Michael Fassbender wants audiences to see through his dark characters and be inspired to "learn from each other".

The actor has worked with director Steve McQueen to play hunger strike prisoner Bobby Sands in 'Hunger' and a sex addict in his latest film, 'Shame', and while he admits both films feature extreme scenes, he hopes the director can inspire "hope" in cinemagoers.

He told The Scotsman newspaper: "Steve wants to do challenging things. And he wants to make people think and talk and question what we're all doing here, what we're doing to each other, and how we can, hopefully, learn from each other and move forward.

"It's very important to have hope. Otherwise, what's the point?"

Michael, 34, also acknowledges that conditions such as sex addiction are much more prevalent in society today because of easy and anonymous access to pornography through the internet.

He added: "When I was 14, you had to reach up to the top shelf - and then there's somebody behind the counter looking at you. So that sort of shame or embarrassment was present at the point of purchase.

"Now you just go on the internet and there's two thousand million choices."

'Shame' is in cinemas from January 13.