods of achieving what they want. Erik doesn’t trust humans and thinks they need to be wiped away and I can kind of see his point. It’s like Homo Sapiens, Neanderthals … it’s like it’s the next stage of evolution. And humans have made a bit of balls of it. We have, haven’t we?”

This is how we know the characters to be, or at least, how they end up as their relationship crumbles and their own ideal separate their paths as mutant leaders. If X-Men: First Class is debuting with the goal of becoming a new trilogy, we can hope Magneto and Professor X don’t part ways entirely in this first film.

For the fans, Fassbender also dropped some costume related tidbits, explaining that there are two Magneto helmets in the film and that the X-uniform we see in the X-Men: First Class trailer and in the photo above is only in the film for a short period of time when the characters come together as a team.

Follow us on Twitter @rob_keyes and @screenrant.

X-Men: First Class opens in theaters June 3, 2011.

Sources: MTV, Metro

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  1. So I guess there’s no Scarlet Witch.

    Fessbender is the best thing about this film and one of the few reasons why it’s going to be worth the admission ticket.

    I really hope this film is good/decent, despite the lack of continuity and random character mix.

  2. Such an amazing and diverse actor. He will def carry this movie and will be worth it just to see him as young Mags. Can’t wait for how the concentration camp scene ties in with the original too.

  3. He is good actor, and he should be great in this part, strange thing is, the more I hear about this film, the more interested I am to see it. COnsidering all the bad press this film has gotten, it might end up surprising a lot of people.

    • I am excited as well. The trailer really sold me. Plus January Jones in skimpy clothing…yeah like I can avoid that.

      • The trailer certainly did the job it was supposed to, this film has an impressive cast, a very good director, and considering the rushed shoot, it looks pretty damned awesome to me.
        Plus as you said, January Jones on the big screen, skimpy outfits, I’m there. Also, I think I’m right in saying, no 3D!

    • see im completely the opposite, everything I continue to hear makes me more sure about my choice to skip this one. So now Fox,Singer and Vaughn have decided to take away Magneto’s Children, hmmm , yeah see when is enough, enough, really its upsetting to see the franchise changed in this manner. I can understand that fox is trying to make it more of its own product by moving it farther away from the source material, but they need to call it something else. Maybe Alternate X , IDK , but anything but the X-men

      • all i heard there was… fanboy fanboy fanboy…

        get over the changes, its an adaptation to which fox has the rights to, if u dont like it DONT see it, but knowing comic fans, however bad good or ugly a film is they will go see it.

        • Dodo if you have an argument to make then make it, but stop with this stupid BS that people will see it no matter. What’s it’s the worst argument that anyone has ever made and I’m sick of people making it. YOU DO NOT KNOW what he will or won’t do.

  4. WTF so they kill off his kids? Or I should say Kid apparently. One kid instead of two and they kill the child off? The more I hear about this the more angry this film makes me at the utter lack of respect for comics. This movie is like they are saying “Comics tell horribly crappy stories so were just gonna make our own crap up because the original stuff sucks”

    I’d love to punch everyone involved in this film… Except the females that’s just wrong.

    • Dan, actually this stays very true to the comic books. Before he had twins with Magda, he had a first child, a girl, which was killed in a fire which was started by a mob. When Erik learned of that his powers showed up for the first time. That´s why his wife (who was pregnant with the twins) left him and let the kids be raised by the gypsy Django Maximoff.

      • Scape except the time frame is all screwed up and doesn’t leave room for him to actually have those kids. Also his first child wasn’t killed she was rescued and I imagine the film will just kill her off but in the comics she actually survived the fire, but he didn’t know for years.

        Also I hope you were only trying to claim this was true to the comics and not any other part of the film like the actual characters being used in the team, Emma Frosts age or Havocs age or relationship to Cyclops.

        I have a hard time getting interested in a film that shows such blatant disrespect to the comics that it can’t even be bothered to at least keep characters the same or at least more than half. The actual first class is filled with loved characters that not only comic fans love, but alot of main stream audiences know and like as well and then replace them with characters the main stream audience has never heard of and comic fans don’t even like. I mean you would be hard pressed to find fans of at least half of the characters. They should not of changed any of the characters or at least kept most of them and not done this film in the 60′s however if they felt the need they could of used characters that at least comic fans kind of liked. Would of been nice to see a decent likable character.

        • Daniel I agree with you but why is it ok to deviate from some titles and not others?

          Why is it ok for one Director/writer to create their own “universe” saying that what was in the comics has no place in their movie yet another is not permitted?

