First Trailer and Poster for 12 YEARS A SLAVE Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, and Benedict Cumberbatch

by     Posted 1 year, 159 days ago


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 CumberbatchPaul GiamattiQuvenzhane WallisSarah PaulsonPaul DanoScoot McNairyGarrett DillahuntAlfre WoodardDwight 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.


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  • justkiddingnobutseriously

    Holy. Shiz. The cast. This looks excellent.

  • FE

    “but let’s not forget how socially relevant Northup’s story is today, even 150 years later”
    UHH, there aren’t slaves in America anymore. Black people have every opportunity to become whatever they work hard to achieve. We have black leaders in the absolute highest positions of the military, business, entertainment, sports – you name it.. and our President is Black! Please explain to me how this is socially relevant to today? Seriously. We are not living in 1950′s Mississippi anymore. Please don’t add throw away lines into you editorials just to make it sound like you know a thing or two, it’s an insult to our great country & the progress we have all made. Thank you

    • Pietro Filipponi

      You’re welcome Mr. Zimmerman

      • FE

        Being hunted by the uninformed & elite of today. There’s your relevance

      • VladT

        You do realize that went completely over little Pietro’s head, right?

      • VladT

        You wouldn’t know Zimmerman from Zimbabwe outside of whatever they tell you on Daily Kos. You’re just a spoiled dipshit mad at mommy…Stop pretending to understand politics.

      • Strong Enough

        please…shut the fuck up.

      • Strong Enough

        please…shut the fuck up.

    • Nathaniel Haywood

      I bet German people say the same thing every time a WWII movie is made. I’m not comparing all white people to Nazis – I’m just saying it’s historical and there’s a message to be had even though it highlights a point in history that we’re not proud of. I would say Shindler’s List is still relevant today even though there’s no concentration camps anymore and even though it makes German people look bad. There’s a good message there – the good that even one man can do. You can say not all white people had slaves and we have changed all of that, and that would be true. Just like not all Germans were in the SS or ran concentration camps. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t valuable stories to be told from both periods. Or we can just stick to making pure popcorn flicks that have no message or real value beyond entertainment. Call me crazy, but I like both kinds of films. Just my two cents.

      • FE

        I can see your side of the coin, and you explained correctly. Nicely put. However, I don’t think the author had your same logical sentiments in mind.

      • Nathaniel Haywood

        Fair point!

      • Chris

        You have a point, but it requires the right people to tell those stories. In the wrong hands movies about oppression are a disastrous disservice to history. Remember The Help from a few years back ….

    • Andrew Hegele

      There is still a lot that is relevant today. In the trailer, Fassbender recites a passage from the Bible that promotes beating slaves in Gods name. Today, many Americans use The Bible to condone homosexuality. It’s socially acceptable to reject some passages now (slavery), but not others (homosexuality). We have progressed, but we still have a long way to go in terms of second class citizens.

      • VladT

        To equate slavery with gay people not getting married is insane and a slap in the face to those who actually had to go through it. Stop grasping at straws to push your politics.

      • Andrew Hegele

        Oh for Christ’s sake… stop sensationalizing shit. I wasn’t equating gay marriage and slavery, I was emphasizing how American’s still use The Bible to justify their actions. In relation to the relevance of this film and today, homophobia and slavery were the examples. He was fishing for relevance, this is STILL relevant.

      • VladT

        What’s sensationalist is the attempt to draw parallels between slavery in 1850s America and gay marriage today. Not everyone who opposes gay marriage does so based on the bible. Sorry. The idea is absurd.

      • Greyson

        The gay struggle is often compared to slavery, which is an over-exaggeration. However, the current gay struggle does compare to the current black struggle. Homophobia and racism are two sides of the same coin. Both receive unwarranted persecution from a society that claims. Racism does exist on both sides, but whites have the money/more power.

      • Hey…HEY!

