With his new film Frank, Michael Fassbender continues to make unusual choices, refusing to take roles that would guarantee him box office success. But he's managing to break the mould by achieving that success anyway.

FrankMichael Fassbender as 'Frank'

The title role in Frank doesn't seem like the kind of character a top actor would want to play: he wears a giant papier-mache head through almost all of the film. But the actor's notable physicality and expressive voice bring the character to life in an uncanny way. So it almost seems like the logical follow-up to his Oscar-nominated role in 12 Years a Slave.

But then, Fassbender has never been one to do what's expected of him. "I just thought Frank would be a fun thing to do," he explains. "I read the script and laughed out loud. I loved it; it's mad! And wearing a mask is liberating."

More: For Michael Fassbender, 'Frank' mask for both freeing and claustrophobic

After a series of TV roles, Fassbender finally broke through with a muscled-up role in 300 (2006) before linking up with Steve McQueen for all three of his films: Hunger, Shame and of course 12 Years a Slave, in which he cemented his preference for sinister roles. See also his vile stepdad in Fish Tank and desperate hitman in Haywire. Not to mention assuming the villainous Magneto mantel from Ian McKellen in X-men: First Class and playing creepy robot David in Ridley Scott's Prometheus (he'll be back for the sequel). He's also worked with Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds), Cronenberg (A Dangerous Method) and Malick (an untitled forthcoming project), and he's just shot a new movie version of Shakespeare's violent tragedy Macbeth.

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The fact is that Fassbender has an innate charm that works on both women and men, making him impossible to ignore. And if he keeps making offbeat film choices, he's bound to have a long, fascinating career. Apparently, Daniel Radcliffe chooses his roles by asking, "What would Michael Fassbender do?" Not a bad idea at all.