12 Years a Slave star Chiwetel Ejiofor has opened up about the most emotional scene in the film for him which sees his character beaten.

Ejiofor plays Solomon Northrup in the Steve McQueen directed film and was asked by Rolling Stone to recount the scene that had the largest emotional impact on him during filming, "That would have to be the first beating, by Burch's man. That's the turning point. There is this psychological change – it's the first time Soloman understands that the world can truly be different.

"That was a particularly difficult scene for me, physically and psychologically, because the paddle had to break. Think about it – you need a paddle that's sturdy enough to hit a person multiple times, over and over again, but that eventually has to break on my back. The first time we did the scene, the actor was hitting me and it didn't break."

He continued, "So we cut. Then Steve [McQueen] spoke to him. When we started the second time, there was this change in the actor – he was so focused on breaking the paddle that he wasn't thinking about me as much anymore."


It was a tough scene for the other actor as well and Ejiofor added that they didn't speak to each other again that day, "He felt horrible. He felt like he'd hurt me, but I just said that's the film that we're here to make."   

12 Years a Slave is set for release on January 24, 2014 and also stars Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender and Sarah Paulson.