        Condone or Condemn? You might want to correct that, Ace.


    looks great

  • Tangerine Knight

    Anti-White movies aplenty nowadays

    • Nathaniel Haywood

      I wouldn’t say it’s anti-white so much as it is about the perseverance of the human spirit. The story is centered around the main character enduring 12 years of hardship without losing hope and, we can assume, regaining his freedom. It’s also a true story, so there you have it. Plus, if the worst thing white people have to go through is enduring movies about slavery, then they got the best end of that deal. I mean, seriously.

    • Pietro Filipponi

      White people are self entitled shitbags. We deserve to be brought down a peg every few years.

      • VladT

        “White people are self entitled shitbags. We deserve to be brought down a peg every few years.”

        – Translation: “I’m an emo halfwit rebelling against mommy and daddy.”

        You’re such a good boy Pietro:) I’m sure your black friends on facebook approve of you.

      • FE

        Sayin what we’re all thinkin! Btw – You see these riots (my choice of words) forming in LA!? Check out KCAL 9 live online. Low information voters all over the country having quite a hissy fit. Stay safe people

    • sense11

      Oh are you offended sweety, here’s the smallest banjo in the world playing just for you, boo fucking hoo

    • Andrew Hegele

      Just curious, do you consider Holocaust movies “anti-arian”?

    • Papi

      How does Anti-Slavery = Anti-White?

    • Andrew Shaw

      I know, it’s so hard being a white person in this day and age. Jesus wept, the victim complex on some people.

  • Arnold

    Socially relevant? Yes all of those other black slaves in 2013

    • yo

      Wait…you dont have slaves? My daddy got a new one the other day.

      I’m joking NSA….I’m joking

  • pwnednoob

    The Title of this movie is kind of a Spoiler… isn’t it?

  • Redjester

    I just went on AICN and this is their summation of the trailer, “From what we’re seeing here, it’s looking like a potentially showy role
    for Ejiofor, mixed with a possibly Razzie-level performance by

    The F*ck? Did we just watch the same trailer??

    That site is really going down the tubes fast.

    Oh yeah, I think this looks amazing. I’m expecting actor nods for Ejiofor as well as Fassbender.

  • A-Man

    some of y’all may get to thinkin’:

    “where’s his pimpin-ass suits? and that funny horse of his? and that
    loud-ass hip-hop blaring throughout every action-packed fight scene? AND
    why are they not dropping the n-bomb like it never went out of

    well, this ain’t the film for you if you’re that way inclined, mister… this ain’t that film at all.*

    (*this one will be waaaaay better.)

    • Kenny Smith

      I thought Amistad was pretty good myself

  • LL

    Canadian saves the day again.

  • Keegan

    Steve McQueen is such a talented director. I’m hoping that this more mainstream film will help get his name more known out there. I think he’s going to wind up as one of the greatest directors of this decade. McQueen and Fassbender is the unrecognized Scorsese/DeNiro team of this generation

  • Strong Enough

    Hans Zimmer for the motherfuckin score!

  • Chris

    Shame was an amazing movie as was Hunger, but this one looks trite. Brad Pitt as a producer and actor is just not a good concept. The guy is not intelligent enough to make a relevant movie about slavery. Shame really because the other cast is outstanding.

    • what?

      Yeah, well.. He’s not “making” the movie, Steve McQueen is. You do realize what the job of a producer is, don’t you? A producer gets the director everything (logistics/financing, etc) that he (the director) needs in order for him to make the movie. And when it comes to the creative part, Pitt knows that McQueen has a vision, so no way in hell is he gonna interfere with the creative decisions of the movie.

      • Chris

        If Pitt puts up the money he want’s it back and will have major word on the artistic direction of the movie. This would not be the first time a director is unhappy with the final result of his movie after post production. Pitt produced Eat, Pray, Love, one of the most disgusting movies of all time, hugely insensitive towards race issues. Don’t be naive, Pitt wants money, not artistic quality.

      • Greyson

        Couldn’t be worse than Will Smith in After Earth.

