Michael Fassbender recently participated in an interview with GQ magazine and spoke about his role in Prometheus and mentioned the unlikely source of inspiration for his role beiong that of olympic diver Greg Louganis:
Fassbender on the visuals he got of David as he read the Prometheus script: “For some reason I got this visual image of Greg Louganis walking toward the end of a high diving block… This economy of movement. Total efficiency. If you’re going to move your hand, it’s for a reason. I thought it would suit the character of a robot—everything is totally relaxed, until you need to pick something up and move it over here.”
On almost giving David a South African accent after a (joking) suggestion from Charlize Theron: ”I just thought [the South African] accent was so unusual. For me the accent is like German in a way—very masculine, very precise, but also kind of clunky, something off about the rhythm which I thought would maybe translate quite well to the robot.”
On expressing the idea to Ridley Scott: ”‘He started laughing,’ Fassbendersays, ‘and I was ‘No, no, no, I’m serious.’ And I could see the fear in his eyes. But full credit to him.’ Scott and Fassbender made a deal—they agreed that they would start shooting and, for the moment, capture two versions of each piece of dialogue: one with a South African accent, one with a clipped English accent… Fassbender says that Ridley Scott patiently filmed the movie with these dual English and South African dialogue versions for about two weeks, until one day Fassbender came up to him. ‘I’ll kill the South African, shall I?’ Fassbender asked, as though it was no big deal.”
That’s surprising insight into the film making process. I love when information such as this is shared with the rest of and it leaves us to wonder exactly how different we would have interpreted him with a South African accent. Personally I’ll always compare android performances to that of Brent Spiner’s' Lieutenant Commander Data.