Killarney actor prepares for role as Bobby Sands...

Killarney actor Michael Fassbender is preparing to take on the physically demanding role of hunger striker Bobby Sands in a new blockbuster movie being made by Channel 4.

Fassbender is already on the verge of major success both in the US and throughout the world after his latest film smashed box office records in America.

The film, called 300, is a graphic retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae in 480BC when 300 Spartan warriors held out against an army of Persians in one of history's greatest last stands.

Fassbender plays Spartan warrior Stelios in the movie that took in more than $70 million at the US box office at the weekend.

Those figures shattered the record for the biggest March opening ever and scored the third biggest opening for an over 18s-rated movie debut.

The film comes from the same producers that created Sin City, another recent movie hit that was adapted from a comic book.

The Killarney man's star continues to rise and he is now preparing to take on the demanding role of IRA prisoner and hunger striker Bobby Sands.

The film is based on the last six weeks the Irish republican's life in 1981 at the Maze Prison in Belfast, where he was imprisoned for possession of firearms.

An elected MP at the time of his death, as well as a poet and writer, Sands died, aged 27, after 66 days during which he refused to take food. He has been heralded as a martyr to the republican cause.

Fassbender, whose parents run the West End Restaurant in Killarney, is currently based in Los Angeles but returns home to Kerry as often as possible.

He is currently preparing for the physical demands that will be placed on him during filming which is expected to begin in the summer.

Meanwhile another of Fassbender's films, Angel, which co-stars Sam Neill and Charlotte Rampling, has just had its premiere in Paris.

The Killarney actor is also understood to be currently working on a US film in Romania.

Meanwhile, 300 has its London premier on Thursday and goes on cinema release in Ireland on Friday, 23 March.