Michael Fassbender dishes on storytelling


Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Michael K. Williams and director, Justin Kurzel, graced the BUILD Series stage to discuss their upcoming video-game-turned-movie, "Assassin's Creed." The film's premise? Through the use of technology, Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) is able to experience the adventures of his ancestor, Aguilar, in 15th Century Spain. Callum discovers he is descended from a mysterious secret society, the Assassins.

According to Fassbender, some characters believe in science, order and enslavement while others believe free will should be protected at all costs. "In the middle of this," he explained, referring to the power struggle within the "Assassin's Creed" universe, "you've got this concept of genetic memory that within our DNA we have the experience and knowledge of our ancestors passed down through the generations as a sort of survival tool. Something that we might describe as a sixth sense, is not feeling or an instinct. It is actually in our DNA," Fassbender concluded.

Here's what else we learned from the upcoming film's cast and director at their BUILD Series discussion of their highly anticipated movie.

1. Why "Assassin's Creed?"
For the film's director, Justin Kurzel, it was the film's premise. "The idea of being connected to past experiences and having some sort of relationship to your ancestors' experiences is a neat idea," he shared with the BUILD live studio audience. His greatest challenge? "To be able to weave a narrative that is going to be engaging but also has ideas behind it that are really strong."

2. Fassbender's work in "Assassin's Creed" is not limited to on-camera.
​​​​In addition to his starring role of Callum, Fassbender worked as a producer on the film. Is directing next? "I'd like to try it," Fassbender confessed. "I always wanted to direct since I was 18. I would like to do it at some point hopefully in the next couple of years."

3. Fassbender does not consider himself an artist.
I've never really considered myself an artist to be honest," he shared on BUILD. "I've always considered myself as a craftsperson. I don't think 'Okay, you know, let's keep an artist integrity.' With something like 'Assassin's Creed,' I just wanted it to be good. I just wanted to be entertaining, to be challenging, provocative to you know on the only one you know on the surface to be an entertaining right but then to have a bit of sort of depth."

4. Marion Cotillard is proud to play her character, Sofia.
"I love the idea she's a scientist focused on her goal. She dedicated her life to this. At the same time, there's something very human in the way she is emotionally connected to the people she works with and uses." Cotillard also spoke highly of the female character Maria (played by Ariane Labed), crediting the film's director for such strong roles for women. "This is all the talent of [director] Justin who could find humanity in the broken chair. That's why I love working with him. He finds humanity in everything he does and everything he wants to share."

5. Michael K. Williams broke out in Hollywood thanks to his dance skills. But did they come in handy shooting "Assassin's Creed?"
Michael K. Williams: "Yeah, I needed it. However, the stunts and type of fighting I was called to do for 'Assassin's Creed' was like nothing I'd ever done before. This stuff is so precise because it's martial arts, using weapons. It has to be poetic. The movements have to be fluid and poetic, like a ballet. I'm just a street dancer. The technical aspect was extremely challenging."

6. Michael Fassbender loves Comic-Con.
Michael Fassbender: "Speaking of Comic-Con, you go to that festival and it's it's just such a buzz. It's one of the few festivals that you go to that actually belong to the fans and we're just guests there. It's a pretty overwhelming experience."

7. Is there CGI? Barely.
"In terms of CGI, it was basically in the external stuff," Kurzel revealed "In terms of the stuff we shot in Malta, Spain- that's all happening in real locations. Obviously, we had to scrub out certain things that are not of the time period.. but that's all real stuff happening there."

8. Fassbender was born to be a storyteller.
"That's all I care about, good storytelling. I think coming from [Ireland] the one thing that we do well. Well, we do other things well, but we've got a rich history in storytelling. Whether it's in songs poetry or screen plays and playwright, it's something that we grew up around. So, storytelling for me, is the most important thing. To tell a story, whether it's in a television media or it's on the big screen or it's a something like ['Assassin's Creed'] which is a sort of high-concept type sort of fantasy ride or it's a small film like 'Hunger.' I just love hearing stories and I like to tell them."

9. Jeremy Irons was emotional at the end of shooting.
Jeremy Irons: "I couldn't believe at the end how emotional I felt at the end of this movie. It wasn't really because I was in it. It was just the movie. It's something you do, the story. You feel really emotional. That happens not too often, you know, in these big movies."

10. There just may be another "Assassin's Creed" movie.
Michael Fassbender: "Secrets Secrets. We do have an idea where we're going to be going next if we get the opportunity to go somewhere next. When we started writing the first one we had an arc over three films so we do have an idea, can't tell you anything about it though!"