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Steve McQueen Talks Casting A Black Woman As Love Interest In "Shame"

by Tambay A. Obenson
December 8, 2011 9:06 PM
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Via his program, The Treatment, our man Elvis Mitchell dug into Steve McQueen's mighty brain on all things Shame, his latest work, currently in theaters; the conversation is about 30 minutes long, and is worth listening to in full.

Starting at about the 23-minute mark, Mitchell asks McQueen about the role of women in the film, and, in his reply, McQueen dishes a bit on casting a black woman, specifically Nicole Beharie, as Marianne, Brandon's (Michael Fassbender's) love interest, what that meant to the film, and the opposition he met. I wish he went on a little more on that subject actually; alas, it comes up towards the end of their chat, and Mitchell had to bring the program to a close.

I should also add that got to chat with McQueen, and asked him specifically about casting Beharie, and this was his reply:

As far as Nicole, she was hot. I had seen her in a play at Lincoln Center called ‘A Free Man of Color’ and I was like, “Whoa! Who’s that amazing person?” I had to see her and see if I could audition her. She was difficult to get for an audition. She was in the play, and it was initially hard to get a ticket for the play as well. Finally, she did audition and she was amazing. Nicole is pretty special. She has the capacity of being a great actress. Absolutely. It’s just about opportunities. That’s all she needs.

Listen to his convo with Elvis Mitchell below; and if you're impatient, you can skip to the 23-minute mark:

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  • Orville | December 11, 2011 2:26 PMReply

    I find it interesting the Shadow and Act editors refuse to acknowledge the issue of race in relation to Shame. Yes, I am pleased a black director made a movie that is doing well at the box office. However, I am not going to jump on the McQueen bandwagon like Tambay and the rest of the Shadow and Act writers. I think race is a huge factor in this whole McQueen success story and people need to talk about.
    When I see a black movie that goes against type and make a lot of money then I will be the first on to clap my hands and praise the director. However, McQueen is using the same strategy Oprah Winfrey used and that is get the white mainstream's acceptance.
    Now the other side of the argument is can't a black director make movies with white leads?
    Of course, a black director can BUT I notice that blacks don't get the praise in Hollywood until they some how "transcend" race or attempt to assimilate into the beliefs of the mythical norm.
    I understand why Shadow and Act is giving McQueen a lot of media attention because the white press have given him a lot of praise. However, I don't think the Shadow and Act editors have looked beneath the surface a bit more about the media praise. Again, as I have reiterated before the two leads of Shame are white foreign actors. Would Shame get a lot of press if Brandon was a black man that got a blow job in a gay bar and screwed a lot of women? I doubt it.

  • Dax | December 22, 2011 4:34 AM

    but Orville in all fairness McQueen is British why would he not cast foreign actors? I hear your argument but I think McQueen is just good. It is a difficult situation for black Directors to be in casting their own and crossing over but what do we want really? We want a fair shake and McQueen is on the front lines for advocating casting blacks and putting out good work so I don't think you are giving him his just due, he always goes to bat for black casting and directing opportunities.

  • AccidentalVisitor | December 11, 2011 1:18 PMReply

    Let me try this again:

    McQueen's comments wee more interesting and more broadly directed than the description made it out to be. Essentially he was reiterating his previous complaint that more white American directors did not cast black leads in their movies. It was also clear that Elvis was both delighted that McQueen brought the subject up and disappointed that it was too late in the recording to tackle it further. I've been listening to Elvis' podcasts for about three or so years and I often wonder when he spoke to all those "bold" white American directors who are responsible for most of the great independent and art films, did he ever wonder why were their main characters exclusively white. His remark of waiting fifty or so years for someone to touch upon this curious bit of casting tells me the answer is a definite "yes."

  • AccidentalVisitor | December 11, 2011 1:17 PMReply

    McQueen’s comments wee more interesting and more broadly directed than the description made it out to be. Essentially he was reiterating his previous complaint that more white American directors did not cast black leads in their movies. It was also clear that Elvis was both delighted that McQueen brought the subject up and disappointed that it was too late in the recording to tackle it further. I’ve been listening to Elvis’ podcasts for about three or so years and I often wonder when he spoke to all those “bold” white American directors who are responsible for most of the great independent and art films, did he ever wonder why were their main characters exclusively white. His remark of waiting fifty or so years for someone to touch upon this curious bit of casting tells me the answer is a definite “yes.”

