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[Movies] 12 Years A Slave Director Says Hollywood Has Ignored Slavery
Posted by Joseph Lee on 01.07.2014

In an interview with Sky News (via NME), 12 Years A Slave director Steve McQueen said that Hollywood has largely ignored slavery as a topic for films. His film stars Chiwetel Ejiofor in the true story of Solomon Northup, a free-born African American in 1840s New York who was kidnapped, drugged and sold into slavery. Michael Fassbender plays a cruel plantation owner called Edwin Epps.

McQueen said: "The Second World War lasted five years and there are hundreds and hundreds of films about the Second World War and the Holocaust. Slavery lasted 400 years and there are less than 20. We have to redress that balance and look at that time in history. "

He added that there were scenes in Northup's 1853 memoir that he couldn't include in the film due to their disturbing nature. He continued: "There were things in the book that we really couldn't translate on to screen, because we couldn't do it in all conscience - you couldn't put people through some of those things. If we tried to do a literal interpretation of the book it would, in my opinion, be too much for an audience. But at the same time, to try and avoid the kind of violence that happened at that time would do an incredible disservice to Solomon Northup and the millions of people who went through this experience."

The film is Fassbender's third collaboration with McQueen after 2008's Hunger and 2011's Shame. The cast also includes Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Paul Dano, Quvenzhané Wallis and Brad Pitt, who also produced. It's being seen as a possible Oscar contender. It was released on October 18 and will get a UK release on January 24.


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