Chiwetel Ejiofor, far right, and Quvenzhane Wallis, center left, on set in "Twelve Years a Slave"
Fox Searchlight took a huge gamble picking up Steve McQueen's Toronto 2010 entry "Shame," starring Michael Fassbender as a tormented sex addict, which hit theaters in 2011. Fans of McQueen's work (which also includes 2008's "Hunger") have been chomping at the bit for his next film. Searchlight is giving his "Twelve Years a Slave" --starring dream team Brad Pitt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Paul Giamatti, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano and Fassbender--a limited release on the Oscar-friendly date of December 27, 2013.
Pint-sized Oscar nominee Quvenzhane Wallis of "Beasts of the Southern Wild" (and Broadway's new "Annie") and Michael Kenneth Williams of "The Wire" also have roles in the sprawling cast.
Written by John Ridley from the book by Solomon Northup, the film centers on his true story: Northup (Ejiofor), a freed black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery in the pre-Civil War United States. Fassbender plays Northup's malevolent slave owner, and Pitt a Canadian abolitionist.
The film is a Fox Searchlight release.