          We can all agree CERTAIN liberties need to be taken when converting a comic book to the big screen. However things like children that may or may not have an effect on the current path of the movie characters in the grand scheme of things pales in comparison when measured against other things.

          Sometimes (organic webshooters) they work. Sometimes (baby superman) they dont.

          To assume a movie (franchise) will be able span the length and history of our beloved characters is an unobtainable feat. Most have been in the media (radio/TV/Pulp/Comics) for well over 50 years, with stories based on the characters going further back then that.

          While it is nice to see what WE know as the characters on the screen there is just to much history/change etc to nail down a definitive -THIS IS IT- when it comes to them. Especially when writers/directors make major changes and it is lauded as the next best thing since sliced bread.

          Im not defending this movie. I feel it is a travesty to the history also. However I will probably enjoy it on a certain level. Much like Batman(s). I about hit the roof, reaching out and slapping Alfred for introducing everyone to the Batcave…wondering how the green power ranger showed up in a spiderman movie…how Superman reversed time…etc. ;)

          And speaking directly to the Xmen…. “The comic focused on a common human theme of good versus evil and later included storylines and themes about prejudice and racism, all of which have persisted throughout the series in one form or another. ”

          As long as a story can be told and something taken away from that story doesnt the movie succeed?

          • Aknot actually I’m usually the one defending creative liberties. To a certain extent it is needed.

            How come some can do it and others can’t? I don’t think that’s the case. It’s not about how is making the changes but how many major changes are they making?

            Superman Returns made tons of changes to the characters and to stories. It suffered from that as well.

            People like to say Nolan changed this or that, but honestly Nolan’s films are some of the most faithful. Were changes made? Of course changes have be made to a certain extent, but he had the characters almost perfect no character felt different at all from their comic counter part and he even went as far as to follow certain comics fairly closely and you can see those comics and how they inspired each film.

            Iron man was a mixture of creative liberties and faithfulness as well. I think it nailed the characters pretty well not as well as the Nolan films, but it still did a good job and while I was sad to see that they dropped a lot of the more in depth meaningfulness and emotion from the film I was happy they tried to stay semi faithful to the characters and to the origin story.

            Fantastic Four made major changes and just like Superman critically suffered for it and financially as well same goes for the Hulk film by Ang Lee.

            If a film is to faithful like Watchmen it runs the risk of financial failure even if it was critically praised, but if it takes to many liberties it runs the risk of financial failure and being panned by critics.

            Making a great comic film is about finding a balance.

            Xmen First Class has already made more changes than any film I’ve ever seen and I don’t even know everything about it yet there could possibly even more grand changes to come. They clearly are not striking a balance they are just changing things left and right and not only are they not at all trying to be faithful, but can’t even be bothered to follow their own established continuity.

            • Remember its within the film universe continuity. in x 3 they hinted at beast being apart of the school in the early days.
              cyclops, angel, jean grey, and ice man already appeared on the modern team. within the films its impossible for them to be apart of the first class.

              you wont get a true adaptation until the rights go back to marvel. which wont be for a very long time

              • Actually Tank it won’t be ever. Fox owns the rights it doesn’t simply go back to marvel. As long as they keep making x films and money the rights will never go back because they won’t have a reason to sell the rights. It’s not something anyone should actually expect to happen.

                I don’t need a true adaptation I just want to feel enough respect that they at least keep a few aspects the same.

                • yea i get ya. just sort of depressing. not when thinking about it wb is making a new supes film so they can keep the rights. so yea its depressing mabe theyll reboot it in like 10 years which hopefully would would be a good thing. but doubtful

                  • forgot to delete not*

            • However how can you see the balance until it is presented on screen? Case in point the Organic webshooters.

              Fans were livid over this yet it seemed to work. That was a major change (IMO) to Spiderman as in the comic books his intelligence level is fairly high and it IS plausible for a teenager to invent/design something such as that. Especially when in that same Universe you have Norse Gods, 1 ton Green Behemoths, nano tech suits and costumes made of unstable molecules.

              So at what point (until the movie is viewed) can you actually state “such blatant disrespect to the comics that it can’t even be bothered to at least keep characters the same” without allowing them to find that balance?

              Your initial (in this thread) issue is the killing off of one child. However you like almost every other comic fan knows that death is irrelevant. Someone could have made a mistake, said the child perished in the fire but didnt, ported the baby out using a Boom Tube (oops wrong Universe) etc.

              The killing of his child is only a catalyst in making him who he becomes. Even AFTER he may find out the truth (child survives) the character has lived that life and belief that he still truly believes in it (Homo Superior) so he is to far gone. That is the story of Magneto. He was ostracized and punished for being different. Just because he can control metal on the magnetic level does not make his overall story different. He could have been an Alien, jailed, experimented on then escapes taking it out on all mankind even though it was only a small group that acted that way towards him.

