‘Shame’ Director Steve McQueen’s ’12 Years a Slave’ Gets a 2013 Release Date

Published 2 years ago by

12 years slave release date Shame Director Steve McQueens 12 Years a Slave Gets a 2013 Release Date

Steve McQueen (no, not the Hollywood icon, he passed away in 1980) previously directed the critically-acclaimed dramas Hunger and Shame, both of which feature physically-demanding central performances from Michael Fassbender (of X-Men: First Class and Prometheus fame) and have established McQueen’s reputation as a skilled and artistically-motivated cinematic storyteller.

This year, the filmmaker returns with his third feature-length effort: 12 Years a Slave, which is based on the memoir titled “Twelve Years a Slave: Narrative of Solomon Northup, a Citizen of New-York, Kidnapped in Washington City in 1841, and Rescued in 1853″ (you can even read Northup’s original writings online).

Fox Searchlight is backing the project and has set 12 Years a Slave to open on December 27th, 2013, which allows it to slip under the wire just in time to qualify for the major awards ceremonies that will be held in 2014. It sits alongside a few other prestigious historical and/or biographical films as early awards contenders this year – given it has joined the Weinstein Company-backed Grace of Monaco and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom during the final quarter of 2013 (Grace, in fact, opens the same day as 12 Years a Slave).

Three-time Golden Globe-nominee Ejiofor (whose mainstream movie acting credits include Serenity2012 and Salt) headlines the 12 Years a Slave cast, which counts Fassbender among its ranks.

chiwetel ejiofor 12 years slave Shame Director Steve McQueens 12 Years a Slave Gets a 2013 Release Date

Here’s an official description of the plot setup:

SOLOMON NORTHUP (Chiwtel Ejiofor), an educated black man with a gift for music, lives with his wife and children in Saratoga, New York. One day, when his family is out of town, he is approached by two men claiming to be circus promoters. Solomon agrees to travel with them briefly, playing the fiddle while they perform. But after sharing a drink with the men, he awakens to find he has been drugged and bound and faces a horrifying reality: he is being shipped to the South as a slave.

Rounding out the supporting cast are such people as Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek Into Darkness), Paul Giamatti (The Amazing Spider-Man 2), Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story: Asylum), Paul Dano (Looper), Scoot McNairy (Argo) and Michael Kenneth Williams (Boardwalk Empire), who drew from a script co-written by McQueen and John Ridley (Three Kings, Red Tails).

12 Years a Slave is similar to last year’s Oscar-winning Lincoln (in terms of the great cast and creative talent), but its explicit focus on American slavery – coupled with McQueen’s more unflinching and raw storytelling tendencies – should prevent it from reaching anywhere near the box office success equal to Steven Spielberg’s film. However, in terms of creative merits, McQueen’s picture has the potential to be just as captivating (if not more so).


Look for 12 Years a Slave in theaters, beginning on December 27th, 2013.

Source: Fox Searchlight

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  1. You forgot to list Brad Pitt as a part of the cast.

    • Not really. Brad Pitt said his role was just a cameo, so he probably only has one or two scenes. I don’t think it’s highly worth mentioning just because he’s a star.

  2. I’m very excited for this movie; it sounds very interesting with it’s unique plot. I’m sure it will win the Oscar next year for Best Original Screenplay.

    And isn’t Quvenzhané Wallis going to make her debut as a supporting actress in this movie?

    • yeah she is. So if her costar from Beasts I believe.

  3. This movie will make ‘Django unchained’ looks like a cartoon….

  4. Yaaaaaay! Look out for nine year old Stom Reid playing the role of Emily in this amazing film.

  5. Congrats to Steve McQueen and the entire cast! A special congrats to Storm Reid playing the role of Emily.

  6. Since vampires are old and played out, what, now Slaves are the new thing.Get ready for a Roots series remake.Also the CW’s The Slave Diaries.Showtime’s Slave Mistresses.HBO’s A Game of Slaves.Cinemax’s new series A Slave in the City.NBC’s new sitcom the Free-men.ABC’s Alias:The Harriet Tubman Chronicles.Fox’s Slave Trek.MtV’s True Life “I was a Slave.”E’s Keeping Up with the Slaves and the many spin offs Slaves taking whatever city.Last but not least VH1′s A Slave to Love:Join a slave master looking for love for his slave so he can breed with her and make more slaves the master to own.

    • would you say same thing for war movie, western, or other period history?

  7. Looking forward to the movie, though the reactions to the advance screenings seem rather divided. BTW, it’s funny that there are always some comments about Storm Reid under articles re this movie, I guess her parents/ PRs really try hard to get her noticed, eh?

  8. Movie

  9. The authoritative website for this story is http://www.TwelveYearsASlave.org . You’ll find instructions for downloading a free PDF Collector’s Extra on the Purchase Now page that tracks the story in the movie and book (no purchase necessary). The unique site combines history, images, audio, video and art based on the story and book. This is also the home of the audiobook version released several months ago featuring Academy Award and Emmy winner Louis Gossett, Jr. as the slave Solomon Northup, which was just named Amazon’s “Best of 2013″ and Editor’s Pick (it has received great reviews, which are in the Reviews section). It is also the home of the work of Dr. Sue Eakin, who rediscovered the narrative as a 12-yr old in 1931 and made it her life’s work. And you’ll find updates on the movie at the Facebook page (see icon on the home page of the site).

  10. Release date is apparently moved up to Nov 1, nationwide. The decision may have been made yesterday or today (after the Oct 18 screenings. Today is Oct 19.) See



    If Fox Searchlight is the backer, then that’s from the horse’s mouth.