In Contention


Fox Searchlight picks up McQueen’s ‘Shame’

Posted by Kristopher Tapley · 4:35 pm · September 9th, 2011

I would say “Toldja!,” but I think that’s trademarked elsewhere. Nevertheless, as indicated here a few times, Fox Searchlight Pictures was pretty serious about “Shame” after the film bowed at Venice and Telluride on the same day over the weekend. It’s set to screen Sunday in Toronto, but ahead of that, the dependent has bravely swooped in and picked the title up. The press release, in part:

Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula announced today that the company has acquired U. S. rights to the intimate and provocative drama SHAME…

“Fox Searchlight contacted us immediately after the screening in Telluride to tell us how much they loved the film. Their approach to marketing and distributing the film this year was incredibly detailed and impressive. We are excited to be working with them on a film that is sparking debate and a strong emotional reaction from audiences,” said Canning and Sherman.

“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.

Deadline broke the news exclusively in advance of the official announcement.

As I noted in Tuesday’s Off the Carpet column, just before the bidding war bubbled to the surface online the next night, night, when the bidding war bubbled to the surface on the net, “Combined with pick-ups for very non-Searchlight (as of late) titles “The Tree of Life” (which, by the way, did indeed screen for the studio at last year’s Telluride fest, though the deal was pretty much on the way to signatures) and “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” I think nabbing Steve McQueen’s film would be a great statement that the dependent isn’t merely in the business of “indie but accessible.”

So with that in mind, here’s my gold clap. Bravo, kids.

I expect there will be an awards campaign, particularly for star Michael Fassbender. While it’ll be an uphill climb to curry favor with the Academy on a film like this, it nevertheless will be a smart move to drum up buzz around it and potentially drive box office as a result. And, as I said to Anne in yesterday’s podcast, it’s wise to be in business with a guy like Steve McQueen, an undeniable talent.

That awards journey might begin with Venice kudos this weekend. Guy has already offered his personal picks and predictions for that, and he expects a decent showing for the film. We’ll see how it goes. It’s worth noting that the last substantial Fox Searchlight pick-up out of Toronto, “The Wrestler,” managed to win the Golden Lion before heading across the pond. Will “Shame” pull off a similar feat? We’ll see.

Guy’s thoughts on the film out of Venice here, mine out of Telluride here.

Here’s the Venice pres conference and a clip from the film:

[Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures]




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→ 47 Comments Tags: , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

47 responses so far

  • 1 9-09-2011 at 4:41 pm

    /3rtfull said...

    Fox Searchlight released The Dreamers (2003) with an NC-17.

  • 2 9-09-2011 at 4:47 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Indeed they did. (Are you trivia man lately?)

  • 3 9-09-2011 at 4:50 pm

    James said...

    That be interesting if McQueen had a similar career as Aronofsky as to what he plans to do next.

  • 4 9-09-2011 at 4:52 pm

    /3rtfull said...

    I just wanted to be first before someone brought up the whole ratings issue.

  • 5 9-09-2011 at 4:52 pm

    Speaking English said...

    Great, now they just need to change the title and we’re set.

  • 6 9-09-2011 at 4:53 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    /3rtfull: Well-spotted and preempted.

  • 7 9-09-2011 at 4:53 pm

    Dooby said...

    I’m intrigued about this approach to marketing and distributing the film they talk about it. If they manage a few oscar noms for an NC-17 film I’ll be very impressed.

  • 8 9-09-2011 at 4:54 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    The title is perfect.

  • 9 9-09-2011 at 5:07 pm

    mikhael said...

    I think the title is perfect. Now at least in Searchlight’s hands, I know it will get proper release (one can only wish it gets an expansion to smaller cities).

    Can we expect a trailer soon?

  • 10 9-09-2011 at 5:17 pm

    Keith said...

    Can’t wait to see it. I think the title works fine based on what I’ve read about it.

  • 11 9-09-2011 at 5:22 pm

    Michael said...

    The best news of the day! Way to go Fox Searchlight!!!! I doubt this film will go that wide, but at least with a studio like Fox Searchlight behind it, I trust that it will go to more cities than just NY/LA.

