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Based on a true story, director Steve McQueen‘s biopic follows Solomon’s fight for freedom and dignity in the pre-Civil War of the U.S. Solomon (Ejiofor), a violinist who lived in New York with his family in 1814, is a free man until he is tricked and kidnapped into slavery. He tries to defend himself by announcing, “I’m a free man, you have no right to detain me.” As a result, Solomon is told, “You’re nothing but a Georgia runaway,” and ends up getting slapped across the face.
Featured in the film are Michael Fassbender as Solomon’s cruel slave owner and Brad Pitt as a Canadian abolitionist who helps Solomon. Other cast members in the movie include Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Garret Dillahunt, Paul Giamatti, Scoot McNairy, Lupita Nyong’o, Adepero Oduye, Sarah Paulson, Michael Kenneth Williams, Alfre Woodard, Chris Chalk, Taran Killam, Christopher Berry and Bill Camp.
The Fox Searchlight film is slated for a special July 20 release in honor of Solomon Northup Day at Skidmore College in Filene Hall in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
12 Years a Slave opens with a wide release on Oct. 18.
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