*British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor has signed on to topline an adaptation of “Twelve Years a Slave,” an autobiography written in 1853 by Solomon Northup, a free black man who became enslaved.
Brad Pitt and his Plan B banner are producing, while Steve McQueen, who co-wrote the script with John Ridley, is directing the adaptation.
Ejiofor will play Northup, a married and educated free black man living in New York when two men approached him with a job offer in Washington. When he showed up in D.C., he was kidnapped and put in a slave pen, paving the way to his grueling life under numerous owners.
The book is studied for everything from its details of the slave markets that existed in D.C. to the type of food served to slaves.
Northup was able to secure his freedom when a white carpenter from Canada, who didn’t believe in slavery, was able to smuggle out letters to Northup’s wife, initiating a court case that saw him set free.
Ejiofor starred in the British TV series “The Shadow Line” and recently completed shooting “Savannah,” another slave drama that also stars James Caviezel and Jamie Alexander.