A Minute With: Michael Fassbender on sex and "Shame"

Wed Nov 30, 2011 5:09am EST
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By Iain Blair

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - He may not be a household name, yet, but actor Michael Fassbender is fast becoming one of the hottest young names in the film business.

The handsome actor earned his big break when Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks hired him for their "Band of Brothers" World War Two television mini-series. He also appeared in such hits as "X-Men: First Class," "300" and Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds."

Fassbender, who was born in Germany and grew up in Ireland, is now starring in two very different films -- "Shame" and "A Dangerous Method." In the former, he plays a sex addict whose life spins out of control. In the latter, he transforms into psychiatrist Carl Jung.

Fassbender spoke to Reuters about both films.

Q: There's a lot of graphic sex in "Shame," which will surely get the media, but it seems more about loneliness.

A: "Right. I think it's about people trying to connect. Every character's trying to connect in some way or another. My character, Brandon, has his ways of doing it, and Sissy (Brandon's sister, played by Carey Mulligan) has her ways. And in today's world where so much information is coming at us all the time, what are we supposed to do with it? How do we process it? It can be very confusing and create a lot of anxiety."

Q: There's full-frontal nudity from you, too. Did you worry that it might come off as art house porn?

A: (Laughs) "No, not at all, as I knew the sex wasn't there for titillation or exploitation. It was there as a way for the audience to access this guy's head. I saw all the sexual encounters as being very revealing about what's actually going on inside Brandon."   Continued...