Sex Addiction and the City

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Lee

Director Steve McQueen casts Manhattan as an erotic Disneyland in his latest film, 'Shame.'

When Steve McQueen first heard of sex addiction as a phenomenon, the British director scoffed at the idea that sexaholics need sympathy, too. ALike most people, I just laughed,A McQueen recalled recently over tea in Beverly Hills.

But after speaking with sufferers and attending Sex Addicts Anonymous meetings in the name of research, the Turner Prize-winning visual artist turned filmmaker was convinced otherwise. AThe stories we heard were so devastatingly sad,A said McQueen. AIt's not like alcoholism or drug addiction, where there's some built-in sympathy. It's almost like the AIDS epidemic in the early days. No one wants to deal with you. You're weird. You're a fiend. That stigma is still attached.A

McQueen set out to deal with a condition Aright under our noses that we don't seeA on the big screen with the brilliant psychosexual drama Shame. He cast Michael Fassbender (the star of X-Men: First Class and Inglourious Basterds who also portrayed Irish Republican Army hunger striker Bobby Sands in the director's explosive 2008 debut, Hunger) as Brandon, a corporate Manhattanite tortured by his compulsive pursuit of sex. Wholly incapable of emotional engagement, the character finds his sex-filled existence turned upside down when his younger sister, Sissy (played by Oscar nominee Carey Mulligan)--who, conversely, loves too much--moves in with him. …