WHATEVER Steve McQueen does next, the chances are Michael Fassbender will be by his side.
The 12 Years A Slave star, who has appeared in McQueen's last three films, has no doubt about the importance of their partnership – the German-born actor admits the director "changed" his life.
Fassbender, who grew up in Ireland and lives in east London, has become one of Hollywood's biggest stars, but almost slept through his first TV acting job when he fell asleep on the operating table while playing a patient in Holby City.
The film industry really woke up to his talent when it saw his performance as IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands in McQueen's 2008 film Hunger.
He went on a drastic diet for the role, getting his weight down to nine stone, and wowed the critics in the process.
Fassbender, the son of a German father and Irish mother, reunited with McQueen for Shame where he co-starred with Carey Mulligan and played a sex addict.
Other roles include Mr Rochester in Jane Eyre, Magneto in X-Men: First Class and an android in the sci-fi epic Prometheus, but it is his work with McQueen that impresses the most.
At the 2011 London premiere of Shame, he joked that he "liked the pain" of working with McQueen before paying him a fulsome tribute.
He said: "The fact of the matter is, Steve changed my life.
"I want to keep learning in this game and if I can keep working with people like, and especially, Steve, then I'm happy.'
"Steve and I have a really good understanding. We are on the same page, we see things in the same light and we want to take risks and stretch boundaries."