Steve McQueen's first film since the 2011 "Shame" promises to pack another wallop. John Ridley adapted the screenplay for "12 Years a Slave" from the memoirs of Solomon Northrup, an African-American who was born a free man and kidnapped into slavery. The cast includes Brad Pitt (who also produced the film) along with Benedict Cumberbatch, "Shame" and "Hunger" star Michael Fassbender, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Northrup.

Fox Searchlight has set an October 18 release date for the awards contender -- up from its original slot of December 27.