Much of the recent positive attention lavished upon British director Steve McQueen's
latest movie Shame
has focused on the continuing, fruitful relationship between McQueen and leading man Michael Fassbender.
Shame is the second collaboration between the pair, who worked together on McQueen's acclaimed debut Hunger
and are set to join forces once more on his third film Twelve Years A Slave,
due out sometime later this year.
The general consensus is that working in tandem brings the best out of both artists, which makes one think about the other great directing and acting duos of cinema history. The obvious place to begin is, of course, Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro who, over a remarkable 22 year period teamed up to produce 8 films, many of which are commonly cited as being amongst the best of all time. With work such as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas on their collaborative CV, Scorsese and De Niro have claim to being the most extraordinarily consistent director- actor partnership in the history of cinema.
Yet there are many other partnerships which challenge for the title. What about Tim Burton and Johnny Depp whose shared sense of humour and pathos so enriched Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood, amongst other titles? Or Alfred Hitchcock and Cary Grant, whose partnership produced suspense classics like North by Northwest and To Catch a Thief? More recently David Fincher has done much of his most potent work in collaboration with Brad Pitt, who brought a sense of likability to his hard edged thriller Seven and a sense of raw physicality to his anarchic Fight Club.
Who you consider cinema's greatest partnership is going to be a matter of personal taste but one thing is for certain. Great things happen when a director finds a performer who truly “gets” their vision.