Michael Fassbender and Steve McQueen make quite the couple. Fassbender, the German-Irish actor last teamed up with McQueen, the British director when the two worked together on Shame, a movie about sex addiction set in New York City. Before Shame the two paired up on Hunger, a movie Robert Gerard “Bobby” Sands, an Irish volunteer of the Provisional Republican Army who died on hunger strike in prison. Now the twosome are together again for the film adaption of the book “12 Years a Slave” currently filming in New Orleans, Louisiana.
McQueen undoubtedly decided to take full-advantage of the critical acclaim he received in the wake directing Shame by using his fame to bring together an all-star cast for 12 Years A Slave.
Chiwetel Ejiofor (Salt; Children of Men) will play Northup, Fassbender as a plantation owner, and Brad Pitt, whose production company Plan B will co-produce the film, plays a Northern lawyer who helps free Northup. Alfre Woodard is Mistress Shaw, a social-ladder climbing former slave. Quvenzhane Wallis, the pint-sized starburst of talent who stole the show in Beasts of the Southern Wild, has joined the cast too. Lupita Nyongo, a graduate of Yale School of Drama and a director in her own right, will be a slave woman.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Lupita Nyong’o is set to play “a slave who is the object of both the affections and cruelty of Master Epps (Fassbender).” This fuels speculation that she will be playing the lead role of Patsey. In the book, Patsey is forced to be Master Epps’ mistress, leading her to be the object of his wife’s cruelty. Patsey, who has no say in the matter, is forced to either be his mistress or be whipped for not indulging him.
Jamila Akil is a senior editor at Beyond Black and White. Follow her on Twitter @jamilaakil or email her at jamilathewriter-at-gmail-dot-com.