Before Michael Fassbender loses control of the 340-horsepower Mustang GT the two of us are riding in, before I learn what it is to watch the world fade into a rotating blur of life-threatening objects—wall, wall, other car, wall—I walk into the lobby of a racetrack thirty miles outside Montreal, only to discover the wrong X-Man waiting for me. It’s supposed to be Fassbender, up here in Canada shooting X-Men: Days of Future Past, meeting me at this track. That was the plan. And for a moment I think Fassbender is indeed the man I’m looking at, except the man I’m looking at is shorter and more cuddly than I had been led to believe, his hair longer, his stubble red, his eyes pale blue-green.
He leans against a counter, talking animatedly with a track attendant in a rich Scottish brogue, looking and sounding altogether like…
I walk back outside and then back inside, like: Maybe this time it will be the right X-Man.
Nope. Definitely James McAvoy. Young playboy Professor X to Fassbender’s swinging-’60s Magneto in X-Men: First Class.
My phone buzzes. The accent is Irish this time. The actual Michael Fassbender, calling to tell me he’s in traffic. He’ll be here soon, he says apologetically.
We’re northwest of the city, where the land flattens out—long low barns, wildflowers, fields like line drawings. It’s a Sunday morning in early August, the weather unseasonably cool. The racetrack is here at Montreal’s enormous second airport, Mirabel, built in the ’70s and abandoned three decades later. Cargo planes still fly in and out. But that’s more or less it, except for the Circuit ICAR racetrack—built right out by the runway, 2.11 miles long, sixteen increasingly sharp, increasingly terrifying turns.
McAvoy is waiting for Fassbender, too. They were out the night before—they’ve been in Canada together since April, reprising their X-Men roles—and they’re both car guys, so Fassbender invited him along. McAvoy acknowledges it must’ve been disorienting for me to find him standing in the lobby instead of the guy I’m supposed to meet.
"We’ve decided to switch names and identities and schedules for the week," McAvoy says, running with it. His accent goes full Fassbender. "Growing up in Ireland…"
McAvoy gets pretty far into the joke, narrating the Fassbender biography. The actor’s birth in Germany. His childhood in Ireland. His lonely teenage metal-nerd years. McAvoy doesn’t come right up to Fassbender’s glittering envy-of-the-industry present, to this fall’s 12 Years a Slave—directed by longtime Fassbender collaborator-slash-soul-extractor Steve McQueen, in the most harrowing installment of the three harrowing films they’ve made together—or his other, less art-house-y new movie, The Counselor, from Cormac McCarthy’s second-ever original screenplay, about a drug deal gone spectacularly wrong, with Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz and Brad Pitt and Cameron Diaz and directed by Ridley Scott. But McAvoy comes pretty close, tracing Fassbender’s uncommonly gradual climb up the slippery, desperate slopes of Mount Hollywood, before he’s interrupted.
Fassbender walks in. He’s in bright green Adidas track pants and a black T-shirt, hair sticking up everywhere, eyes bleary and barely open. He looks as if someone rolled his body the thirty miles out from Montreal and he woke up on mile twenty-nine. It’s hard to tell if he’s badly hungover or just rakish. He greets McAvoy with a fraternal hug, shakes my hand. “Bloody traffic,” he says cheerfully.
The whole interview here :)