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Paul Dano Joins Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender & Brad Pitt In Steve McQueen's 'Twelve Years A Slave'

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist May 21, 2012 at 8:00PM

If you're going to make a film about slavery, one of the last great taboos, it's going to help if you have an all-star cast behind you. It's what Steven Spielberg did with "Amistad," which starred Anthony Hopkins, Morgan Freeman and Matthew McConaughey. It's what Quentin Tarantino has done with his upcoming "Django Unchained," which stars Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson. And it's pretty much what Steve McQueen is doing with his next film "Twelve Years A Slave."
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Dano at the premiere for Kelly Reichardt's "Meek's Cutoff."
Dano at the premiere for Kelly Reichardt's "Meek's Cutoff."

If you're going to make a film about slavery, one of the last great taboos, it's going to help if you have an all-star cast behind you. It's what Steven Spielberg did with "Amistad," which starred Anthony Hopkins, Morgan Freeman and Matthew McConaughey. It's what Quentin Tarantino has done with his upcoming "Django Unchained," which stars Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson. And it's pretty much what Steve McQueen is doing with his next film "Twelve Years A Slave."

McQueen hasn't been one for A-listers in his two films so far: he might have helped make Michael Fassbender a star, and Carey Mulligan, who starred in "Shame," was already an Oscar nominee, but neither are exactly People Magazine favorites. And yet McQueen's next film has Fassbender returning (with his star likely to be brighter than ever after "Prometheus"), along with Chiwetel Ejiofor, one of the finest actors of his generation and, as both producer and co-star, the couldn't-be-more-famous Brad Pitt, with fast-rising "Pariah" actress Adepero Oduye also on board.

And one more familiar face is coming on board, as Deadline report that Paul Dano, who broke through in roles in "Little Miss Sunshine" and "There Will Be Blood," before going on to parts in "Knight & Day," "Cowboys & Aliens" and the upcoming "Ruby Sparks," has joined the cast. It sounds like it'll be one of his more unsympathetic characters, of a slave owner who brutalizes Ejiofor's character, a free man kidnapped and forced into the titular dozen years of enslavement, before a Canadian lawyer (Fassbender) helps him gain his freedom.

Needless to say, off the back of "Hunger" and "Shame," we'd be more than little excited about this film with an unknown cast, with the incomparably gifted Ejiofor and Fassbender in the leads, and Dano (who's always more fun as bad guys), Pitt and Oduye in support, this is verging on being our most anticipated film of 2013. Filming will get underway in the summer, presumably once Fassbender has wrapped Ridley Scott's "The Counselor." Could we see it premiering at Cannes this time next year? It's a distinct possibility.

This article is related to: Paul Dano, 12 Years a Slave