              Im not saying it will happen like this but it has happened in the comics. So what is wrong with viewing as you are reading it for the first time? Its what you see not what you know.

              Someone brought up Havok. Havok in the Ultimate U is older then Scott.

              I will disagree with you almost 100% when it comes to Nolan and Batman. Did I enjoy it? Yes. Thats why I can accept it. However to say change HAD to be made is incorrect just based on what you have said about the Xmen. Are you saying these changes to Xmen do not HAVE to be made? If so why not? Then on the other hand why did Nolan HAVE to change things in Batman?

              It is all about the vision of the director/writer then now isnt it? To say one HAS to and one does not leaves me puzzled.

              If I ask you WHY did they kill of Two Face in the movies what will your answer be?

              Then I ask you WHY are they killing off Eriks first born what will your answer be?

              Both are major changes that were made to the story of that particular character correct? Two Face is alive and well in the books as is by your post the first born of Erik.

              So why would you be up in arms about one but not the other? Just because it fits Nolans “vision/universe”? Well what about Vaughns vision and where he wants to take the Xmen Universe?

              • Aknot

                I really enjoy reading your posts/views on cinema, I find them insightful. Bravo!

              • Aknot their is a difference between changing the web shooters and changing the character. This isn’t the same thing this is like putting Aunt May in Spiderman’s suit and making Peter Parker her father. This is not a webshooter issue.

                You can see the ballance has not been struck since 90% of the characters are the wrong characters. Their the wrong ages and the wrong relations to other characters. This isn’t just a simple “Oh they changed the webshooter” issue.

              • Also I’m not saying each specific change that was made has to be made I’m saying that changes in general have to be made because true adaptations don’t work well on film and certainly don’t profit much if history taught us anything. Also most studios will not allow it from what I’ve heard. So changes will have to be made, but you cant change to much you can’t make the wrong characters be playing the wrong parts.

                I don’t care who’s vision or universe it fits. The point is that Nolan had a ballance he changed things, but never lost site of the characters or the stories. Every character was who they were suppose to be every story was absolutely inspired by the comics and specific stories.

                Until nolan makes a film where Alfred suits up as batman and bruce is his younger brother you can’t compare the two.

        • Dan, The time frame doesn´t leave room for wife to be pregnant when the first child was killed?

          I agree on the messed up continuity, but you liked the first two X-Men movies, didn´t you? Jean was older than Cyclops in these films, did you complain about that?
          I also agree on the lesser known characters like Angel. But I always wanted to see Havok, and now he´s in the film. We´ll have to wait and see how they´ll explain that issue.

          • Scape I’ve said it a thousand times a few changes are ok, but ultiatly the first two films got the characters right and stayed true to the comics tone and style not to mention we actually got the real xmen as in Cyclops, Jean, Rogue, Wolverine and not a bunch of misfit x characters that absolutely no one cares about and some have not even heard of.

            Also I don’t believe they ever said Jean was older than Cyclops in the films the actress may have been older, but that does not at all mean that the character was. Even if she was it would of only been a hand full of years there is a big difference between a character being 3 years older than someone and being almost 20 years older.

            Did you always wanna see havoc but not him being havoc? Because havoc Scotts younger brother is not in this film.

            • I wouldn´t call Xavier, Beast, Mystique and Magneto as a bunch of misfits. I think a lot of people want to see how these geezers (Xavier and Magneto) from the first 3 films became who they are now. It may not be very close to the source material, but at least it´s in the movies continuity. Someone (I think it was Kevin Feige but I´m not sure) said that XO:W is not anymore part of the movies canon, so the Emma Frost issue is no longer a problem.
              Havok is the only anomaly.

              • What is the Havok anomally you speak of? The age difference?

                • thats not an age difference its generational difference and it would also make it impossible for them to be siblings. So the real question who is Havoc suppose to be , maybe he isnt Alex Summers, father as rumored, uncle that doesnt exist, who ?

              • Scape I’ve been reading all the X news and have not seen the article where anyone said XOW wasn’t official. Got a link?

                I’m thinking you might not be remembering correctly or got it from a bad source.

                • I can´t find a link. I think I might have read it on screenrant, but I´m not sure. Maybe it was one of the commenters, I don´t know. It´s been a while. But it would make sense. Maybe that´s why they didn´t call FC X-Men: Origins to avoid a connetion to XO:W…

        • @ Daniel F

          Don’t take this the wrong way, but im surprised it would bother you that much when you critized me on my thoughts about Ledger’s Joker appearance wasn’t as true to his comic counter-part appearances by wearing war paint or cutting a smile on himself etc. or even Bruce Wayne being trained by Ras Al’ Ghoul in Batman Begins when in the comics he wasn’t.

