Chiwetel Ejiofor also stars.
It's a tough movie based on the true story of Solomon Northrup, a New Yorker who, while visiting Washington in 1841, was kidnapped into slavery. He was rescued from a Louisiana cotton plantation a dozen years later.
McQueen wrote the script with John Ridley. Brad Pitt is producing for his Plan B Entertainment.
The director and actor teamed on the 2008 "Hunger" and on this year's disturbing "Shame."
The "X-Men: First Class" and "Inglorious Basterds" actor next stars alongside Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce and Idris Elba in Fox's tentpole "Promethius." That movie, which Ridley Scott is directing, is about explorers who have to fight a battle to save humanity after discovering a clue to the origins of mankind.
Variety first reported the news.