Actor Michael Fassbender, who stars in the forthcoming Ridley Scott film Prometheus as an artificial life form, is featured on the cover and in the pages of the new issue of GQ magazine. In the accompanying photospread, a fully-dressed Fassy mugs for the camera with and without a sexy lady by his side (she, unlike Fassbender, shows a bit of skin). In the coverstory interview, some bit of text is devoted to Fassy’s previous work but, invariably, the focus re-centers squarely on his penis … which those of us who have seen his film Shame got an eyeful of last Winter. If you are so inclined, you can check out below photos from Fassbender’s GQ photospread, read an excerpt from the coverstory feature and check out behind the scenes video from the photoshoot set.
Though it was well-reviewed and much discussed, Shame was not a widely watched box-office hit. And despite its raw subject matter, it is not in the least a titillating film. Also, while Fassbender is very visibly naked in the movie, he is, of course, far from the first male actor to appear this way. So why has his nudity inspired such attention, so much blinkered focus and giggly merriment? I’d suggest that the main reason, if we’re being honest, is a simple one, and relates to the surreal, feverish totemization of penis size in our culture: People feel free to harp on about someone’s penis as though this is not insulting or inappropriate because, if that penis is sufficiently large, any reference to it is, by default, flattering. (Were he possessed of “an unimpressive sausage,” so to speak, far less would have been said.) This is why each time Fassbender’s role in Shame is reduced to a simple act of undressing, no one seems to worry that it’s an insult to everything else he did in the movie: He has a big dick, so he’s got nothing to be unhappy about and every reason to smile at anything we might say on the subject. I think it really may be that idiotic … Setting aside the totality of what Fassbender does in Shame, there is one moment where I thought: “I’m not sure I’ve ever sat in the cinema and watched someone do that.” It is not where he is facing toward the camera, naked. It is when you see him actually piss. “I know,” he says. Usually for movie pissing the liquid you see is actually coming from a hidden tube, but he was nude. For the first two takes, he wasn’t able to do anything, but he announced on-set before the third that it would happen, and it did. “Actually pretty proud,” he says. And then he laughs and says— more blurts out, really— “That peeing cost me an Oscar.”
Yes, even when magazines try to explain the silliness of focusing on his penis, they invariably focus on his penis. I agree with the author of his feature that when all anyone talks about is someone’s body parts (be they men or, more likely, women) they take away and negate the rest of the person’s accomplishments. Our culture has made a habit of reducing women to their body parts … but when it happens to men, it’s an issue? I guess it sucks for Michael Fassbender to always be reduced to his penis but it also really sucks for women to constantly be reduced to their body parts as well — on a daily basis. Life isn’t fair sometimes, I suppose. BUT, enough about penises. Michael Fassbender is a hugely talented actor and I am happy to see him in films … whether he is dressed or not. And speaking of being dressed, here is behind the scenes video of Fassy modeling some fancy threads in this month’s issue of GQ magazine:
I’m really looking forward to seeing Fassbender in Prometheus. Sometimes magazine promo like this does have the intended impact on me. I can’t wait to see more of Michael Fassbender … and no, I’m not talking body parts.