Michael Fassbender

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Hitfix just posted these character posters for MacBeth with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard.

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See the complete 26-minute interview with Charlie Rose.
See Michael Fassbender on David Letterman tonight.

Shame RedBand trailer

NSFW peek, after the cut.

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Every Michael Fassbender fan freaks out in his or her own special way. Critics draw Daniel Day-Lewis comparisons, bloggers term themselves “Fassinators,” and women pass out in movie theaters when the actor comes on-screen. The fainting occurred at the Toronto International Film Festival, at the premiere of Shame, a movie in which he stars as a mournful sex addict. The film was acquired by Fox Searchlight and will see its release timed for optimal Oscar consideration in December. The unconscious woman was revived and taken to the hospital…

David Cronenberg, who directed Fassbender as Carl Jung in this year’s A Dangerous Method, says that the actor so effectively lost himself in the part that at the Venice Film Festival, “nobody recognized him until we introduced him to the audience.” Both men were pleased by this. Shape-shifting, Cronenberg said, is a rare and fantastic skill for an actor to have: “The more a chameleon you can be, the better off you are.”

Video after the cut. (from GQ via FassinatingFassbender)

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Every Michael Fassbender fan freaks out in his or her own special way. Critics draw Daniel Day-Lewis comparisons, bloggers term themselves “Fassinators,” and women pass out in movie theaters when the actor comes on-screen. The fainting occurred at the Toronto International Film Festival, at the premiere of Shame, a movie in which he stars as a mournful sex addict. The film was acquired by Fox Searchlight and will see its release timed for optimal Oscar consideration in December. The unconscious woman was revived and taken to the hospital…

David Cronenberg, who directed Fassbender as Carl Jung in this year’s A Dangerous Method, says that the actor so effectively lost himself in the part that at the Venice Film Festival, “nobody recognized him until we introduced him to the audience.” Both men were pleased by this. Shape-shifting, Cronenberg said, is a rare and fantastic skill for an actor to have: “The more a chameleon you can be, the better off you are.”

Video after the cut. (from GQ via FassinatingFassbender)

Continue reading…

When the unsurprising but disappointing news came down yesterday that, indeed, the MPAA slapped Shame with an NC-17 and not what it truly deserves — an R rating — most people were appropriately outraged.  A few shrugged and moved on to a new topic.  Worse, some actually defended the MPAA’s boneheaded decision, as in, “it’s an appropriate rating.”   As if.

There are really two discussions to be had.  The first, does Shame deserve an NC-17.  To my mind, no, it doesn’t.  The second, how will this rating impact the sales of the film and its Oscar chances.  It probably won’t affect the sales because Lo! Guess what MPAA and parents? the NC-17 is only going to make teens (yes, teens) fall all over themselves to get a copy of it, which they will probably download — which, they may have already downloaded.  So in that way, yeah, all the rating does is make teens, maybe some tweens, download it for free as opposed to paying for it in the theater.  Do any of you parents really know what your kids are doing online?  Wake up, parents. You have no idea what your teens are doing and seeing.  No idea.  If you are lax enough with them to let them go to the movies by themselves as teens — as in, “I’m going to let the MPAA and the theaters parent my child for me because I’m too lame to parent them myself” then you probably don’t care enough to think about what they’re doing online.  My kid? I decide what she can see and can’t see at the movies and the last thing I pay attention to is the MPAA rating.

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Why does it seem like the beginning of October is already too late to push through an Oscar contender?  If you’re a big star in a big movie you’re already on the radar of those who write about Oscar buzz, a thing that increasingly has no there to it.  But if you’ve just given the performance of your life in a movie nobody has seen how does your publicist get enough people to see your performance to find a spot for you in the already crowded acting or Best Picture categories?

This moment in the Oscar race is what I always think of as the Million Dollar Baby zone.  Clint Eastwood brought that film in at a time when there were less media outlets focused on the race, as many of them are now, and when those of us who were focused on the race – it was like me, David Poland, Tom O’Neil and Kris Tapley and a few others – had our radars tuned to The Aviator, which seemed, at the time, like it might finally be Martin Scorsese’s big Oscar win (he would later go on to win big with The Departed, nothing less than one of the best films ever to win the award).  But then people saw Million Dollar Baby. I’ll never forget reading Poland’s site the day after that screening — there was simply no question what movie was going to win and win big.

