Better Know Your Steve McQueens

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You may have heard about a movie called Shame that's coming out on Friday and has been getting a lot of positive buzz. And you also may have heard that it's directed by Steve McQueen. Wait, that Steve McQueen? No, the other Steve McQueen. No the other other Steve McQueen. This is confusing. Which Steve McQueen is which? Here, we'll break it down for you. 

Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen was a popular actor in the 1960s and '70s who was known for tough, suave performances in movies like The Great EscapeBullitt, and The Thomas Crown Affair. At one point the highest paid actor in the world, McQueen was one of the most iconic movie stars of his generation. Sadly he died in 1980, at age 50, from cancer believed to have been caused by asbestos exposure, so it is unlikely that he is the Steve McQueen anyone's talking about when they mention the new Steve McQueen movie.

Steven R. McQueen

This is McQueen's grandson, a handsome kid who plays the lead character's brother on The CW's The Vampire Diaries. On the show he died but was brought back to life so now he can see and talk to ghosts. He clearly worked out over the summer because he's all beefcake this season, which would probably make his grandfather proud? Who knows. The point is, this Steve McQueen is one of the cute guys on The Vampire Diaries, which may not necessarily befit the grandson of one of cinema's top talents, but whatever, it's work. Highly addictive work. Chances are this is not the Steve McQueen you are looking for. 

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Steve McQueen

The other Steve McQueen is a British artist who typically works in video installations, but has recently made the switch to directing feature films. His first, a hunger strike movie appropriately called Hunger, won lots of accolades, including an award at Cannes. His second feature is Shame, a sex addiction drama starring Michael Fassbender, who also played the lead in Hunger. McQueen's moody and intense style, fully on display in Shame, is earning lots of praise (we'll review the film here on Friday), as is Michael Fassbender's kamikaze performance, which will likely garner some awards attention once that great lurching Indiana Jones ball gets rolling. This is probably the Steve McQueen you've been hearing about lately, if you're friends with a bunch of borderline-annoying film people, anyway.

"Steve McQueen"

This is a song by Sheryl Crow about the original Steve McQueen. There may be some sort of  tribute video on YouTube of this song played over pictures of the Vampire Diaries Steve McQueen, but we don't dare seek such a thing out. (Or at least don't dare to say out loud that we'll probably seek such a thing out after work.) It is absolutely not the Steve McQueen movie you are looking for.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.