It’s been a busy 2011 for Michael Fassbender, who has appeared in four pics this year, including the Steve McQueen-directed “Shame.” The German-born actor worked for 20 consecutive months, with little time in-between projects to regroup.
Reuniting with McQueen — the two collaborated on “Hunger” — was important to Fassbender, whose 2011 roles include the current release “A Dangerous Method” and, earlier in the year, “X-Men: First Class” and “Jane Eyre.”
“When it came down to making a decision, it was really Steve who got me interested,” Fassbender says on taking on “Shame.” “We talked about it in 2008 and when I read the script last year, I really thought he and Abi (Morgan) put together a beautiful story in a very respectful manner.”
In the Fox Searchlight pic, Fassbender plays Brandon, a sex-addicted New York City businessman whose life begins to unravel after he reluctantly allows his sister, played by Carey Mulligan, to move into his sterile apartment.
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Fassbender and McQueen are now back together for their next project, the drama “Twelve Years a Slave,” co-starring Brad Pitt and co-written by John Ridley. Fassbender says his relationship with McQueen is based on the helmer’s natural leadership ability and how he creates a comfortable working atmosphere.
“Steve has a very similar work ethic to Ridley (Scott, whom Fassbender worked with on ‘Prometheus’), where he is creating this environment where everybody is working hard and enjoying what they are doing,” he says.
While Fassbender’s perf has been generating strong reviews, the film’s graphic nudity and sexual content — earning the pic a NC-17 rating — has drawn headlines as well, scaring some auds away.
As for how difficult filming those scenes were, Fassbender admits it was uncomfortable at times but it felt true to Brandon’s persona — a man whose need for sexual stimulation with prostitutes and strangers overshadows any authentic personal relationships.
“A lot of these scenes were, no pun intended, meant to reveal things about this character,” Fassbender says. “So while it was uncomfortable, it’s important to the story. You just have to get over it.”