  • BluTopaz | December 11, 2011 12:51 PMReply

    I stayed away from this site for a while because I got tired of the same bullshit-the same posters who can't stay away from the topics they are so appalled by.

    The first thread I go to what is it?--Carey's zillionth, nonsensical rant about a film that goes so far over his country bumpkin head, and he's being allowed to monopolize the convo ONCE AGAIN because he gets no traffic at his own site and craves attention. I guess blog's owner telling him to STFU a few months back stoked the fires even more, huh. The discussion has not moved past the drivel it was several months ago, and it's a shame that one of the few film blogs for people of color is allowed to become an outlet for individuals with issues that go far beyond a movie critique.

  • CareyCarey | December 11, 2011 7:54 PM

    Yeah, I AM STILL GLOATING about The Help... since you showed up. Yeah, come to think of it, you was the leading force of opposition in regards to negative black images on the screen. Then you jumped the fence and jumped for joy when Beharies character hit the scene. Hence, my reference to you jumping ship. It appears that you couldn't understand the dynamics of The Help, but for some strange reason you ( strange & odd) you believe Shame is a deep character study of human emotions. Come on, admit it. You're the one who said ---> a film that goes so far over his country bumpkin head. Yes sir, too low I cannot get under it and too high and nasty that I can't get over it! But seriously Blutopaz, just because we do not see eye to eye, why do you have to talk to me like I have a tail? I mean, this is simply about voicing my opinion in a passionate way... on subjects that are dear to me. Why do you comment? I've never felt a need to say it right to get along with the popular crowd. I try to say what (is) right. And then let the chips fall were they may. If we don't talk again, you have a Merry Christmas.

  • BluTopaz | December 11, 2011 3:27 PM

    And are you STILL spewing about The Help?!

    How can my words attack you when it's attention that you crave, even negative? Which btw, I'm indulging by replying back to this nonsense.

  • CareyCarey | December 11, 2011 2:41 PM

    @ BLUTOPAZ, The last time I checked there were over TWO THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED POST THIS YEAR, ON VARIOUS TOPICS!!! I believe I've commented on about 50 (monopolize the conv, WTH?! i've commented on less than 10 over the last 2 months. So you can't count (talking about a bumpkin) now you've arrived for you 15 seconds of fame... and you have not been missed. And, I believe a few conversations in this thread - with other readers besides you - were cooler than a glass of wine. Women please, find your lane. Btw, how did you like The Help? I know you were all upset about the maids role, but you probably love Shame - huh? You can relate better to Ms Beharies character - huh? BLUTOPAZ, since you addressed/attacked me with venom in your heart, I am compelled to tell you to blow it OYA! OKAY, is that fair? Damn, jealous niggas and flies... take your Moms Mabley ass someone and take your thumb out of your ass. I mean, is that fair to say since you attacked me!? I didn't call your name!

  • CareyCarey | December 10, 2011 10:46 PMReply

    Yes ARTBIZZY, we have reached a common ground. I did view Shame as not being a "black" film, solely because it was written and directed by a black man. Consequently, I should check my statement that Mr McQueen is a, was a, Pimping Piped Piper. I doubt his motivation to make either of his past films was rooted in a desire to dress and impress black folks. I can safely assume he was making a movie that fit his desires, goals, opportunity and artistic abilities. And then let the chips fall where they may. In my defense, I got caught-up in the heat of the argument, and my "win" at all cost mentality kicked in. But wait, I am still vehemently opposed to the carefree attitudes that minimize the effects of wanton sex. I mean, every time I hear someone express the sentiments that sex is JUST SEX and everyone does it and all men have a penis so it Okay to splash sex of any kind on the screen, I am compelled to say "slow your roll, sex is the monster that's killing many of our women, young and "older" and/or leading many of them to a life of poverty and lost dreams". So I have to stand on my position that this sex laden movie is not one I would champion... regardless of how well it's made or the skin color of the director. As for Ms Beharie, I understand why she is getting all the ink she deserves. In short, I believe my biggest complaint is directed at those who express the most vicious complaints, bitches and moans at directors such as Lee Daniels and Tyler Perry and the writers and directors of movies like The Help and Big Momma, for what they perceive as NON-POSITIVE images of black life, but then, they turn right around and champion a movie in which the protagonist is a sex freak and Ms Beharie short role is that of a married future conquest. Something is rotten in the ol' black folks critics corner. Peace

