Searchlight Acquires Controversial “Shame”

Ever since its overwhelmingly enthusiastic response in Venice and the slightly less so but still very positive reception in Telluride this time last week, one of the big questions that’s been floating around was which distributor would have the balls to pick up Steve McQueen’s NC-17 drama “Shame”.

Michael Fassbender stars as a thirty-something successful New Yorker who struggles with sex addiction – even with his looks and the ability to pick up women every day he still frequently masturbates and finds himself emotionally closed off from people. When his wayward younger sister (Carey Mulligan) moves in, the problem only amplifies.

What made this a difficult purchase was the explicitness. Fassbender swings about his sizeable penis in numerous full frontal shots, Mulligan goes naked in one scene, and the sex itself is very graphic and covers the gambit – straight, sleazy, rough, gay, threesomes, and very graphic depictions. More importantly McQueen has final cut and will not change a single frame of the film.

Deadline reports that Fox Searchlight has now acquired the film, beating out The Weinstein Company in the bidding. Searchlight will release the film towards the end of the year and will likely push for a Best Actor campaign for Fassbender’s work in the film.