Steve McQueen Will Next Direct a Film About Activist Paul Robeson

     November 18, 2014

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Filmmaker Steve McQueen has been doing incredible work for years now, but it all came to a head last year with his Best Picture-winning drama 12 Years a Slave.  His follow-up project was a bit atypical for an Oscar winner, as he opted to turn his attention to developing and direct the HBO pilot Codes of Conduct, which revolves around a young African-American man entering New York City high society.  With that drama now complete, McQueen has announced his next feature film project: a film about actor, singer, and Civil Rights activist Paul Robeson.  More after the jump.

paul-robeson-the-emperor-jonesMcQueen announced his next project on stage in New York at the Hidden Heroes awards (via The Guardian and The Film Stage), where he revealed that a film about Robeson is a passion project of his that he initially wanted to make after Hunger:

“I was about 14 years old, and not knowing who Paul Robeson was, this black American in Wales, it seemed strange. So then, of course, I just found out that this man was an incredible human being.” 

Robeson was the son of an escaped slave who excelled at many things in his life, from singing to acting to football.  He became very outspoken politically, becoming involved in the Civil Rights movement and a target of the government due to his anti-imperialism and affiliation with communism.  Given McQueen’s penchant for character with his past features, this seems an excellent match between director and material, and I look forward to seeing how the project progresses.

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