  • artbizzy | December 10, 2011 9:31 PMReply

    CareyCarey, I was more so responding to your claim that "Shame" is not a black movie because you don't believe it speaks to the black experience(correct me if I am wrong, here) and with the exception of Nicole Beharie doensn't have any other black actors. The reason it's posted on S & A though is because it was written and directed by a black director. Had a white director wrote and directed it and still had cast Nicole Beharie, S&A probably would have given her a mention too because eh is black and therefore of the black diaspora. I am not at all exempt from subject matter having an effect on me and certainly do have opinions on Tyler Perry and "The Help." I think to some extent the goal is art for art's sake but we are all part of this world so I am aware of the implications of choices and how we as members of the African Diaspora want to see more accurate and dimenional representations of us by us and anyone else. Thank you for the convo, too.

  • CareyCarey | December 10, 2011 8:47 PMReply

    ARTBIZZY, I hear what you are saying and I believe we are agree more than disagreeing. I believe you are simply saying that you embrace art for arts sake. In doing so, as long as black folks are working in any capacity, it's all good with you. And, for the most part, you don't do the politics in movies. Nor does the subject matter, or propaganda and/or messages embedded in some movies, have an effect on you. Well, if everyone felt that way, we could turn out the lights and all go home. But until that happens, since this is not a perfect world, folks of all colors will vehemently object to the subject matter and role models of Tyler Perry's movies and Viola Davis's role in the Help. Btw, I too read Giovanni's room because I was locked in a place in which reading was one of the only options and luxury afforded me. And black literature was passed from cell to cell. It was not my first choice nor favorite choice of black fiction. When one is locked in a cell for 23 hour, 7 days a week, it's only natural that reading and soul-searching and finding out what's really important in life is the call of the day. Thanks for the conversation

  • artbizzy | December 10, 2011 7:50 PMReply

    @CareyCarey What I am saying is that the African Diaspora is a wide and varying thing. Our presence is all over the world. So who can speak for what most of us want out of cinema. The African Diaspora is layered and complex. We can infer that most black people interested in film around the world want to see more of themselves onscreen. But what about behind the scenes? Isn't it exciting to know that a black director directed a feature film no matter what the race of the rest of the cast is? Or that a black actress such as Taraji P. Henson has a decent role in a predominantly white crime drama? Or that a black screenwriter wrote the screenplay to a movie with a multi-racial cast? We are and can be part of any area in the cinema world. As writers, producers, actors, directors, etc.

    As for what I said with regards to Giovann's Room, yes it certainly was about the gay experience but it was also written by a black gay man which made me even more interested in seeing it. because someone like me who has a shared heritage with Mr. Baldwin. On the surface the book is about gay white men, a demographic at the time I read the book, due to my own unconscious prejudices (about gay black men and gay white men) I probably wouldn't have read the book but because James Baldwin wrote it and I am interested in whatever it is that black people write (as I said before if its content happens to interest me) and my world becomes a little wider and a little more compassionate and connected because I realize that I can relate to the complicated love story between these two people even though I am not white, male or gay. Of course this book turned off black readers it turned off many readers because of the content and because of the time it was written but many more people of all races and backgrounds have read it ever since. I just used that book as an example. I know it's not a film but I still think it's relevant to the conversation about what is black art? What are black images? The images we see that look representative of us or the images we produce from behind the scenes whether of black people or not. Maybe thinking about Spike Lee's Joint, Summer of Sam would help to clarify things, too. Because that was a film with a predominantly white cast, except for John Leguizamo who isn't black. It interested me more because Spike Lee wrote and directed it and it was such a departure for him. And I haven't seen Shame yet. Might see it tomorrow or sometime in the coming week. But I do know a little about from this site to say that sex addiction is certainly not just a white thing.

