Michael Fassbender rushes to Western film ‘Slow West’

Michael Fassbender is set to play Macbeth and Steve Jobs on the big screen later this year, so “Slow West,” …

Michael Fassbender is set to play Macbeth and Steve Jobs on the big screen later this year, so “Slow West,” a whimsical western in which he doesn’t appear as an iconic figure, might be seen as something of a calm before the storm.

There’s no distinguishing it from those higher profile projects, according to the Oscar nominee.

“I search for interesting stuff, good stories, it doesn’t become any more complicated than that,” Fassbender says.

It really is all about the art for the 38-year-old, hailed for his intensity in movies ranging from “12 Years a Slave” to the newest generation of “X-Men” films.

He first rose to prominence in edgy independent films such as “Hunger” and “Fish Tank” and is cognizant of the fact that today, when it comes to a film like “Slow West,” “I’m in a very privileged position that I can get a small film like that made.”

“The percentile, I don’t know exactly what it is, but it’s very small to be in the position that I’m in, in an industry like this,” he adds. “I’m grateful every day.”

In this case, Fassbender had collaborated with director John Maclean on two short films, and was committed to do whatever feature Maclean planned to make.

“Slow West” is a western and another chapter in a genre that has seen something of a resurgence in recent years. Fassbender plays the hardened gunslinger type, a man named Silas Selleck, who leads protagonist Jay (Kodi Smit-McPhee) through the harsh frontier on a bid to reunite with his long lost love.

“It’s like a fairy tale,” Fassbender says. “It’s told like a fairy tale that just happens to be in a western genre. Ben Mendelson’s the big bad wolf. Jay’s wandering along as our protagonist through a hazardous new land, in a quest to find his love.”

Still, there won’t be anyone obsessively comparing the fictional Silas Selleck with a real-life counterpart. The same can’t be said for Fassbender’s upcoming performance in Danny Boyle’s much anticipated “Steve Jobs.”

There are nerves about playing such an important figure, Fassbender says, but “you can’t be dictated by those feelings. I can’t be. I don’t want to be dictated by those things. They’re alive and they’re well, but if I’m in this, and I’m doing this, and I’ve been given the opportunity to do this, then I’ve got to go all the way and challenge myself. Otherwise, I’m not going to learn.”

Robert Levin