Brad Pitt (left) and Michael Fassbender
10/10/2013 AT 12:30 PM EDT
For Michael Fassbender
, meeting and working with Brad Pitt
on 2009's Inglourious Basterds
was a life-changing experience.
"Brad is a wonderful human being who has a generous soul," Fassbender, 36, told PEOPLE at Wednesday's Cinema Society and Emporio Armani screening of his new film The Counselor
in New York. "I have a lot of reasons to thank him. He has always been a real champion for me."
In addition to The Counselor
, the Irish-German actor reteams with his Basterds
costar in the Oscar-buzzy movie 12 Years a Slave
, opening Oct. 18.
"After we first worked together, he was talking to a lot of people in Hollywood about me, and I really thank him for doing that," says the brooding X-Men
"Brad not only supported me, but he also encouraged and helped other young talent. He is one of those guys that we need in the industry."
Fassbender adds, "12 Years a Slave
wouldn't have happened without Brad and his company, Plan B. I'm very grateful that he became a part of it."
Now that the two hunks have become close professional colleagues, is there a possible bromance brewing between them?
"I don't know about that, because he never returns my phone calls or emails," Fassbender joked. "I've been following him ever since. I'm trying to get involved in any film he's doing so I can be with him!"