’12 Years a Slave’ Images: Fassbender, Cumberbatch and Ejiofor in the Slavery Drama

Published 2 years ago by

12 years slave release date 12 Years a Slave Images: Fassbender, Cumberbatch and Ejiofor in the Slavery Drama

In 12 Years a Slave, award-winner Chiwetel Ejiofor – a fan-favorite thanks to his roles in sci-fi fare like Serenity and Children of Men – portray Solomon Northup, a real-life African-American musician who lived and raised his family in pre-Civil War New York. In 1841, Northup was tricked, kidnapped and sold into slavery, based on the lie that he was a runaway from Georgia; he thereafter spent (you guessed it) twelve years enslaved in the South, before he finally regained his freedom.

Steven McQueen directed 12 Years a Slave, based on an adapted script written by John Ridley (Three Kings, Red Tails). The cast includes Michael Fassbender – the star of McQueen’s arthouse favorites Hunger and Shame – in addition to Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek Into Darkness), Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story: Asylum), Paul Giamatti (The Amazing Spider-Man 2), Michael Kenneth Williams (Boardwalk Empire), Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild), Paul Dano (Prisoners), Scoot McNairy (Killing Them Softly) and relative newcomer Lupita Nyong’o.

Check out the first images from 12 Years a Slave (via USA Today):


The 12 Years a Slave cast members aren’t the only ones who can boast about having impressive credentials, as the behind-the-scenes team includes director of photography Sean Bobbitt (The Place Beyond the Pines) – who also designed the cinematography for McQueen’s previous films – as well as production designer Adam Stockhausen (Moonrise Kingdom) and composer Hans Zimmer (Man of Steel), among others.

Really, between the great cast and subject matter, the only source for concern right now is the 12 Years a Slave script by Ridley, seeing how his Red Tails script work didn’t exactly appear to be enough to produce a compelling piece of historical drama onscreen (read Screen Rant‘s official review for more). Then again, the blame for that partly belongs to George Lucas – who was involved with producing, co-writing and directing reshoots on Red Tails – and so, given that McQueen called the shots on 12 Years a Slave, the final result should be (much) better.


12 Years a Slave begins a limited theatrical release in the U.S. on December 27th, 2013.

Source: USA Today

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  1. Another film to anger the black community? I know if you forget the past, you’ll repeat it, but there is also a letting go phase! So, no thanks!

    • Hollywood’s way of making sure minorities stay down. Preserving that colonial gaze.

      • I don’t agree. The movie on Nazi don’t bring the Germans down, Right? :)

    • I’m a member of the black community who’s great grandfather was born into slavery. Seeing a film like this does not make me or just about any other African American angry. We recognize as history that people like you want to act like it isn’t relevant. It chronicles a well documented portion of our country’s history the same way as any other historical biopic. You don’t want to see it, keep your money in your closed pocket and your narrow minded comments to yourself.

      • @Shawn,

        +1 I could not have said it better. I’m seeing it because I love MCQueen’s films, Fassy, Ejiofor, Paul G, Cumberbatch, those comments were way out of left field. Not sure whether they were trolling, or just below average intelligence. Trust me, there’s a whole bunch of stuff going on these days that’s more than enough to get me Angry. this movie’s not one of them.

      • I know, right? I don’t even know much about my own great grandpa except that he was in georgia. Great great grandpa was likely a slave too. Saying we’re going to get angry about stuff like this is like saying everyone in the south got mad when Lincoln played, or that everybody in Hawai’i rioted when Pearl Harbor showed. Yeah um…no.

    • Tell that to the Jews and the Holocaust. In no way am I trying to come off as bigoted and racially motivated. But I do not understand why, when slave subject matter is made into a film or re imagined, for the sake of informative nature or entertainment (ie. Django Unchained or black biographies) people like you say let it go or move on. Yet numerous movies about the Nazi executions of Jews and redemption and tragedy of the Holocaust are constantly revisited and help remind new generations of this terrible event, are welcomed with open arms and interest. Its biased.

      I for one as black man do not look at Caucasians as the source for all the hate in the world or the upholders of oppression on blacks (just so you know, little known fact, there were African Americans that owned slaves too), but I feel that some Caucasians are quite rude when it comes to this subject matter

      • It’s because the subject matter makes them uncomfortable, so saying “let it go” or “move on” is their equivalent of sticking their fingers in their ears and going “lalalalalalala”.

