Sir Steve McQueen says his younger self ‘wouldn’t give a damn about knighthood’

Steve McQueen, winner of the BFI Fellowship Award, pictured in the press room at the London Film Festival Awards, held at Ban
Steve McQueen, winner of the BFI Fellowship Award, pictured in the press room at the London Film Festival Awards, held at Banqueting House in London.

Sir Steve McQueen has said that his younger self would not be impressed by his knighthood.

The Oscar-winning filmmaker, 50, told the Big Issue that while it is “great” to receive the honour “it doesn’t mean anything unless you can actually use it”.

The 12 Years A Slave director was given a knighthood in the New Year’s Honours list for services to film.

Sir Steve McQueen
Sir Steve is an Oscar-winning director (Ian West/PA)

Sir Steve told the magazine: “My younger self wouldn’t give a damn about my knighthood.

“‘What is he doing with it?’ That is what he would ask.

“The country I come from gave me this high award – and that’s great.

“But it doesn’t mean anything unless you can actually use it.”

He added that he doesn’t admire his younger self “for following his path”.

Widows Special Screening – London
Sir Steve was knighted for services to film (Ian West/PA)

“I just think of the other people that could have gone on a similar path but didn’t,” he said.

“I was an exception because of hard-headedness and luck.

“Or hard-headedness and talent. My hard-headedness and a certain innate talent to draw made that luck.”

He also claimed that 12 Years A Slave “opened a lot of doors for other filmmakers”.

“Certain movies would not have been made without it – and I know that for a fact because the producers told me.

“So it was a real catalyst moment for filmmaking.

“It was me being headstrong again. Everyone was telling me no and I didn’t take any notice, just like before.”

The Big Issue, sold by vendors to lift themselves out of poverty, is available now.

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