Following the Oct. 6 NYFF Press Screening of “Shame,” director Steve McQueen and star Michael Fassbender sat down to discuss their latest collaboration.
For British director Steve McQueen, there was no better place than New York to shoot his film that portrays the life of a 30-something sex addict. Commenting on how wonderful the local New York crew was, McQueen went on to explain how exploring the theme of sex addiction in New York provided access into those who most fully understand and suffer from the affliction.
“Sex addiction is just another outlet people are finding to get a high,” said McQueen, “and it’s not a fantasy – it’s a fact, and it’s happening in New York and London and all over the world right now.”
Fassbender, who aspires for a Scorsese/Deniro or Lumet/Pacino director-actor relationship with McQueen, said his first film with the British Director (Hunger, NYFF '08), changed his life. “Coming into my 30s, with the recession around the corner, there were less jobs for fewer and fewer actors and Steve really took a chance on me.”
The film, which was picked up by Fox Searchlight, often approaches its themes through a presentation of painful, awkward and uncomfortable situations. “Shame is all about human contact,” said McQueen. “Contact, communication and tenderness are what it takes to feel alive.” Starring alongside Carey Mulligan, Fassbender said he tried to articulate these notions through gesture.
“Even when I’m not speaking, there is always a perpetual subtext,” Fassbender said. “There was a strong sense of ‘unsuredness’ in my interactions with other characters, and so even when I wasn’t saying anything, I tried to communicate this unidentifiable tension.”
In this video Fasbender discusses the sibling relationship between his and Mulligan's characters and his process for acting with little to no dialogue:
Video by Ahmed Khawaja.