Michael Fassbender is truly dedicated to his craft. On Friday night, during the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, Fassbender took up the shaggy mantle of the Dude, portrayed by Jeff Bridges in the Coen brothers’ classic The Big Lebowski, as part of Jason Reitman’s live script-reading series. To get into character, Fassbender donned a pair of roughed-up shorts and a slouchy sweater and toked three J. Law–rolled cigarettes — the kind that may or may not have been packed with the Devil’s lettuce — during the read. “I think Fassbender went a little too Method on this one,” said Patton Oswalt, who played John Goodman’s bombastic Vietnam vet Walter. “I hope TMZ isn’t here.”
Because Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Apocalypse is filming in Montreal, Fassbender and co-star Jennifer Lawrence were tapped for Reitman’s live-read. Lawrence portrayed Julianne Moore’s Maude. Dennis Quaid played the wheelchair-bound Lebowski, and Mae Whitman played Steve Buscemi’s Donny as well as the incompetent nihilists. A gaggle of Silicon Valley actors played supporting roles, including T.J. Miller as Brandt, played in the film by the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman; Martin Starr as John Turturro’s Jesus, with whom you don’t fuck with; and showrunner Mike Judge as Sam Elliott’s Stranger.
The famously tense Fassbender, who does in fact dabble in Method-acting tendencies, hasn’t seemed so relaxed in a role in a long time; the would-be detective stoner with an affinity for White Russians is a far cry from Fassbender’s recent roles as a Holocaust survivor turned mutant rebel, insane slave owner, sex addict, and Macbeth. Oswalt, definitely not a Method actor, did break character once, to ask Reitman if he could use the infamous edited-for-TV dialogue from the scene in which Walter smashes up the wrong car: “Do you see what happens when you meet a stranger in the Alps?!”