It’s already a leading contender for honors during the coming movie awards season.
“12 Years a Slave” is based on the true story of Solomon Northup, a free man from upstate New York who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the 1840s.
British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor plays the lead role and said it was a real challenge:
“I started off the journey sort of terrified by the responsibility of playing Solomon Northup, and not only playing him but telling a story – from the inside – of the slave experience and the fact that I’ve never really seen that before, and I was sort of frightened of it actually. And then, through the process, it turned into the most remarkable privilege to tell this story,” he said.
Michael Fassbender, who starred in both of British director Steve McQueen’s previous films, plays plantation owner Edwin Epps – a role for which he has earned critical acclaim. He said he was deeply touched after reading the script:
“I thought it was a beautiful story. I thought he was an incredibly guy. I was like ‘This is a true story? This is incredible.’ I was very moved, quite tearful by the end of it. I just got on the phone straight away to Steve (McQueen) and just told him, you know, please can I do something on this story? Even if it’s a days work or two days work, I want to be part of it.”
Everyone has something to learn from this movie according to Chiwetel Ejiofor:
“I think it’s a story for everybody. It crosses all boundaries of race and gender and religion, anything. It’s a story that really speaks to human respect, and what that means,” he said.
According to some critics, “12 Years a Slave” is often harrowingly difficult to watch but is ultimately concerned with being faithful to Northup’s experience.
The film was produced by Brad Pitt who plays a small but pivotal role.
“12 Years a Slave” opens from October in the United States and some European cinemas.