Steve McQueen (director of Hunger and last year’s Shame) has a new film in the works, titled Twelve Years A Slave. The current cast list is an exciting, somewhat eclectic group, and I cannot wait to see how they all mesh together with this director. So far Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Michael K. Williams (aka Omar from The Wire or Chalky White from HBO’s Boardwalk Empire) and Paul Giamatti are all on board. Click inside to read more about the film and the cast, and to celebrate a new Steve McQueen film!
According to The Playlist on Indiewire, Twelve Years A Slave will focus on the “true story of Solomon Northup, a freed slave who is tricked back into slavery, faces a grueling life under several owners and has to go court to reclaim his status. [Michael K.] Williams will play a mutinous slave named Robert.”
Now this is interesting, because Williams was originally supposed to play the lead role in Tarantino’s Django Unchained (now played by Jamie Foxx). I’m sure this will be a very different sort of film– although the subject matter is also slavery.
Here’s the full synopsis of the film, from Summit Entertainment:
SOLOMON NORTHUP (Chiwtel Ejiofor), an educated black man with a gift for music, lives with his wife and children in Saratoga, New York. One day, when his family is out of town, he is approached by two men claiming to be circus promoters. Solomon agrees to travel with them briefly, playing the fiddle while they perform. But after sharing a drink with the men, he awakens to find he has been drugged and bound and faces a horrifying reality: he is being shipped to the South as a slave.
No one listens to Solomon’s claim that he has papers proving his status as a free man. Despairing, he plots his escape, only to be foiled at every turn. He is sold to WILLIAM FORD, a kindly mill owner who appreciates Solomon’s thoughtful nature. But Ford is forced to sell him to a cruel master who subjects him and other slaves to unspeakable brutality. For years, Solomon nurtures his dreams of returning home. He stashes slips of stolen paper in his fiddle and develops a natural ink with which to write a letter. But when his greatest efforts come to nothing, he realizes just how trapped he is. Even if he could write the letter without being caught, where would he send it? Whom could he trust to deliver it? And will he even survive long enough to be rescued?
Refusing to abandon hope, Solomon watches helplessly as those around him succumb to violence, crushing emotional abuse and hopelessness. He realizes that he will have to take incredible risks, and depend on the most unlikely people, if he is ever to regain his freedom and be reunited with his family.
Now I’m really interested in this one– especially since the producers of The Tree Of Life are on board, and the script was written (with McQueen) by the Three Kings writer. Other cast members include Chiwetel Ejiofor (Dirty Pretty Things, Children Of Men, Salt) , Scoot McNairy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Sarah Paulson, Garrett Dillahunt, Ruth Negga, Taran Killam, Adepero Oduye and Alfre Woodard.
But here’s the thing (and don’t tell anyone); I have never actually seen a Steve McQueen film! And yet I’m obsessed with him? When Shame came out I couldn’t make the press screenings (I reeeallly wanted to write the review for Paste), and then it just never happened for me! Unacceptable, I know. But because of this bit of research I did on McQueen and his work, I’ve always felt like I’m a huge fan! I know, ridiculous.
However, I’ve seen a lot of these actors doing amazing on-screen things and I can’t wait to see them at work with the director I have no real, solid reason for loving, lol.
Anybody else excited for this? I’d especially love to hear from those of you who actually know this director’s work, and aren’t just into him because he’s a black, British director who makes movies with cool titles. Although this new one is breaking his single-word streak, which I was kind of into. Again, for no real, concrete reason.
Ok, I can’t lose all validity as a movie-goer/blogger/most random Steve McQueen fan ever. I’ve got Shame on Amazon Instant Video. It’s going down.
*Twelve Years A Slave is now expected to be released in 2013, not 2012 as expressed on the original promo poster.