  • CareyCarey | December 10, 2011 12:24 PMReply

    "[CareyCarey} what a ranting fool you are... sit yo ass down somewhere" ~ Misha

    Is that right? Ranting fool and "I" should sit down? Well, if that's right, what does that make you? I mean, I can tell by your paper thin rebuttal that you're young and you know little or nothing about the pimpin' game, so I've felt compelled to put you up on a little game... my delightful little blind mice. But as usual, it's takes a monumental effort to convince another person that they are walking in quicksand. That effort is complicated when said person believes their position is the right place to lay their head and other fools (just like them) are patting them on the back while saying "you go girl, show you right". Listen Misha, I am not pimping Steve McQueen (I don't know how in the hell you came to that conclusion!?)nor am I unjustly criticizing him. I am simply questioning why some folks are championing his movie SHAME? It's not a "black" movie, nor is it a movie that has messages that I nor any principled person would want to pass forward. Hey, in short, don't pull away nor run and hide when someone is trying to open your eyes to the real world. Btw, I've been a fool many times. I'll accept that tag, but unlike many, a person has to own their foolishness before they can begin to repair it. What about you? What about a time called NOW!

  • Reg | December 10, 2011 8:54 PM

    See what I mean Misha? I fed the animals and this happened. Point made.

    Nah Carey nobody "spanked" my ass. Not even close. Unlike you some of us just know when we've made our point and when to keep it moving instead of continuing to feed and "play" with the animals. Like right now. I've said what I gotta say, point made, now I'm out. But I know you'll come back with another dissertation in a minute, pounding on your chest like an Gorilla behind cages in a zoo. Go ahead son, you animal you! LOL!

  • CareyCarey | December 10, 2011 8:01 PM

    Poor Reg, why did you feel you needed to limp up in here with you hands in another man's pocket? I mean, either you're a closet gay on the low-down or you're speaking from a point of reference that you cannot justify. Tell us, have you taken a poll or did you speak too fast when you said "Most of US have just decided that it's best to ignore him which is what I suggest you do too. Take it from the rest of US" . US??? US???!!! So now you're speaking for thousands of readers? Come on Mr Grown Ass Cry baby, tell the truth. You're still upset about BondGirl spanking your ass on this very same subject, so now you've come back for a little back seat vengeance. Yeah, your the one who made the most ridiculous statements about sex, snuff films and those who engage in S & M and bondage, and BondGirl called you on that bullshit. Now you've slithered back for an encore. And, who in the hell called your name anyway, I didn't! Damn, that's so punkish of you. So man, don't come at me with your school yard politics. I see your jealous wimpy ass. Damn, fake-ass, weak-ass niggas and flies I despise. See man, as usual, you came with bs on your mind - and lips - and I am compelled to fire back. You must have thought I was going to play with you tonight? Guess what, it's not that kind of party today. Woe is me :-)

  • Reg | December 10, 2011 7:12 PM

    @ Misha in case you haven't figured it by now, debating with Carey is an exercise in futility. I know. I've been there. Others have. Most of us have just decided that it's best to ignore him which is what I suggest you do too. Eventually he'll be ranting to nobody. But the more you reply the more opportunities you're giving him to take up screen space. Take it from the rest of us, it's like going to the zoo and seeing a sign not to feed the animals. DON'T FEED THE ANIMALS! LOL!

  • misha | December 10, 2011 7:00 PM

    Oh CareyCarey, the audacity of you to imply that someone else is being disrespectful. Oy. Anyhow, I haven't championed Shame because guess what? I haven't even seen it! Have you? Of course you have the right to like and not like whatever you want. But it seems awfully narrowminded of you to criticize or even question why someone else likes a particular form of art. Just because you'v decided that something has no "redeeming" qualities doesn't make it so. More importantly, art doesn't necessarily have to have any "redeeming" qualities at all. As to your point about Tyler Perry, 50 cent, etc....well, you don't have a point! LOL When I disagree with anyone, be it a poster or a filmmaker, I add my two cents. I enjoy Perry's films but I understand the criticism and agree with it. I cannot stand the garbage that Lee Daniels peddles but I'm not going to accuse anyone of being "pimped" for liking his garbage. You see, that's the difference between me and you.

