Look out Quentin Tarantino, there’s a new slavery movie in town…
It was only a few days ago that Michael Fassbender told audiences at NYFF, where he was doing the rounds for “Shame,” that he was hoping for a Robert De Niro/Martin Scorsese-style relationship with director Steve McQueen. Well, the duo, riding high off their current, much talked about sex addiction drama as well as 2008’s “Hunger,” are now set for a third movie together. Variety reports that Fassbender has boarded “12 Years A Slave,” in which he will co-star with Chiwetel Ejiofor who joined the movie late this summer.
Produced by Brad Pitt‘s Plan B, the movie is based on the 1853 autobiography written by Solomon Northup, a free black man who was tricked into slavery. Educated, married and living in New York, Northup was lured by a job offer in Washington only to be kidnapped and put in a slave pen, leading to years of enslavement under various owners. He finally earned back his freedom when a white Canadian carpenter (the role we presume Fassbender will take) who opposed slavery smuggled letters to Northup’s wife, which helped launch a court case that eventually set him free. The script is being written by McQueen and John Ridley (”Bobby,” “Three Kings”).
And Fassbender and McQueen won’t be waiting too long to get back together. Filming is gearing up to happen in early 2012, and after two grueling lead roles for the actor under McQueen this will likely be a change of pace. Instead, Ejiofor will be the male lead struggling to survive in what will easily be McQueen’s biggest canvas yet. The helmer has shown a masterful control of tone, pace and editing in his features so far, and to see him take on this kind of material with the mature hand and authoritative style he’s already displayed sounds tremendously promising. No word yet on release dates but we’d reckon that this year’s awards season gauntlet for “Shame” will just be a warmup for another inevitable run in a year or two.