  • 12 9-09-2011 at 5:27 pm

    John G said...

    …can someone please acknowledge that this director shares his name with a major Hollywood star. I’ve read countless articles about him both in 2008 and 2011 and this elephant in the room is driving me crazy.

  • 13 9-09-2011 at 5:29 pm

    Chase Kahn said...

    In this day-and-age it’s very tough to pull off, but I’m subscribing to the “Guy Lodge Method” of avoiding trailers at all cost this year and so far I love it. It was so refreshing to watch “Martha Marcy May Marlene” without seeing as much as a screenshot beforehand.

    Now, if only I could convince the folks at my local cineplex.

    With “M4″ slated for October, I suppose we can expect “Shame” to get a lat November-into-December rollout?

  • 14 9-09-2011 at 5:44 pm

    cineJAB said...

    So glad to hear this after “A Dangerous Method” started to fizzle. Fassbender is having a remarkable year and I really do hope it ends with him receiving at least a nomination.

  • 15 9-09-2011 at 5:48 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    John: Kinda unnecessary, isn’t it?

  • 16 9-09-2011 at 6:01 pm

    Speaking English said...

    The title is not perfect. It shares its name with one of Ingmar Bergman’s greatest pictures, and I feel it robs the title of any unique identity it could otherwise have. He could have come up with any name on Earth, he didn’t need to repeat.

  • 17 9-09-2011 at 6:05 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    It’s silly to think it can’t share said title with another film, however revered. If a piece of art has to stop and think about another piece of art that shares its title, it’s inherently NOT organic to what it is.

    The title is perfect. Move on.

  • 18 9-09-2011 at 6:14 pm

    Speaking English said...

    Well I suppose once I see the film perhaps my opinion will change. I just think it’s a bit bland and uninspired.

  • 19 9-09-2011 at 6:18 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Put it this way: I can’t think of another title that so perfectly captures the deepest essence of the film. Anything else would have felt like a trying attempt at something else.

  • 20 9-09-2011 at 6:24 pm

    Rashad said...

    He should have the courtesy to put his middle initial there.

  • 21 9-09-2011 at 6:38 pm

    Dean said...

    Not to inflate anyone’s ego, but I can’t help but think that maybe several “Oscar bloggers’” highly favorable reaction might have had something to do with the purchase? Maybe I’m totally off base, but I can’t help but wonder if Searchlight has overestimated its award chances. Maybe that didn’t have anything to do with the deal, but I would love it if something this challenging does get serious traction though.

  • 22 9-09-2011 at 6:39 pm

    Pablo (Col) said...

    Besides being a quite great actor, Fassbender is supported with what appears to be a really intense and intimate movie. McQueen looks like one of those perfectionists you just learn to love.

  • 23 9-09-2011 at 6:44 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Dean: The Searchlight folks were as floored as some of the rest of us. There was definite interest the moment the screening was over. Can’t take any credit, but I’m sure the notion that there would be definite champions was a plus.

  • 24 9-09-2011 at 6:44 pm

    JF said...

    I’d love it if all this acclaim for Michael Fassbender can translate into a nom.

    If not for ‘Shame’ or ‘Method’, how about a Supporting Actor nom for ‘Jane Eyre’? Do you think it’s possible, Kris?

  • 25 9-09-2011 at 6:57 pm

    jon said...

    Looking forward this. Good on Searchlight.

  • 26 9-09-2011 at 7:22 pm

    Dana Jones said...

    Maybe I imagined this but doesn’t McQueen’s contract state he will have the final cut?

  • 27 9-09-2011 at 7:44 pm

    Mr. Gittes said...

    Eat piss, Rashad.

    Dana: Deadline’s Michael Fleming reports that McQueen has final cut.

  • 28 9-09-2011 at 7:51 pm

    Keith said...

    Um, do you guys police these comments? Can we not keep it civilized?

  • 29 9-09-2011 at 8:38 pm

    Speaking English said...

    This place is a church compared to most sites. But anyhow, how does one “eat” piss?