          • Wally for the 15th time in this thread. Some changes are ok, just as long as you don’t change everything. I’ve already said that I usually support changes.

            I’m not mad that they changed things I’m mad at how much they changed. I mad that they went as far as to get rid of the entire original team. I’m mad they decided to stick me with a bunch of crap character I have no interest in.

            Once again for the cheap sheat. I don’t hate changes in general i hate to many changes and that’s what this is.

            Nolan films didn’t change all that much no matter how you want to claim they did. Joker was still the same character the only thing to really change was his physical appearance and it wasn’t some big shocking change and one shots from the past have made him look pretty much the same anyway so it wasn’t anything.

            I’m more mad that they changed 90% of the characters and no only did they change them, but replaced them with horribly dull characters. Not only did they do that, but they screwed up their ages and their relationships to other characters.

  5. I like his attitude towards this role. I want to see more of him. Or hear more of him. I want to hear what he sounds like as Magneto.

    • yh

  6. I’m hoping Erik and Charles remain partners at the end of this film. I’d like to see the disintegration of their friendship be more than a sub-plot. We need to see how they were such good friends to really feel the pain of the betrayal/break-up. (That’s where George Lucas went wrong in his prequels. We hear about the closeness of Anakin and Obi-Wan but we never see it. It makes Mustafa just a long light show.) I really want to care about these characters.

  7. His quotes could also be very ambiguous. I know he says the child dies but that maybe just as he knows it in the film. Can’t give to much away before it’s out.

    • I was thinking the same thing — especially since he seems so very wrapped up in the role. It’s almost as if he’s adapted some of Magneto’s thoughts as his own, which also leaves me very impressed by him as an actor — he’s selling the show VERY well.

  8. The more I see and read about this film, the more excited I am to see it.

  9. Terrible. My only hope is for Joss Whedon and the Avengers.

  10. I just wish that they would change the Title and call it Xmen origins: Xavier or the other mutants. They already made it clear they dont care about the fans opinion, so to those who want to see it,cool, but for the rest of us that are going to pass we can always hope The Wolverine will be good. Its just sad cause as and X fan it feels like its finally over for the Franchise in the movies for me. Im not saying this will be the last cause it wont be, cause like with X3 and XO:W people will still go see it and it will make money, but that doesnt mean its good, but it does mean there will be another one in the future. Unfortunately it stopped being an X men franchise for me.

    • I think they should just call it X-Men:Origins.

    • First Class…

      maybe its a reference to the level of quality on the x-jet?
      dont go hating on the movie before its even out.

      the first movie had NOTHING to do with any thing that ever went on in the comics, and it was still good. Rogue wasn’t mystiques adoptive daughter, iceman was 20 years younger than he should be, Jean was too weak at that stage of her life, Magneto never actually made a machine that turned humans into mutants, wolverine was too tall, xavier was british, angel was nowhere to be seen, Jean Grey was a doctor, Mystique was scaly, and cyclops was an ass who let wolvie steal the show.

      YET… YET… YET
      it was still good


      Emma frost is 20 years too young/appears 20 years earlier than what she should have (was that chick in XMOW Emma anyway? she just protruded diamonds from her skin, not a full blown transformation), Havok is older than cyclops, jean/scott/angel/iceman no where to be seen.

      if anything, the movie that borrowed the most from the comics was the third one incorporating the Gifted and DPS story arcs: and we all know how that blew

  11. The more that comes out about this film the more skeptical I am about how it’s going to turn out. The fact that they have talked openly about the time constraints on the shoot is never a sign of anything good, I don’t care what type of movie it is. Also this whole stance of Singer and Vaughn that X-3 and Wolverine didn’t happen or they aren’t acknowledging part or all of those movies just makes fan less likely to get invested in this movie as well.

    This as far as I can tell has nothing to do with the comics aside from using licensed characters from the comic series over the years and the tone of Singer and Vaughn seems to indicate they want to distance themselves from the last two movies. Problem is this is still seen as a series and Singer did set up some of the narrative that lead into the last two films that they seem to hate so much. Fact is though Singer himself did not do a great job with allot of the characters in the first two movies and then left to re-invent Superman, for what that was worth.

    I don’t know if they are trying to start over or do some retcon fixes to a series that everyone has had hand in messing up but, if Singer does the same thing he did with the first two X-Men movies with allot of the characters and plot lines with this one then these movies are going to be in the disregard pile as well.