Sunday 25 February 2018

Hot property with film star's name

Steve McQueen accepts the award for best picture of the year for 12 Years A Slave (AP)
Steve McQueen accepts the award for best picture of the year for 12 Years A Slave (AP)

Steve McQueen used to be the artist with the famous film-star's name but the success of 12 Years A Slave means he is now one of Hollywood's hottest properties in his own right.

The director, who lives and works in Amsterdam, made his name in the contemporary art world but has moved effortlessly into the film industry and capped it off with the best picture Oscar for 12 Years A Slave.

He trained at the Chelsea School of Art and Goldsmith's College in London and made his mark with a string of silent black and white films.

He won the Turner Prize in 1999 with a series of short films including footage of a tape recorder drifting off beneath a balloon, but his win was overshadowed by Tracey Emin's controversial unmade bed which was also shortlisted that year.

A stint as an official war artist produced a work entitled Queen And Country which took the form of facsimile postage stamps featuring portraits of soldiers who died in Iraq.

McQueen, who was awarded a CBE for services to the visual arts in 2010, started his move into more mainstream cinema with 2008's Hunger which starred Michael Fassbender as IRA hunger-striker Bobby Sands.

His next film, Shame, again starred Fassbender - this time as a high-powered advertising executive struggling with sex addiction.

Both films were critically acclaimed and raised McQueen's profile in Hollywood, but the success of 12 Years A Slave - which has impressed critics and attracted big audiences - has made him even more in demand.

What he does next is anybody's guess but he is due to team up with the BBC to make an epic drama about the lives of black Britons over more than half a century in his native London and has made it clear he is not tempted by a big Hollywood deal.

Earlier this year he told Newsnight he was not interested in money saying: "I wanted to have shelter and I wanted to be able to buy any book I wanted and that was it, I have those, that's enough."

Press Association

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