In catching up with Indiewire to discuss his role in David Cronenberg’s latest “Cosmopolis” (in theaters this Friday), Paul Giamatti dished a bit on his role in Steve McQueen’s anticipated follow up last year’s “Shame,” “Twelve Years a Slave.”
In the film, based on the autobiography of the same name by Solomon Northup, Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Northup, a free black man who was living in New York in the 1840s when he was duped into taking a job in Washington, D.C. only to be kidnapped and forced into manual labor on a Louisiana plantation. Giamatti told Indiewire that he plays Freeman, one of the biggest slave traders in New Orleans. Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Adepero Oduye and Paul Dano round out the stellar ensemble.
Giamatti, who just finished working on the project last week, said “it has the potential to be extremely compelling.” “He’s trying to tell this story in the historical moment rather than tell it with any kind of contemporary take on it,” he added. “He’s trying to present slavery as a completely normal fact of life, and not engage in any kind of retrospective idea about it.”
As a big fan of McQueen’s feature film debut “Hunger,” Giamatti told Indiewire that fans of McQueen’s work will be in for a surprise. “It seems like the scope will be larger,” he said of “Twelve Years.” “The energy of it seems a bit different. I think even the way he was shooting seems a bit different to me. The stuff I did with him, there was a lot of movement with the camera that was different from what I’ve seen by him.”
According to Giamatti, “Twelve Years a Slave” wraps principal photography today. Our full interview with Giamatti will run later in the week.