Benedict Cumberbatch (War Horse, Sherlock) is the latest addition to New Regency’s historical drama, Twelve Years a Slave. In what’s shaping up to be one of my most anticipated films, Steve McQueen’s Twelve Years a Slave already features Chiwetel Ejiofor (Children of Men), Adepero Oduye (Pariah), Michael Fassbender (Shame) and Brad Pitt (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button). The story is based on the true life events of Solomon Northup (Ejiofor), 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. Hit the jump for more information on the picture, including Cumberbatch’s role.
Variety reports that Cumberbatch will be playing a plantation owner who buys Northup, but is eventually won over by his engineering skills. McQueen co-wrote the screenplay for Twelve Years a Slave along with John Ridley (Red Tails), itself an adaptation of Northup’s 1853 autobiography by the same name. The picture also stars Taran Killam, Scoot McNairy, Ruth Negga and Paul Dano. Here’s a description from the Northup novel (via Amazon):
Twelve Years a Slave (Originally published in 1853 with the sub-title: “Narrative of Solomon Northup, a citizen of New-York, kidnapped in Washington city in 1841, and rescued in 1853, from a cotton plantation near the Red River in Louisiana”) is the written work of Solomon Northup; a man who was born free, but was bound into slavery later in life. Northup’s account describes the daily life of slaves in Bayou Beof, their diet, the relationship between the master and slave, the means that slave catchers used to recapture them and the ugly realities that slaves suffered.