What I now wonder looking back at those seemingly innocent times, with all of the chatter we have now, so many hunters stalking Oscar prey, where the demand far exceeds the supply, would we have already been well aware that Million Dollar Baby would have been the big Oscar winner? Would it be showing up on Oscar charts as the de facto frontrunner? So much has changed since then.

Either way, and for whatever reason, after Toronto it always feels like the window of opportunity to break through gets smaller and smaller as the days go by.  If you’re not considered a major contender already, by October, your chances are slim.  But they’re not zero.  Late entries can sometimes shake up the race, like The Reader did when it bumped The Dark Knight, altering Oscar history while doing so.

On today’s Off the Carpet column, Kris Tapley looks at the Best Actor race, but specifically at those performances that could be overlooked.  I had no idea he was writing this, and I was writing a similar piece at the same time (great minds…) only mine covers Best Picture and Actress too (albeit not as thoroughly as Kris…).  So you want to head over there to In Contention to read that piece.  

Oscar buzz is now and has always been something undefinable – it’s like sexual attraction: you know it when you feel it.

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To me, so far, Michael Fassbender in shame is easily one of the most impressive this year, along with Jean Dujardin in The Artist, George Clooney in The Descendants, Chris Evans in Puncture, Gary Oldman in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy — In this scene, tweeted by The Film Stage, originally posted at The Playlist, shows a more subtle Fassbender. But a chill will run down your spine if you’ve ever been the one getting picked up in this scene. A guy like Fassbender’s character is so well skilled at picking up women he only has to stand there and say nothing to win the girl. Meanwhile, the other guy, can’t get arrested, just comes off as panicky and desperate.

[UPDATE: Gone baby gone. But thanks to DirkDiggler for finding another source where the clip is safely archived. – Ryan]

I am often asked on Twitter that so and so says so and so is the frontrunner or is going to win and what do I think about it.  Here’s what I think: there are a lot of Oscar writers and bloggers out there with their fingers on the trigger to be out front first with such and such.  I like to think of them as millions of sperm heading for that one egg.  I guess to be right early is sort of an honor in our business.  It’s a bragging right.  I am often guilty of such things, as I’ve recently said I thought Viola Davis would win in any category she was nominated for.  The truth is she might and she might not.  But if she went supporting, Glenn Close can’t lose in lead.  So goes my own wild prediction.  There are some things that just aren’t knowable, and whether someone or a film will win the Oscar is not one of those things.

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Fox Searchlight continues its commitment to back daring and brilliant work with its acquisition of Steve McQueen’s Shame, one of the best films to play Telluride, and I’m going to be, the entire year.  They’ve already got Tree of Life and Martha Macy Mary Marlene – and to add Shame to that list is a marvel. They are also distributing the other best film I saw in Telluride, The Descendants.   Looks to be an interesting awards year for Searchlight.

“Steve McQueen’s courageous exploration of modern life’s extremes is breathtaking.  He has crafted an extraordinary film that probes some of the deepest and darkest issues ever portrayed on screen with amazingly gifted performances by Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan,” said Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula.

“This is a brave statement and an important move by Fox Searchlight.   I am very happy they came on board to release Shame in the U.S.  It’s great to be working with a team that is so passionate about cinema,” said McQueen.

Step one – make a brilliant, uncompromising film that says something new about the human experience, the need for real intimacy, and the power of addiction. Step two – show it at a film fest and get a powerful distrib to back it. Step three – hope word of mouth gets people into the theater to see it. Step four – hope that people are not too put off my extreme sexuality (a bunch of babies, hell, in the 1970s and even in the 1980s there were films that explored sexuality — but we didn’t live in an infantilized culture then).  Step five – can the Academy recognize, if nothing else, Fassbender and Mulligan with acting nods? Perhaps also a screenplay nod?

We will have to wait and see how the drama plays out.  But one thing’s for sure – Shame will be among the most talked about films of the year.

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