Fassbender's "Shame" director, Steve McQueen, tells Interview, “What’s most compelling about Michael is his femininity,” adding “Michael is a very masculine person. One could say he’s a man’s man. But what elevates him for me—and I think what draws audiences to him—is his understanding that when you play the character, that person is somehow related to the audience. A lot of movie stars are not human—they’re more than human in a way, so there’s a barrier that exists between them and the audience. But Michael has a fragility that allows him to have a relationship with an audience that has no barrier.”
Here's an excerpt from the interview, conducted by Josh Brolin:
Fassbender: All of [the characters I've played] are trying to connect to one another in some way or other. We’re all trying to connect to each other and find some levels of intimacy. There’s so much going on in the world. There’s so much information being thrown at us—so many things are being sold to us, and we’re being told how we should appear and how to be more successful, blah, blah, blah. How does that manifest itself? In the pressures, the stress, this need to escape. I like Brandon [in "Shame"] because he’s trying. You mentioned this idea of disgust—that was something I knew I wanted to represent in him in the sex scenes, making them a repulsive sort of thing to look at. But I was also hoping and banking on the fact that he’s trying. There’s his date with the character Marianne: They go for the walk where he’s clumsy, but he tries to open himself up, and we see this childlike personality start to emerge. So I was just hoping the audience would understand that he’s struggling with this addiction. It’s not like he’s going, “To hell with it, and damn the consequences.” He’s living the consequences.