Michael Fassbender strips down in NC-17-rated "Shame"

CBSNews.com's Ken Lombardi speaks with "X-Men: First Class" star Michael Fassbender about his two new films, David Cronenberg's "A Dangerous Method" and Steve McQueen's NC-17-rated "Shame," co-starring Carey Mulligan.

(CBS) Michael Fassbender is a versatile actor perhaps best known to audiences for his performance in 2009's "Inglorious Basterds" and for his portrayal as a younger version of the mastermind Magneto in last summer's blockbuster "X-Men: First Class." And the Irish-born actor has certainly remained busy as of late, starring in two new features, "A Dangerous Method" and "Shame," each film daring and unusual in its own right.

"A Dangerous Method" is directed by legendary filmmaker David Cronenberg ("A History of Violence," "The Fly") and explores the relationship between famous psychoanalysts Carl Jung (Fassbender) and Sigmund Frued (Viggo Mortenson) as they study a sexually-troubled woman portrayed by Kiera Knightley. "Shame," meanwhile, has been rated NC-17 and features Fasssbender as a compulsive sex addict who heads toward a downward spiral after his sister (Carey Mulligan) comes to live with him.

Fassbender met with CBSNews.com in New York to discuss his two provocative new releases. Both films explore issues of sexuality, although he claims that wasn't a main draw for him.

"Do I seek out things that have to do with sex? No," the actor told us while laughing, "It was David Cronenberg and Steve McQueen, they really would be the sort of main reasons for being attracted to both jobs. And then the scripts that went with them."

Fassbender's mentioning of McQueen refers to the director of "Shame," who shares the same name with the famous movie star. Given the topic of sex addiction, Fassbender was required to bare all in many scenes featuring full-frontal nudity throughout the course of the film.

"It was pretty intense...We filmed the whole thing in 25 days...Very focused. And also a lot fun...I suppose when you're dealing with heavy subject matter, it's important to keep things light," Fassbender said of the shoot.

So far, "Shame" and "A Dangerous Method" have attracted very positive receptions from critics, with many signaling out Fassbender's performances. The actor will next be seen in Steven Soderbergh's "Haywire" and Ridley Scott's "Prometheus," both due to be released next year.

See more of our interview with Fassbender at the top of this story.

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    Ken Lombardi is an entertainment reporter for CBS News. He has interviewed over 300 celebrities, including Clint Eastwood, Oprah Winfrey and Tom Hanks.