Michael Fassbender: NC-17 rating could help 'Shame' [Video]
About a year ago, hard-charging studio executive Harvey Weinstein was so disturbed that his release "Blue Valentine" earned a NC-17 rating that he personally petitioned the Motion Pictures Assn. of America to have the ruling changed out of a fear that it could harm the film's commercial prospects.
This fall, another film has been given the same severe rating -- "Shame," the film starring Michael Fassbender as an emotionally closed-off sex addict. But the film's star and its director, Steve McQueen, say they aren't worried about the rating affecting its potential reach at the box office. In fact, Fassbender believes, it may help boost ticket sales.
"I think it can be an alright thing. It can stimulate curiosity for sure," the actor told us on the red carpet at the AFI Fest premiere of the film in Hollywood Wednesday evening. He added, "I think it's unusual that a lot of violent films seem to pass through the system easily enough. But whenever you sort of try to question or deal with sex, it becomes something that's dirty or not to be watched -- so I find that to be confusing."
McQueen said he thought that "Shame" deserved an NC-17 rating because it's an adult movie with what he described as "responsible, serious" themes. Anyone fixated on the nudity in the picture -- in which Fassbender and costar Carey Mulligan take off their clothes -- should look elsewhere for their kicks, he said.
"To go to pay to see nude people in 'Shame' -- you're wasting your money," said McQueen.
Fassbender also shrugged off the film's nudity, saying he didn't worry about whether or not the movie would be controversial before signing on to it.
"My job is to deal with conflict and drama, and a lot of times you have to go places that are perhaps uncomfortable to have a real drama at work."
-- Amy Kaufman
Photo: Michael Fassbender, left, and Steve McQueen at the AFI Fest premiere of "Shame." Credit: Matt Sayles / Associated Press