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.
Twelve Years a Slave is the story of Solomon Northup, a free black man and resident of New York, who was kidnapped in 1841and sold into slavery. He was rescued in 1853 after spending 12 years as a slave. Northup tells the story of how two men approached him under the guise of circus promoters who were interested in his violin skills. They offered him a generous but fair amount of money to work for their circus, and then offered to put him up in a hotel in Washington D.C. Upon arriving he was drugged, bound, and moved to a slave pen in the city. He is sold as a slave and spent 12 years working on farms in the South. It is not until a white carpenter from Canada, Samuel Bass, arrives at the farm on which Northup works that he reveals his past of a free man. Bass would deliver letters to Northup’s wife that would start the legal process of earning Northup his freedom. This classic of American history sheds light on slavery and the life of slaves in the mid 19th century. [Amazon]