HOLLYWOOD – Say the word “Cherik” to Michael Fassbender at the “Dark Phoenix” premiere, and he’ll smile
The term – a fan-made word that combines his character “Erik” (aka Magneto), with James McAvoy’s Professor “Charles” Xavier – is one that shippers have long used to label the two mutants’ relationship. (Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart play older versions of the characters in X-Men movies.)
Fassbender and McAvoy have inadvertently starred in Cherik fan art and fan fiction for years, but in the latest and perhaps last X-Men movie “Dark Phoenix,” the so-called “old friends” get to have an onscreen conclusion that should please fans (in an otherwise forgettable movie).
“I’ve loved playing the part,” Fassbender says. “I love the relationship between Erik and Charles because it’s quite sophisticated. They can go to war with one another and they can sit down and play a game of chess.”
Charles Xavier (James McAvoy, left) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) have had a complicated relationship throughout the X-Men franchise. Here, they one of many games of chess in "X-Men: First Class." (Photo: Murray Close, 20th Century Fox)
The two pals/adversaries have done much of both throughout the course of the movies, and have had plenty of palpable onscreen chemistry the whole time.
Cherik’s relationship is clearly a strong one. Could it be something more than platonic?
“I like the questions, I like the speculation, and certainly James and Michael like to play into it and the whole cast, too,” says Hutch Parker, who’s produced the X-Men movies since “X2: X-Men United.”
“I think it does speak to part of what’s unique about the X-Men: They give you much more complex characters and relationships. They’re not easily pigeonholed in any given way and you get to see them make turns that we recognize from life,” Parker says.
The bond between the two men with drastically different political approaches (Erik thinks mutants should be considered a superior class and Charles is more for integration with non-mutants) is, as Fassbender puts it, “complicated.”
Michael Fassbender’s thoughts on #Cherikpic.twitter.com/3zIOpC8Woz
Parker adds, “I kinda love it because it is the core philosophical debate that underpins the whole franchise.”
Fassbender says this about the two characters: “In a way, they’re kind of interdependent. In my opinion, Charles is sort of Erik’s best friend. Maybe his only friend.”
And in real life, Fassbender and McAvoy are actual buds. “I’ve known him now 20 years. We worked together, first of all, on ‘Band of Brothers,'” says Fassbender. “We had a great time working together and had a really nice friendship.”
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