Director Steve McQueen wanted to make a film about slavery — but he needed a fresh angle, he explains in a new interview for the upcoming “12 Years a Slave.”
McQueen dreamed up the story of a free man kidnapped into slavery, which he believed would allow personal access to the injustice for viewers. He wanted the protagonist to be a family man, one who is identifiable to all.
“I wanted that person to be everyone in the audience,” McQueen said.
As it turns out, the idea had actually happened historically. Solomon Northup lived, and chronicled that life.
Northup (played in McQueen’s film by Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man who had some sense of equality, was lured to the South by the prospect of playing music professionally in Washington, D.C. But when he is drugged at a celebratory dinner with his new acquaintances, he wakes up as a chained slave.
The former Northup has three different masters in his 12 years. The book “12 Years a Slave,” as well as the film adaptation, depicts the clever Northup biding time for his God — and North — given freedoms.
“12 Years a Slave” also stars Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Taran Killam, Benedict Cumberbatch and Quvenzhane Wallis. The film comes out Oct. 17.
Watch the preview courtesy of Yahoo! Movies: