Fox Searchlight is getting its Oscar plans in order by announcing that they’ve set Steve McQueen‘s Twelve Years a Slave for December 27th. Based on Solomon Northup’s autobiography of the same name, Chiwetel Ejiofor plays 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. The film has lined up one of the best casts in recent memory. In addition to Ejifor, the film also stars Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Paul Dano, Scoot McNairy, Quvenzhane Wallis, Paul Giamatti, Sarah Paulson, Garrett Dillahunt, Alfre Woodard, and Benedict Cumberbatch. Fox Searchlight’s Oscar odds also go up when you consider that two films involving slavery—Lincoln and Django Unchained—grabbed Best Picture nominations last year (somehow, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter missed the cut).
The only other film set for December 27th’s is The Weinstein Company’s Oscar-hopeful Grace of Monaco starring Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly. I can’t wait to see Twelve Years a Slave, and I hope it will play at TIFF like McQueen’s first two features, Hunger and Shame.
This year, Quvenzhané Wallis became the youngest person ever to receive a Best Actress Oscar nomination, for her performance in Beasts of the Southern Wild. Recognized for her work as Hushpuppy, she was honored with a Virtuosos Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF). Collider was there to cover and attend the event, and we’ve compiled the highlights of what the actress had to say, both on the press line and during the Q&A.
While there, Quvenzhané Wallis talked about getting over her nerves for her audition, what she remembers most about the film’s shoot, how director Benh Zeitlin helped with her performance, what she most likes about her character, the relationship she has with movie dad Dwight Henry, how fun the experience of making 12 Years A Slave was, how she’d like to voice an animal in an animated film, that she would love to do a musical, and that the whole awards show experience can be a little bit cuckoo. Check out what she had to say after the jump.
With production looming closer, director Steve McQueen is lining up an increasingly impressive cast for the historical drama Twelve Years a Slave. The story is based on the true life events of Solomon Northup, a free black man who was living in New York in the 1840s when he was duped into taking a job in Washington, D.C. only to be kidnapped and forced into manual labor on a Louisiana plantation. Chiwetel Ejiofor (Children of Men) is set in the lead role of Northup, with a stellar supporting cast that includes Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ruth Negga, Paul Dano, Taran Killam (Saturday Night Live) and Scoot McNairy (Killing Them Softly).
McQueen has stacked his cast even further, as Paul Giamatti, Sarah Paulson (Game Change), and Garret Dillahunt (Raising Hope) are the latest additions. Hit the jump for details on their roles.
Over the past two years, Michael Fassbender has gone from indie darling to mainstream movie star. And with his fantastic performance as an android named David in Ridley Scott‘s Prometheus, he’s cementing his status as one of the best actors working today. Trust me, after you see the film, you’ll also be raving about this performance.
Yesterday, I got to participate in a group interview with Fassbender in London. During the extended interview he talked about how he got involved with Prometheus, if he based his performance on the androids from Alien and Aliens, how he prepared for the role, his relationship with Peter Wayland, the viral marketing, Prometheus sequels, future projects like Twelve Years a Slave and the X-Men: First Class sequel (which just got a release date of July 14, 2014), and a lot more. Hit the jump to either read or listen to the interview.
All the casting news that money can buy:
- Hailee Steinfeld is in negotiations to star in the high school comedy Why We Broke Up
- Matt LeBlanc will headline the indie rom-com Lovesick
- Scoot McNairy and Ruth Negga will join Chiwetel Ejiofor, Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender Twelve Years a Slave
More on each project after the jump.
Continuing on with more information out of AFM, we’ve got the first synopsis and promo poster for 12 Years a Slave. Director Steve McQueen (Shame) reteams with Michael Fassbender in this adaptation of Solomon Northup’s autobiography. Northup was a free, educated black man living in New York City when he was kidnapped and forced into slavery for 12 years in the South. Chiwetel Ejofor stars as Northup alongside Fassbender and Brad Pitt. McQueen’s Shame is garnering serious awards attention (especially for Fassbender’s performance), and brutally candid touch should make 12 Years a Slave an unflinching and emotional pic. Hit the jump to check out the promo image and detailed synopsis.
In what’s turning into quite the fruitful relationship, Michael Fassbender is reteaming with director Steve McQueen for the third time on McQueen’s drama 12 Years a Slave. Fassbender first worked with McQueen on 2008’s Hunger, and most recently collaborated on Shame, which screened at the Toronto Film Festival to highly positive reviews, including raves for Fassbender’s performance (Matt called it “a devastating powerhouse”). Based on the 1853 autobiography of Solomon Northrup, 12 Years a Slave stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as the married and educated free black man living in New York who was kidnapped by two men and put into a slave pen where he lived twelve years under forced slavery. Variety’s report doesn’t specify what role Fassbender will take on, but production is set to begin early next year. Hit the jump to read a synopsis of Northrup’s book.
Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained isn’t the only film going into production that’s set to tackle the harsh realities of slavery. Brad Pitt is producing an adaptation of Solomon Northup’s harrowing autobiography Twelve Years a Slave through his Plan B production banner. THR reports that Steve McQueen (Hunger) is on board to direct, and British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor (Salt) will star as Northup. McQueen co-wrote the script with John Ridley.
Written in 1853, the autobiography tells the story of Northup, a married and educated free black man living in New York. He was approached by two men about a job offer in Washington D.C., but when he showed up he was kidnapped and put into a slave pen where he began a life of forced slavery under the guise of several owners. This is definitely some heavy material, as the book recounts the grueling realities of slavery in D.C. in vivid detail. Hit the jump to read a synopsis of the book.