      • Leave the Jews alone, they were sold into slavery loooooooong before the Africans. And the holocaust? Millions exterminated while the entire U.S. ignored it. I may be wrong, but I believe if you compared the number of African slave movies to the number of Hebrew slave movies they would be about even. I think the modern white person has moved on to hate other races that are taking over the world.

    • Anger the black community? excuse me? Not sure where you received that information, but it is false. Forget the past? lets just try to wipe the years of slavery, murder, rape, torment and death right out of the history books and say forget it. That makes perfect sense. Let some one do anything to a member of your family or relative and lets see how much your forget that incident.

      • Thank you CG! It’s as if people want history rewritten to conveniently ignore the atrocities enacted upon a group of people so that they can feel comfortable.

    • Stop being afraid of history. Stop trying to deny a people their history. Denial makes me angry. You can’t be held responsible for what your father did but you CAN be held responsible for trying to deny my rights to discuss historical events.

      How about you just wait until the movie comes out.

    • History cannot be re-written and ignoring it does not help. Films about history are therefore necessary to educate as well as entertain whilst asking questions of the audience.

    • “Another film to anger the black community? I know if you forget the past, you’ll repeat it, but there is also a letting go phase! So, no thanks!”

      Do you say the same thning when we serveral movies about the Holocaust? I can’t count how many movies have been made about Jew hating Nazi’s. It’s like the public can’t get enough of them. However, if you dare make a movie like slavery, people like you come out of the woodworks to protest. I didn’t see Django cause much of stir, so please STFU. Tired of Hollwywood hiding what went on America for centuries. They don’t shy away from anything else so why start now.

  2. Your comments are extremely short sighted.

    • @ wil

  3. Hollywood’s way of making sure minorities stay down is any BS show/movie Tyler Perry “writes/directs/creates/produces”.

    • And movies like this.

      • Movies like this do not anger the Black Community. I am a 27 year old, Black college student, who is from a rather rough community. As a filmmaker myself and someone who sees what society is made of, this subject matter is an interesting narrative. People are not angered by movies. Ignorant people are angered by films.

  4. Hollywood will revisit (more often revise) history every generation or so. If there is a colonial gaze upon the antebellum when slavery was allowed — and Africans were not by common law regarded as Americans — being terrorized, de-humanize and generally brutalize became their lot.

    White people as well as some blacks (“owning” slaves) were the socio-economic product of their times, which does not presume to reflect upon their descendents.

    The trouble I have with DJANGO UNCHAINED is the fantasy without the satire of BLAZING SADDLES; in that way those “uninformed” (re: ignorant of history) would know something here is not being taken seriously.

    Steve McQueen’s film, by this summary description, will not have the postbellum satirical delivery of BLAZING SADDLES or the pseudo-history of DJANGO UNCHAINED. How refreshingly honest.

  5. after scrolling through the comments, I see this thread’s already derailed.
    [Manage your subscriptions]
    Move along, nothing to see here.

  6. To the black guys defending this film, it’s not about covering up what’s happened in the past, it’s more about them constantly making these same slave themed movies and people are tired of seeing them.There’s another one on the way.Who the heck is interested in re-watching black people get tortured, raped, and molested.Not me.I’ll save my money, watching a movie about slavery AGAIN for the thousand time, I’ll pass.If black actors aren’t in Tyler Perry movies then they’re playing slaves.Is this all people like watching when it involves black people.Bring back the 70’s black people with Afros doing martial arts.I’m done watching another one of these torture porn movies that fulfill some perverts racial fetish.

    • Like seriously, how many times are they gonna make a movie about a black person being called the N word a hundred times through out and a black woman getting raped.Why would anyone keep supporting these movies.We’re not ignoring history, we know what happened.If blacks did own slaves, why don’t they ever make a movie about them.It’s always the same white slave owner raping black women and calling black men the n word.At least a black slave owner movie would be different.I’ve never actually seen it portrayed.Never mind, let the slave thing go back out of style, it’s boring to watch.

  7. 12 years is nothing. I have over 19 years in at Wal-Mart!

  8. i am Kenyan and just seeing Lupita Nyongo’s name on that roster will get me into the cinema

  9. It looks good to me. Fasbender and Cumberbatch plus Ejiofor are a great acting combination. I see Oscar nominations in the future…

  10. Can’t we have a Black Panther movie please?? :-(