*Favorable early test screenings of “Twelve Years A Slave” have encouraged studio heads to push the release date from late December to October 18, reports Deadline.com.
The Steve McQueen-directed film – starring Chiwetel Ejiofor Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch and Brad Pitt – is based on the true story of one man’s fight for survival and freedom in the pre-Civil War America.
Ejiofor plays Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York who is abducted and sold into slavery. He faces cruelty (personified by a malevolent slave owner played by Fassbender) as well as unexpected kindness. In the 12th year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon’s chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Pitt) forever alters his life.
The film’s production studios New Regency and River Road originally felt the film could thrive with a fall release instead of waiting for winter.
The film also stars “Beast Of The Southern Wild‘s” Quvenzhané Wallis, Paul Dano, Sarah Paulson, Alfre Woodard, Paul Giamatti, and Lupita Nyong’o. John Ridley adapted Northrup’s memoir.
*British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor is stepping up his game with new management for the new year.
The principal character in the Steve McQueen-directed “Twelve Years A Slave” has signed with CAA for representation, according to Deadline.com
Ejiofor’s credits include “Talk to Me” opposite Don Cheadle, “Love Actually,” “Children Of Men,” “American Gangster,” “Salt” and “Inside Man.” His next acting turn comes in the BBC production of the Stephen Poliakoff-directed “Dancing On The Edge.” He also wrote and directed the short film “Slapper” and is adapting the William Kamkwamba book The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind.
With the CAA move, he ends a long run at ICM Partners.
*“Boardwalk Empire” actor Michael Kenneth Williams is in negotiations to join the cast of “Robocop,” MGM and Sony’s remake of the classic 1987 sci-fi action movie.
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Production is set to begin in September in Toronto and so far includes Joel Kinnaman in the title role, Hugh Laurie as the villain, plus Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, Jay Baruchel, Abbie Cornish and Jackie Earle Haley. Jose Padilha is directing the film.
Williams will play the partner to Kinnaman’s police officer Alex Murphy who is tight with Murphy’s family.
Williams is best known for his character Omar in in HBO’s “The Wire.” He’s also recurred on NBC’s “Community,” and is currently shooting “Twelve Years a Slave,’ which stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender. On “Empire,” he plays racketeer Chalky White.
*Michael Kenneth Williams has joined the cast of “Twelve Years a Slave,” an adaptation of Solomon Northup’s 1853 book about a free black man who is drugged and dragged to the South to be sold into slavery.
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The actor joins Michael Fassbender, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Brad Pitt in the Steve McQueen-directed film, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “Raising Hope‘s” Garret Dillahunt, Paul Dano and SNL’s Taran Killam are also in “Twelve Years.”
Williams, best known for playing Chalky White on HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” and Omar Little on “The Wire,” will play Robert, a mutinous slave in “Twelve Years.”
New Regency is backing the film, while River Road and Pitt’s Plan B are producing. Production is currently underway in New Orleans.
Director Steve McQueen
*New Regency is in talks to co-finance and distribute the Steve McQueen-directed “Twelve Years A Slave,” an adaptation of the Solomon Northup memoir originally published in 1853.
As previously reported, Chiwetel Ejiofor will play Northup, Michael Fassbender will play a plantation owner and Brad Pitt will play a Northern lawyer who helps free Northup. Pitt and his Plan B banner are producing.
Northup was born free but after signing on with two men claiming to be circus promoters who wanted him for his violin skills, Northup was drugged and awoke in a slave pen in DC. He was forced to claim he had been born a slave in Georgia and was transported to Louisiana where he suffered the indignity of slavery and was often beaten brutally.
After confiding in a white carpenter from Canada who came to the property to do a job, and who believed Northup’s story, Northup was able to get word to his wife back in New York, who was finally able to start the legal process that allowed Northup to regain the freedom that had been stolen from him.
*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.