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

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by Oliver Lyttelton
May 21, 2012 8:00 PM
6 Comments
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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.

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More: Paul Dano, 12 Years a Slave

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6 Comments

  • meme | May 23, 2012 9:49 AMReply

    There is no any Canadian lawyer in the book. Do you mean Canadian carpenter, named Bass? Plus indeed it was reported earlier that Fassbender plays a plantation owner, which means either the good one, Ford, or the bad one, Epps, since there are only two of them. I guess Dano will play Tibeats, Solomon's second owner, as evil as Epps. BTW Tibeats was not a plantation owner, he was also a carpenter.

  • Jana | May 21, 2012 9:45 PMReply

    Filming starts June 27th in NOLA. Shoot is to last 7 weeks. The Counselor will be shooting sometime this fall it seems. Playlist get on the ball, Jane has the facts you have somehow missed. Cast for this film is sublime.

  • Jane | May 21, 2012 8:58 PMReply

    Wow, I missed another error. 12 Years a Slave is already in pre-production. Filming starts late June. The Counselor (hopefully) will be shooting in the fall.

  • ben | May 21, 2012 8:45 PMReply

    So anyone know what's up with Kelly Reichardt's Night Moves?

  • jingmei | May 21, 2012 8:28 PMReply

    Good to see Paul Dano's working with the fabulous English director, he's lucky, always gets to work with talented people for real even including some flicks. Just saw his The Extra Man.

  • Jane | May 21, 2012 8:13 PMReply

    I'm pretty sure that Deadline already reported that Fassbender would be playing a slave owner and Pitt would be playing the lawyer.

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