Michael Fassbender & Domhnall Gleeson: ‘Frank’ is not ‘X-Men’ or ‘Star Wars’

08.11.14 3 years ago

Michael Fassbender and Domhnall Gleeson are no strangers to big event movies.  However, their latest film, “Frank,” does not fall into that category.  Directed by Lenny Abrahamson, and also starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, the movie is an off-beat comedy loosely inspired by Frank Sidebottom, but it is its own tale.

Here, Gleeson plays a would-be keyboardist, Jon, who finds himself with a gig in a band when the previous keyboardist has a breakdown.  A relatively normal guy, Jon soon meets the enigmatic, odd, leader of the band, Frank (Fassbender), who, it must be noted, wears a huge fake head all the time.

As perhaps should not be surprising in a band where the leader wears a huge fake head, Jon finds that Frank and company are not terribly invested in making popular, catchy, or even very accessible music.  Still, being in a band, Jon is loathe to quit and he soon finds himself secluded with them as they prepare an album.

“Frank” shows a push-and-pull between the commercial and the artistic as Jon attempts to move the band in a direction that they don't really wish to go for reasons that Jon simply cannot understand.  All the while, Jon is vaguely obsessed with seeing what is under Frank's fake head.

The movie is a comedy, but not one without heart and some very serious moments.  It is, as noted, very different from some of Gleeson and Fassbender's other endeavors, as the two men are currently involved with very large movie franchises.

Fassbender, of course, plays the younger version of Magneto in the “X-Men” films while Gleeson appeared in both “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” movies and has a role in the upcoming “Star Wars: Episode VII.”  “Frank,” telling a much smaller, much quirkier, much less special effect-intensive movie, is a whole other kettle of fish.

The two men, recently sat down with HitFix to talk about “Frank.”   Part of the discussion revolved around the differences between doing one of those big event films and being a part of this comedy, and whether those differences ought to exist.

“The process should be exactly the same,” Gleeson explained.  He added that however true it may be that there ought to be no difference, “Sometimes I find it difficult to remember that.” 

As Gleeson said, it does take longer on something like a “Star Wars” to setup each shot and there's more money involved in each shot, but that, “Shouldn't change the fact that anything should be allowed to happen once they say 'Action,' that it's ours,” once the cameras roll.

Fassbender agreed with Gleeson.   He closed by explaining that unlike in a smaller film, in an event movie, “Sometimes, maybe, the performance is just another piece of something that's a lot larger.”

“Frank” is unquestionably all about the performance, whether it's about the band performing on stage or the actors performing the characters.  That might be a difficult thing to accomplish when you're wearing a huge fake head, but Fassbender manages nonetheless.

 You can see the performances yourself when the movie opens in theaters this Friday, August 15th.

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