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Still of Carey Mulligan in Steve McQueen's forthcoming film Shame
Still of Carey Mulligan in Steve McQueen's forthcoming film Shame

STEVE MCQUEEN'S HOLLYWOOD TURN

Sept. 16, 2011

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Just a few years ago, artist Steve McQueen was showing experimental 16mm films at Marian Goodman Gallery -- one where he continuously poked actress Charlotte Rampling’s eye, another of black men wrestling while McQueen tweaked his own nipples. Now, the widely acclaimed artist, who has won the Turner Prize and represented Britain in the Venice Biennale two years ago, seems to be leaving his more avant-garde roots behind in favor of Hollywood: he has just sold rights to the feature-length drama Shame, which he directed and co-wrote with Abi Morgan, to Fox Searchlight Pictures.

But that’s not to call McQueen a sell-out. In the new NC-17-rated film, the artist seems to be exploring his long-running artistic interests in the carnal excesses of the western world. Michael Fassbender plays an emotionally barren sex addict and Carey Mulligan is his disconnected sister. Shame, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, currently stands as the highest-rated entry by critics.

McQueen’s previous movie, 2008’s Hunger, a hard-hitting chronicle of activist Bobby Sand’s fatal hunger strike in a northern Irish prison, was a little tough even for the art houses. But it won McQueen the top new director prize at Cannes.

Shame is expected to come out later this year.

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