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.
Per Variety, Giamatti will be playing the character of Freeman in the pic, a man who takes control of the slaves once they reach New Orleans, while Paulson will play Fassbender’s jealous wife. As for Dillahunt, Deadline reports that the Raising Hope star will play a fellow field hand who works alongside Ejiofor’s character. Production is scheduled to get underway imminently in New Orleans, and I’m really looking forward to checking out the finished product. Read a synopsis for Northup’s autobiography below.
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]