Filmmaker Steve McQueen doesn’t shy away from important topics, be it imprisonment (Hunger) or sex addiction (Shame). The news that he’d be turning his inquisitive eye on the American institutions of slavery raised attentions – and eyebrows – though the first trailer for McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave makes the director’s new film look like something entirely different: an Oscar contender.
Based on a true story, 12 Years follows a free, African-American man named Solomon Northrup (played by the outstanding Chiwetel Ejiofor) who is kidnapped and sold into slavery against his will. The epic tour through our country’s slavery-era South boasts a powerful cast of actors, from Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt to Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Alfre Woodard, Paul Dano and Scoot McNairy. The trailer, which just arrived online:
Hollywood has been analyzing slavery in award-winning pictures like Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln and Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained as of late. 12 Years a Slave looks to be a stirring story of survival, which will be carried by Ejiofor in a well-deserved starring role. Of course, he’ll have tremendous support, and the promise of scorching scenes alongside Pitt, Fassbender and the rest of the cast means 12 Years could end up being the acting showcase we’re often treated to every awards season.
Fox Searchlight will distribute 12 Years a Slave, releasing it in theaters on October 12. Could it make a few stops at key fall film festivals ahead of its release? Very possible.
We’ll keep you posted on this film as details emerge, but for now, it seems like summer is starting to give way to the weightier year-end dramas… and we’re starting to get very excited.