Navigating The Animus: A Conversation with Michael Fassbender for the Release of ASSASSIN’S CREED
Based on the blockbuster video game series from Ubisoft, ASSASSIN’S CREED is a visionary new take on the action-adventure genre. In this worlds-spanning tale, one man finds himself at the centre of an ancient battle between two powerful sects. Only by harnessing the memories of his ancestor, which are contained within his own DNA, can he end the conflict and claim his own redemption.
Academy Award® nominee Michael Fassbender (X-Men: Days of Future Past, 12 Years a Slave) plays Cal Lynch, a convict facing capital punishment, when he gains an unexpected second chance at life thanks to the mysterious workings of Abstergo Industries. Through a revolutionary technology that unlocks the genetic memories contained in his DNA, Cal is sent back across the centuries to 15th Century Spain. There, he lives out the experiences of his distant relative, Aguilar de Nerha, a member of a secret society known as the Assassins who fight to protect free will from the power-hungry Knights Templar. Transformed by the past, Cal begins to gain the knowledge and physical skills necessary to topple the oppressive Templar organisation in present day.
ASSASSIN’S CREED also stars Academy Award® winner Marion Cotillard (The Dark Knight Rises, La Vie en Rose), Academy Award® winner Jeremy Iron (Reversal of Fortune, Die Hard: With a Vengence), Brendan Gleeson (Far and Away, Braveheart) and Michael K. Williams (12 Years a Slave, The Wire). The film is directed by Australian director Justin Kurzel (Snowtown, Macbeth). In addition to his acting role in ASSASSIN’S CREED, Fassbender also served as a producer on the film.
ASSASSIN’S CREED marks an exciting reteaming for Fassbender, Cotillard and Kurzel who previously worked together on William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, which was nominated for the Palme D’Or, with Fassbender in the title role. Fassbender’s other credits include The Light Between Oceans, Hunger, and the upcoming Alien: Covenant.
How rigorous was the training that you had to do for ASSASSIN’S CREED?
It was a huge part of it to get in shape and to understand the parkour elements of the game and to bring that to the screen. I did a crash course in parkour and then there was physical conditioning every day in the gym, five days a week and then working with the stunt team and working on fight choreography. It was very important for myself, the director Justin Kurzel and Ariane Labed who plays Maria, that we have the actors do as much of the fighting as possible. We probably did 95% of it in the film.
What were your memories of the wagon chase scene?
In terms of working on the wagon sequence, I was lucky enough to get to do some riding. It’s always important in films like this for the audience to see the actor doing it because it helps to create the illusion and maintain it. Riding horses is something I enjoy doing. Luckily I’ve done it in a few movies now and slowly I’m getting a little bit better.
How enjoyable was it to work on the scenes that have the historical background between the Templars and the Assassins?
I think that it’s fascinating to go back through a timeline, through a sort of genetic DeLorean, this Animus, using our DNA. I totally believe in the theory that through our DNA we have the memories and experiences of our ancestors and it’s passed down through the generations to protect us. It’s like a sixth sense or a gut feeling or instinct.
THE TIME HAS COME FOR GAMERS EVERYWHERE TO EMBRACE THE CREED. ASSASSIN’S CREED IS AVAILABLE NOW ON DIGITAL DOWNLOAD AND COMES TO 4K ULTRA HD, 3D BLU-RAY™, BLU-RAY™ & DVD MAY 15