  • CareyCarey | December 10, 2011 3:29 PM

    @ ARTBIZZY, you've brought up some very interesting points (respectfully too), some of which I cannot dispute. However, I will try my best to voice my opinion on your articulated, well written and thought provoking comment. But first, I have to address Ms. Misha.

    @ Misha, I see we are not going to agree on anything. ARTBIZZY defined and qualified her comment but you have not. So I think it's best that I just defend and define my position. Listen, in my personal life, one of the things I do is work with people who are facing drug & alcohol problems, and domestic violence issues. In that capacity, in doing so, I frequently hear "excuses" and the blaming of others for missteps of the "victims" own doing. So when I hear "messages" that I believe is misleading, I have an predisposed inclination to say "hold up, maybe we should look at that from another angle". Now, in reference to Shame, you definitely have the right to champion all the good you find in it. However, I have the same right and obligation to say "hold up this is what I don't like about that movie". Look, the most popular voices nor the loudest voices are always the "right" voices. Take for instance the varied political debates, Occupy Wall street protests and the unrest in the Middle East. Each group in those conflicts believe they are standing up for something that they believe is right. They are standing for something that they passionately believe in. So, aside from the artsy fartsy aspect of the movie Shame, I don't see any redeeming qualities in the movie. So as a black man, a father and a community organizer, I am compelled to say "wait a minute, hold up, what's so delicious about this sex themed movie?". Another way to look at that is, if a person came to your neighborhood touting/pushing a product that you knew and/or felt was warping the minds of it's inhabitants, would you sit idly by and not voice a dissenting word? And Misha, you don't seem to have a problem with the myriad of comments that dance upon the head of Tyler Perry or 50 cents or Lee Daniels or Spike Lee, so why now? What's your real issue that you're obviously not identifying? What are your passions and what are you standing up for?

    @ ARTBIZZY, Misha has worn me out. I will have to get back with you. But I will come back and do look forward to our exchange. Your comment requires that I do a little soul-searching and give it my utmost attention.

  • artbizzy | December 10, 2011 2:11 PM

    I've never seen a Steve McQueen movie but this point stood out to me, CareyCarey, in what you wrote above: "I am simply questioning why some folks are championing his movie SHAME? It's not a "black" movie, nor is it a movie that has messages that I nor any principled person would want to pass forward." As far as I'm concerned I am interested in actors and directors who are out here making films in whatever capacity - as long as the film interests me. But your point brings up the question, What is a Black Film? And who creates that standard? The United States? And then what is a black film from the perspective of someone outside the U.S. whose consciousness about race comes out of another set of experiences some familiar to U.S.- ers and some not? When James Baldwin wrote his famous novel, "Giovanni's Room" in the 1950's and set it in Paris, he didn't include any black characters but pretty much everything else he wrote was more directly about the "black" experience. At the end of the day, good film, great film is about the human experience. Our race, our culture adds another conversation to that experience. So a love story in black neighborhood is going to look differently than a love story taking place in white suburbia on the outside but essentially it's about two people trying to love each other. But add racism to the mix or classism or crack addiction or crystal meth abuse, etc., or eating dirorders, obesity, anorexia, etc. and this adds layers of complexity to the film. Casting choices are political, yes, because of the society we live in and whether we intend them to be or not someone somewhere is going to look at that choice as a political one and then, of course, there are the unconscious choices we make. But what are OUR stories? What are these stories that are so personal to being black that we truly desire to tell? Or personal to being gay or being religious or mixed race or all of the above? I believe that the answer is going to be personal to each individual. Otherwise the conversation just becomes the ole tired one of who is black enough?

  • misha | December 10, 2011 1:23 PM

    "I am simply questioning why some folks are championing his movie SHAME?"

