Steve McQueen: It's Shameful There Aren't More Black Directors, Actors

Director Steve McQueen: Hollywood Should Be Ashamed Because...

Steve McQueen's next feature film, about the downward spiral of a sex addict, is titled "Shame." That's also the word he uses to decry the lack of black actors and directors in Hollywood.

McQueen, who is himself black, spoke as part of The Hollywood Reporter's directors roundtable, of which he was the only minority participant. When the lack of diversity on the panel came up in conversation, McQueen was ready with his criticisms of the film industry.

"I mean, it's opportunity, isn't it? That's what it's about -- opportunity," the British filmmaker said. "And access, because some people just give up. I'm always astonished by American filmmakers, particularly living in certain areas, when they never cast one black person, or have never put them in a lead in the movie. I'm astonished. It's shameful. How do you live in New York and not cast a black actor or a Latino actor? It's shameful. It's unbelievable."

He received no real response; "Young Adult" director Jason Reitman said, "Not stepping into that," while the filmmaker behind "Moneyball," Bennett Miller, simply replied, "I don't know."

There are a number of highly successful black directors, including Spike Lee, Tyler Perry, Forrest Whitaker and occasionally, Denzel Washington. Still, none of the top ten grossing films of the year were directed by black filmmakers -- "Rio," the animated film, was directed by Brazilian Carlos Saldanha, the only minority on the list -- and this awards season is bereft of black directors beyond McQueen. As for actors, it looks as if Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer from "The Help" look like they'll be true awards contenders.

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