The first trailer for director Steve McQueen’s (Shame) historical drama 12 Years a Slave has been released online. Based on Solomon Northup’s autobiography of the same name, the film stars Chiwetel Ejiofor (Children of Men) as Northup, an educated and married black man living in 1853 New York. Northup was approached by two men about a job offer in Washington D.C., but when he showed up he was kidnapped and forced into slavery for over a decade. Ejiofor’s performance as Northup is every bit as hopeful as Michael Fassbender’s plantation owner Edwin Epps is terrifying. It’s easy to get caught up in early Oscar talk from this trailer, but let’s not forget how socially relevant Northup’s story is today, even 150 years later.
Hit the jump to watch the trailer. The film also stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Quvenzhane Wallis, Sarah Paulson, Paul Dano, Scoot McNairy, Garrett Dillahunt, Alfre Woodard, Dwight Henry, Michael K. Williams, and Brad Pitt. 12 Years a Slave opens on October 18th.
Head over to Apple to watch the trailer in HD:
Here’s the official synopsis for 12 Years a Slave:
12 YEARS A SLAVE is based on an incredible true story of one man’s fight for survival and freedom. In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Facing cruelty (personified by a malevolent slave owner, portrayed by Michael Fassbender) as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity. In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon’s chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Brad Pitt) forever alters his life.