  • 30 9-09-2011 at 8:53 pm

    Colin said...

    I find it bafflingly funny that the name of both the film and its director are being attacked because some other cinematic legend had it first. There’s room for more than one, no?

  • 31 9-09-2011 at 9:13 pm

    Kevin said...

    Just curious – there’s a bit in the video above at around 2:24 where there are 5 people (including McQueen and Fassbender) taking a photo together.

    Who are the two men on the left? Are they the film’s producers?

  • 32 9-09-2011 at 9:20 pm

    Findley said...

    Hope all is well with Michael Fassbender–who’s canceled trip to TIFF. (Perhaps exhaustion from filming continuously for 20 months…)

  • 33 9-09-2011 at 11:08 pm

    The Other James D. said...

    Good Lord. This film shares its title with a Bergman film; the director shares his name with an action star. Overlap’s bound to occur.

    SO happy this fell into the hands of Fox Searchlight though! I trust them when it comes to campaigning and distributing. Hopefully Fassbender, and maybe Mulligan as well, can score noms. Uphill, as Kris stated, but new ground can be broken. Just as long as they don’t falter on MMMM’s campaign, I’ll be happy.

  • 34 9-10-2011 at 12:57 am

    Jim T said...

    Colin – What I find anooying about his (and not the film’s) name is that it makes google or youtube or whatever search difficult. I always have to include another word to be sure I won’t find info about the other Steve.

  • 35 9-10-2011 at 3:41 am

    jennifer said...

    @Kevin – yes, they’re the producers Iain Canning and Emile Sherman who also produced THE KING’s SPEECH.

  • 36 9-10-2011 at 4:36 am

    Beau said...

    I’ve yet to see the video (and I’m sure I may be overlooking this on my ancient iPhone 3G) but has there been a specific release date announced?

  • 37 9-10-2011 at 6:31 am

    ninja said...

    “Hope all is well with Michael Fassbender–who’s canceled trip to TIFF. (Perhaps exhaustion from filming continuously for 20 months…)”

    Uhm,no. Word among those who know Fass is that his off screen life is just like Shame. I could believe it because he, although really hot, looks way older than his age (the crow feet is really raning rampant on his face in X Men) which could be a sign of unhealthy life-style. Not just due to overwork. I mean, Leo is also working full-speed and yet is as boyish looking as ever and so are other in-high0demand actors like Depp (almost 50), Pitt, etc.

  • 38 9-10-2011 at 6:42 am

    tony rock said...

    @ninja…interesting, but isn’t Leo a partier/player/hound in his off-time as well?

  • 39 9-10-2011 at 7:32 am

    Bia said...

    Not a good sign that Michael canceled his TIFF trip…

  • 40 9-10-2011 at 7:41 am

    Zac said...

    It’s quite a slate Fox Searchlight has this year:

    The Descendants
    Martha Marcy May Marlene
    Shame
    The Tree of Life

  • 41 9-10-2011 at 9:14 am

    Ella said...

    Could Fassbender be headed back to Venice to pick up a Coppa Volpi?

  • 42 9-10-2011 at 1:35 pm

    Fitz said...

    I’m curious how ninja knows about Michael Fassbender’s private life.

  • 43 9-10-2011 at 1:44 pm

    JJ1 said...

    Gah, just that small clip, alone, has me excited.

  • 44 9-10-2011 at 3:51 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    ninja’s comments are stupid as it pertains to Fassbender canceling his Toronto trip. The trip was nixed so he could fly back to Venice to accept the Volpi Cup.

  • 45 9-10-2011 at 5:58 pm

    Ryan Sartor said...

    Is it possible Clooney is pissed about this acquisition? He’s going to want Searchlight’s full attention, which will be difficult to give if they’re getting Fassbender a nomination as well. Gosling probably would have been nominated if ‘Blue Valentine’ had been handled by a studio that didn’t have a big Best Actor play already as Weinstein did with Colin Firth.

  • 46 9-10-2011 at 6:45 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    I don’t think he thinks that way.

  • 47 9-11-2011 at 4:53 am

    Kevin said...

    Thanks Jennifer!