TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE (2013)
In 1841, Solomon Northrup, a free black man living in New York, was drugged, kidnapped, and sold into slavery in New Orleans. He toiled as a slave, bouncing from owner to owner, for 12 years, until he was eventually freed. His account of his experiences became something of a best seller during the time of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, but his story is comparatively little known today.
That is, until later this year, when director Steve McQueen (Shame) brings his feature adaptation to theaters, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor (2012, Salt, Children of Men) as Northrup and one of the most impressive casts of the year: Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Paul Giamatti, Alfre Woodard, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Kenneth Williams, Paul Dano, and Sarah Paulson. In an interview with Collider, Giamatti says that McQueen, who penned the script with John Ridley (Red Tails, Undercover Brother), wanted to “take any kind of modern sensibility off of it and just create a world in which it’s completely normal that people get chained up and beaten and sold to each other.” We’ll have to wait to see McQueen’s film to discover how successful his efforts ultimately were, but at least, finally, we’ll be able to witness a film about slavery that is actually, fully about slavery.
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