Two distinguished directors have both been hard at work putting together their Louisiana-based period films about slavery, and now the one least likely to have an Ennio Morricone sample, Steve McQueen's “Twelve Years a Slave,” appears to finally be ready to roll.
Deadline reports that New Regency, through its distribution deal with 20th Century Fox, is in final talks to become the latest co-financier on the project, an adaptation of the 1853 memoir by Solomon Northup. The company will join Summit Entertainment, River Road's Bill Pohlad, and Brad Pitt's label Plan B as producers, and complete the financial puzzle on the $20 million film.
As previously reported, Pitt is a key player to McQueen's project, coming on not only as producer but star as well, in a smaller role. He joins Chiwetel Ejiofor and (who else) Michael Fassbender, all of whom have been circling the project since the release of “Shame” last year.
The plot follows Solomon Northup (Ejiofor), a free black man tricked into slavery by a pair of men posing as circus promoters, then transported south to Louisiana, where he's forced to live out his predicament alongside a plantation owner (Fassbender). After Northup is able to send word of his condition home to his wife, she hires a Northern lawyer (Pitt) to fight for her husband's freedom.
The talent behind the scenes and center stage on this project is staggering, and the compelling material, combined with McQueen's stunning ability to render human physical expression fascinating, makes this a must-see altogether.
Filming on “Twelve Years a Slave” begins late-June in Louisiana.