    LOL! Is that what you're doing in this thread? No. You're busy ranting about folks being pimped by the "pimping pied piper." Come on man, do you not get how ridiculous you sound? And why on earth do you even feel the need to question why someone likes his films? You do realize we are talking about a subjective topic where people's interests and tastes will predictably vary from one extreme to the other, right? The idea that, if a film doesn't meet your ridiculous qualifications, you then have a right to question why anyone else likes it is incredibly condescending and rather ignorant. Moreoever, implying that there's something to mock about McQueen making a movie about a free man who's forced into slavery is especially perplexing given your own tastes. Perhaps if McQueen decided to star in a myriad of his own films dressed as big, sassy, gun-toting black woman or depicted images of an obese black woman eating a whole bucket of fried chicken, you'd become his biggest cheerleader? SMH. Seriously CareyCarey, you of all people thinking you can school anybody is laughable. LAUGHABLE.

  • misha | December 9, 2011 11:36 AMReply

    Oh, lordy! If Nicole wasn't doing any press, folks would be talking about how McQueen and the media are ignoring her because she's black. But because Nicole is getting press, going to events with McQueen and Fassbender, it's all about them "pimping" her? *sighs* Folks, Nicole is a young, black actress who's trying to make a name for herself. If doing publicity for a critically-acclaimed movie means she's being "pimped" then I'm sure she'd love to do it more often!

    Anyhow, the more I listen to McQueen, the more I like this guy. His frank, outspoken nature is so refreshing. And the fact that he insisted on Nicole being in his film? I love it!

  • CareyCarey | December 10, 2011 12:41 PM

    "Oh and may I add that this is the same man who just loves him some Lee Daniels and his poverty porn. Man Carey, sit yo ass down somewhere!" ~ Misha. Ooooh!!! Lookie here, up jumps the devil!!! So now I see where all the rage and excitement is coming from, Mrs Snobby Lobby. So you didn't like Precious but you adore sex laden porn flicks? Go figure... you have been exposed :-) Tell us, was it, or is it the images of white naked bodies in Shame, or the great storyline that has you all moist and bothered? Btw, you do know you're walking in quicksand, don't you? You can't win child because you're not walking on a solid platform. And, you have to know - by now - that I can hurl stones with the best of them. So stop calling me names and stop picking a fight with me *lol*

  • misha | December 10, 2011 11:41 AM

    Oh and may I add that this is the same man who just loves him some Lee Daniels and his poverty porn. Man Carey, sit yo ass down somewhere!

  • misha | December 10, 2011 11:19 AM

    LOL CareyCarey, if you are so turned off by all the McQueen pimping then why are you all up in every thread about the man? You, my friend, are doing more pimping of McQueen with your obsession over criticizing him and others who have anything good to about him or his films. What a ranting fool you are.

  • CareyCarey | December 9, 2011 5:27 PM

    Slow your roll my fine female friend in distress. When I speak of those who are being pimped, I am not talking about the actress Nicole Berharie (She's getting PAID!}. Oh no, look here, you and the other pom pom carrying pimpets are who I'm referring to. Oh yeah, the man with a foreign accent has put a bug in yawls ear, a soft porn tape in your eyes, and then yawl blasted off to tell the world how sweet he is. See, that's ol'skool pimping and yawl love it. Seriously, who else besides someone who has been turned out would use the following as justification to bow at the feet of a man who he himself does not hire black actors nor use blacks in his crew. I mean, what is this all about ---> "you'd see that McQueen calls out the fact that white Hollywood filmmakers shooting movies in New York don't bother to cast non-whites in their films" WHAT?! EXCUSE ME... NEITHER DOES THE PIMPING PIED PIPER. And please, do we really want to mention his next film? Okay, it's a SLAVE movie. And now that he has convinced y'all to close your eyes and swallow the blue pill, he knows the drugged and drunk will fall for the okey doke and spread the word of the coming of the savior. Come on, history tells me a few things ---> IRA MOVIE - CHICK FLICK SEX FREAKY CUM BUM MOVIE - NOW A SLAVE MOVIE! Come on now, I am suggesting that the mirror should be turned around (before pointing fingers at others) if we are ingratiating the words "self hate" and "mind boggling" and warped racial expectations. Please baby, this ain't hate, this is facts... some folks just don't know when they're getting screwed and used. Again, pimpin' ain't easy but.... but there will always be some folks who can't wait to jump on the night train and tell their friends how much fun they had.

