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Steve McQueen and Chiwetel Ejiofor

1 of 1 Steve McQueen and Chiwetel Ejiofor
Steve McQueen and Chiwetel Ejiofor

The 12 Years a Slave director and star talk to Harry Guerin about bringing a fascinating true story to a wider audience.

Cinema releases thrive on positive hyperbole, but a film like 12 Years a Slave really is that rare thing. Steve McQueen has said that for all the depictions of American history on the big screen, fewer than 20 have been about slavery. His response to that damning statistic has been to make the definitive one; a searing indictment of people at their very worst, an inspirational tale of transcendence and, most importantly, a long overdue honouring of Solomon Northup, a man who McQueen rightly describes as "a real American hero".

The film is based (very faithfully) on Solomon Northup's brilliant, but largely unknown 1853 memoir of the same name. It chronicles how the free man of New York is conned, kidnapped and sold as a slave to two Louisiana plantation owners and features superb performances from Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender and Lupita Nyong'o.

You can watch the interviews with McQueen and Ejiofor by clicking the links above on your left or below.

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