Director Lenny Abrahamson debuts this new side of Fassbender in his film Frank, which follows the story of a young musician who finds himself in a pop band lead by the one and only Frank. In an interview with Paste, Abrahamson discussed the inspiration for the film and what it was like working with a masked character.
Fassbender’s role is actually based on a character from the 80’s named Frank Sidebottom portrayed by Chris Sievey. “The name Frank comes from this extraordinary British character Frank Sidebottom. He wore this kind of mad fake head and visually he bears a strong resemblance to Frank. So where this all came from, is John Ronson one of the writers, had been in Frank Sidebottom’s band, so that started him thinking about characters. He was working on another film with Peter Straughan called The Men Who Stare at Goats, which is based on a John Ronson book. They started talking about this and they came up with this kind of fabulous character of Frank.”
Abrahamson mentioned that, although there was some concern at first if an audience would be able to follow a character in a fake head the entire film, he feels they were able to pull the feat off in an effective way. “You really love Frank pretty quickly in the film; you really care about him. When we were starting to work we could look at the dailies from the first day and go ‘The head doesn’t work.’ At which point we’d have to make a new film. But actually it does, and it’s remarkable how well it works. And you take a face that people want to see and photograph and you hide it.”
The film isn’t just about a guy in a fake head – it’s about a mad sort of creativity. “The film plays with ideas of what makes somebody creative. And it hides the main creative force of the film behind the mask. And encourages us to make our speculations as well. I won’t say where the film goes in the end, but it’s just something interesting with those ideas I believe, and kind of turns them on their head.” (Paste)