  • Neziah | December 9, 2011 4:22 PM

    I agree with both of you; the hate is baffling.

  • misha | December 9, 2011 12:07 PM

    I hear ya, Mark. How in the world could McQueen's adoration of Beharie be turned into a bad thing? How exactly is McQueen demonstrating "self hate" when he dares speak out on white filmmakers not casting black actors....when he insists on the inclusion of Beharie...when his next film stars Chiwetel Ejiofor? It boggles the mind, indeed!

  • Mark | December 9, 2011 11:44 AM

    Preach! It's mind boggling how people turn against each other with what seems to be petty jealousy or warped racial expectations. For years, black filmmakers have complained about being stuck in a black box, only able to get financing for "black" films and never being selected to direct or write non-black oriented films. Now, when a black filmmaker does succeed in getting this kind of opportunity, he's assailed.

    Worse, when said black director casts an African-American actress and helps to get her in the spotlight, he's admonished for it. That's just insane! Nicole B. might have a small part but she delivers a complex performance.

    Getting back to McQueen, if any of his detractors had bothered to watch his interview on, you'd see that McQueen calls out the fact that white Hollywood filmmakers shooting movies in New York don't bother to cast non-whites in their films.

  • Mark | December 9, 2011 10:27 AMReply

    I just think it's hilarious that people are criticizing McQueen for directing a movie with a white lead. That's insane! Instead of being allowed to tell only inner city/"black" movies, McQueen is directing whatever the hell kind of movies he wants.

    As for Nicole B.'s role, please! There were only two female roles in "Shame." If anyone bothered to see the film, it would be obvious that this is not kind of role that black (or any other non-white) women usually get.

    I also don't understand why people expect a Briton to conform to African-American expectations.

  • CareyCarey | December 11, 2011 2:49 PM

    THANK YOU ORVILLE & HI HATER! I love the fact that some folks can see through the smoke screens and are not afraid to voice a dissenting opinion. The herd mentality kills me.

  • Orville | December 11, 2011 2:29 PM

    People have a right to criticize McQueen he's only getting hype from the white media BECAUSE Shame is about a white guy with a sex addiction. The movie is hardly original it sounds like a bad Bret Easton Ellis book. Shame isn't even that original it seems to me to be similar to American Psycho except this movie doesn't have murders in it. So, because McQueen appeals to the Mythical Norm I'm supposed to clap my hands and praise him? No way! When McQueen makes good movies with black people in LEAD roles which aren't stereotypical then he will get praise.

  • hi hater | December 10, 2011 10:31 PM

    You say, "it would be obvious that this is not {the} kind of role that black (or any other non-white) women usually get." Yeah, THANK GOD the role of the cuckold to a white degenerate goes to Julia Roberts and not our blacktresses! Unlike you I wasn't aroused by watching Nicole's lemon-sized ta-ta's or Carey Mulligan's merkin, so I looked at the film objectively without erecting (pun intended) expectations. I do not bow to the S & A shrine of McQueen because he "dares speak out on white filmmakers not casting black actors." In watching the film, I cannot fathom why a black filmmaker who was in total control of the script did not make the black chick more respectable. Is this the reality of NYC black women he believes? Why does the pervert chase all the white women in the film (INCLUDING THE GAY MAN!), but Marianne has to pursue him? He never even acknowledges her existence even with a glance until she approaches him at work (in the corniest manner, might I add). McQueen co-wrote this drivel (I roll my eyes at this bc in reality he didn't; Abi Morgan did most of the work), yet why couldn't Marianne be single? This is why none of the blacks involved will be getting an Oscar nom; that screenplay was a piece of shit. He says what he likes because his black ass is going back to England to make films; he doesn't have any plans of being here 20 years from now, so get used to him now folks. This charlatan can spew all he likes about what Hollywood won't do for blacks, but from where he's standing, he hasn't done a goddamn thing yet for "us" either.

  • CareyCarey | December 9, 2011 9:53 AMReply

    "don't parade Nicole beharie around as a last resort because baz luhrman won't let Carey mulligan do press..don't turn this into "you helped a black actress out" Oscar pitch... It's not right.."