      • goop

        I think you’re unfamiliar with McQueen’s work. I think that’s why people aren’t on board with you. I don’t know about the things your saying about Mr Pitt, but I know for sure that Steve McQueen will not be moved. He’s like the Diego Rivera of cinema. He’d rather watch his work be destroyed, than changed for the purpose of someone else’s taste. Diego defied Rockefeller, I think McQueen can handle Pitt.

      • Chris

        Shame and Hunger were great movies, made very little money unfortunately. If you get with a major Hollywood guy like Pitt you have to make amends. This trailer looks nothing like McQueens first 2 movies.

      • Chris

        Shame and Hunger were great movies, made very little money unfortunately. If you get with a major Hollywood guy like Pitt you have to make amends. This trailer looks nothing like McQueens first 2 movies.

      • rahv

        He didn’t seem to interfere with Dominik when they made The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford… or with Malick’s Tree of Life. Pitt respects artistic quality the most, you don’t know what you are talking about.

      • rahv

        He didn’t seem to interfere with Dominik when they made The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford… or with Malick’s Tree of Life. Pitt respects artistic quality the most, you don’t know what you are talking about.

  • VladT

    Slavery in the 1850s and modern day America…Apparently full of parallels for Dave Trumbore and other pseudo-intellectuals who confuse race-baiting with having an opinion.

    • Strong Enough

      you sound like your one step away from joining your local neo nazi club. calm the fuck down whitey.

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  • sense11

    Nice, i will definitely watch this,

    to all the people “claiming” that this is an anti white movie, FUCK YOU, its a true story, get over it and learn how to accept your countries history

  • bidi

    i’m not saying i could even come close to what these guys do, but this is the type of movie that makes me want to be an actor. you have the big spectacle movies, but then you have the dramas where we go to the theater simply to watch people show a mastery of their craft

  • Calderon

    Mr. Tarantino, I respect the movie you made, but I want you to take a very good look at the movie Mr. McQueen has made. From the trailer and ignoring the music cues from Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Inception, It very well looks historically accurate (The Civil War started with the Battle of Fort Sumter in 1861, not in 1860.), does not in any way satirize or sensationalize the subject matter of America’s painful history (You may very well think shooting flashbacks like a ’70s movie is homage, but you know what? As a POC, I found the style lurid and exploitive, particularly when Broomhilda is whipped – you should have kept your tone respectful to your audience and shot it without making it all “nostalgic’ as a ’70s movie.), is not anachronistic (In no way, shape, or form did I gain any inference about the antebellum American South when Tupac and James Brown was playing and Django was shooting away. You should have used more late classical and/or early Romantic music to show the nuances of European culture in America at the time.), and still does not tone down the brutality of the heinous crimes of the slaveowner.

    • bidi

      well thank god he didn’t do the things you talked about and we’re left with the OSCAR WINNING Django Unchained

      • Calderon

        I said I respect his movie. It’s not the movie about slavery I expected, but I enjoyed it and thought it was a very well-acted spaghetti Western.

        You may say it won two Oscars. I think that unequivocally dealing the with the traumas of America’s racial injustice in a more realistic way trumps winning a gold statue.

    • Greyson

      because there is only one way to make a movie…

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  • Susie

    Oscar nods for Fassbender (way overdue), McQueen, and Ejiofor. Please let it happen!

  • Polarboy

    Jesus I despair at some of the people on here, they say that this film isn’t socially relevant, although last time I checked a film doesn’t have to be socially relevant to the time, especially one that is based on a true story a story that could very well, and most probably will, elucidate socially relevant points other than slavery is bad. It’s very clear from the thinly veiled racism on here that this film is very relevant to at least the people who are making such comments. Sadly though it is not just a bunch of message board keyboard warriors that are at fault. We still have a very long way to go unfortunately and it is at times of austerity that we really see just how far, we have come.

  • Harry

    The movie comes out October 18, not December 27.

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  • Twistednic

    I love Fassbender but man oh manatee I can not help but miss Leo as the brutal white slaver. He knocked it out of the park.

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