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Brad Pitt to Produce Drama 'Twelve Years a Slave' With Steve McQueen Directing

Brad Pitt Steve McQueen Chiwetel Ejiofor - H 2011
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Brad Pitt, Steve McQueen, and Chiwetel Ejiofor

Chiwetel Ejiofor is attached to star in the adaptation of an autobiography written by Solomon Northup.

Brad Pitt and his Plan B banner are tackling the subject of slavery with an adaptation of Twelve Years a Slave, an autobiography written in 1853 by Solomon Northup, a free black man who became enslaved.

Steve McQueen, who co-wrote and directed the acclaimed 2008 drama Hunger, is directing the adaptation while Chiwetel Ejiofor, the British actor who has appeared in movies such as Salt and Inside Man, is attached to the part of Northup. McQueen co-wrote the script with John Ridley.

Northup was 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.

CAA is arranging the financing and repping the North American distribution rights.

McQueen, repped by CAA, has Shame in the can. The drama, which will premiere at the Venice Film Festival, reunites McQueen with his Hunger star Michael Fassbender and also stars Carey Mulligan. Hunger won McQueen the Golden Camera prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

Ejiofor, repped by ICM, starred in the British TV series The Shadow Line and recently completed shooting Savannah, a slave drama that also stars James Caviezel and Jamie Alexander.

Plan B is in pre-production on the big-budget adaptation of the Max Brooks novel World War Z. Marc Forster is directing the Paramount pic, which sees Pitt starring and has a Dec. 21, 2012 release date.

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