    UT OH, I see somebody else ain't going down the yellow brick road! Yes sir, OVERHIM ain't following the rest of the Tin Men, Scarecrows and Cowardly Lions through the sleep inducing poppy fields of Mr. Steven McQueen. Come on now, say it loud "don't parade Nicole beharie around as a last resort because baz luhrman won't let Carey mulligan do press.. don't turn this into "you helped a black actress out" Oscar pitch... It's not right". But of course pimpin' ain't easy but some folks love being pimped ( I always thought that phenomenon was very strange. You know, how could someone love being used). Anyway. And then, like the strange occurrence of the abused taking on the role of the abuser, the pimped become the new pied pipers... telling everyone they see how great it is to live in The Land Of Shame. But OVERHIM ain't buying that weak game.

  • Steven | December 9, 2011 4:11 AMReply

    I watched and listen to a lot of Steve McQueen interviews so far and I think he is genuinely interested in telling whatever stories that grab his attention. I think some people need to stop looking for the next coming of Spike Lee and acceptance from mainstream Hollywood to deliver this all compelling African American story that's going to transform the landscape of filmmaking as speak. I would love to see more diverse stories about minorities being told but the only way to do that is from the ground up. Supporting DIY and indie filmmaking. I hate the "white washing" of movies like Last Airbender, Akira, and so forth or how some mainstream films misappropriate black culture but don't cast black performers.
    But I digress, I can't speak on the film because I haven't seen it yet nor have seen his debut film. Overhim, I think you need to check out the interview with Elvis Mitchell and the Hollywood Reporter roundtable clip. His next film is Twelve Years a Slave and I think it's going to get him even more attention. I can't wait to see what McQueen is going to do in the future. Just give the dude a chance.

  • Laura | December 9, 2011 12:17 AMReply

    I'm not down with the "hate" that people are dishing out to McQueen because he has a white male lead actor.

    If the "hate" is "why cain't the brutha get some other brutha some play so they can pay the mortgage I can understand, somewhat. I don't agree. But opportunities are limited for us, I get that.

    But if its the hate because Black folks think Black folks can't or should not tell white stories, than I have major disagreement with that. I think that kind of thinking is "limited" (Glory-be I hoped I'd never say that any school of black thought is "limited").

    This is what I mean. We are so use to white folks telling our stories, that we beg and plead for them to do it right. We get all hot and bothered when they get us wrong. I would say that how we see ourselves are partly shaped by the images that they have projected about us.

    Also, I believe we have a double conscious. Sometimes we know white folk better then they know themselves. And more importantly they hardly tell the truth on themselves. If we empower ourselves to not only tell our stories but their stories and other people stories, I think it would open a new way of creating.

    Now I don't believe for one minute that Steve McQueens was conjuring up of WEB Dubois when he set out to create Hunger and Shame. Nor do I feel that Steve McQueen's film is everybody's cup of tea, nor it should be.

    However I think he opened up our story telling possibilities. And I am for one glad that. Both Hunger and Shame are good films.
    (PS, I hope this is coherent because it is late night for me)

  • Overhim | December 9, 2011 2:28 AM

    You wanted an excuse to write a thesis defending him when you know exactly what I meant..he wants to pay the mortgage and that's the truth.. He probably wants to ensure he has a ton of money attend of the day so he can assimilate into upper class British culture his background disallowed him when he was younger...fine..state that from the get go..just like Tyler needed to state from the get go that he was going to use secular themes to sell our people down the river for a cheap laugh...fine..that's how you want to make money..fine.. Just let people know what your doing from jump...don't parade Nicole beharie around as a last resort because baz luhrman won't let Carey mulligan do press..don't turn this into "you helped a black actress out" Oscar pitch... It's not right..

  • Overhim | December 8, 2011 10:10 PMReply

    I think he and this movie are overrated...the role was small and probably won't do very much for her career..if he wants to make an impact he will have a black female lead..but the truth is he glorifies the white experience over his own.. Why can't black artists ever get pushed to the front of the mainstream that dont display as much self hate as this guy and many others??

    Think about it...

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