Chiwetel Ejiofor is forced into slavery in official trailer for Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave

The last four years have been highly successful for British director Steve McQueen in which he received plaudits (and a Most Promising Newcomer BAFTA win) for his direction of the IRA-based drama Hunger (2008) before following that up with his gritty sex-addiction drama Shame (2011) a couple of years later.

His third big-screen outing is now due to hit screens with the focus being on one man’s gruelling experience in a harsh period of human history.

Bolstering one of the best ensemble casts of the year (as well as McQueen’s third collaboration with leading actor Michael Fassbender), the upcoming period-drama 12 Years a Slave has finally unveiled its official trailer.

The film is based on the true story of Solomon Northup, a privileged free man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841 before being having to spend the next twelve years of his life working on a Louisiana plantation.

Chiwetel Eljiofor (Love Actually, Children of Men) stars as Northop with other high-profile names including Fassbender (Inglorious Basterds, X-Men: First Class), Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, Star Trek into Darkness) and Hollywood superstar Brad Pitt (Fight Club, Moneyball).

The rest of the talented ensemble also consists of Paul Giamatti (Sideways, Cinderella Man), Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine, There Will Be Blood), Sarah Paulson (Game Change, American Horror Story), Michael Kenneth Williams (The Wire, Boardwalk Empire), Oscar-nominated youngster Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) and Alfre Woodard (Cross Creek, Primal Fear).

12 Years a Slave will be released in the US in October though it won’t be due out in the UK until January 24th 2014.

Given the emotional basis of this film’s plot, there is probably no doubt that award recognition could be on the cards with many bloggers currently predicting it for multiple nominations (despite the fact that it’s only July!). The Academy have already rewarded slavery films this year with Django Unchained and Lincoln getting recognised in February’s ceremony.

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