Sept. 5 - Irish star Michael Fassbender plays a sex addict in British director Steve McQueen's ''Shame'', which is vying for the top prize at the Venice film festival. Lisa Giles-Keddie reports.
Up-and-coming Irish actor Michael Fassbender plays a sex addict in "Shame", a movie by British video artist Steve McQueen that is vying for the top prize at the Venice film festival. It's the second lead role for Fassbender in a competition movie at this year's festival after his portrayal of psychoanalyst Carl Jung in David Cronenberg's "A Dangerous Method." In "Shame", Fassbender plays Brandon, a handsome, 30-something executive living in New York whose only distraction from work is seducing women, masturbating at home or in the office and looking for sex on the Internet. The tightly controlled rhythm of his life begins to fall apart when his needy, dysfunctional sister Sissy, played by Carey Mulligan, arrives for an unannounced visit. Fassbender who was warmly applauded for his portrayal of Brandon said taking part in the film's graphic sex scenes was not easy. SOUNDBITE: Michael Fassbender, actor, saying (English) "Yes (it was) uncomfortable doing the sex scenes, you just have to jump and turn really. You know, the most important thing I suppose is just to make sure that everybody involved is as comfortable as you can be. And then just sort of go for it so you don't have to do too many takes." Fassbender also starred in McQueen's widely acclaimed debut film "Hunger" about the last months of Irish Republican Army activist Bobby Sands in Belfast's Maze prison. McQueen said he saw similarities between the two films. SOUNDBITE: Steve McQueen, director, saying (English) "They are both for me political. Even if one is obviously sexual and one is overtly political. But both in a way, it's about freedom, how someone's freedom can actually imprison them in a way, in order for them to numb a pain or what ever it is they are trying to do." McQueen says the title Shame was chosen after interviews with sex addicts and their experiences in preparation for the film, when the word 'shame' kept cropping up. "Shame" is one of 22 films screening at the festival that runs until September 10. Lisa Giles-Keddie, Reuters.