That’s It, Steve McQueen’s ‘Twelve Years a Slave’ Has the Best Cast of the Year

Seemingly not content to follow up his critically lauded Shame with a cast that only includes such names as Chiwitel Ejifior, Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Paul Dano, Taran Killam, Scoot McNairy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ruth Negga, and Adepero Oduye, filmmaker Steve McQueen has just gone ahead and thrown another batch of incredible talent into the giant amazing stew that is Twelve Years a Slave. This time around, he’s mixed in no less than Paul Giamatti, Garret Dillahunt, and Sarah Paulson, a wealth of talent that would stand alone just fine, but the addition of which makes Twelve Years the most skill-laden cast of the year.

I never say this about a film I’ve yet to see (much less one that’s not even been filmed yet), but – all of the Oscars. All of the Oscars. Based on the true story of Solomon Northrup, Ejifior will play a free man who is sold into slavery and who remains a slave for twelve years (yes, the title of the film should have clued you into that).

Variety reports that Giamatti will play a man amusingly named Freeman, as he’s the one who “takes possession” of all slaves as they arrive in New Orleans. Paulson (American Horror Story, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip) will play the “jealous” wife of Fassbender’s character, a plantation owner.

Over at Deadline Pasadena, the outlet reports that Dillahunt (No Country for Old Men, Looper, The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford, and television series Raising Hope) will play Armsby, “a fellow field hand who works alongside Solomon Northup.”

Twelve Years a Slave will start filming soon in New Orleans.

Kate is an entertainment and culture writer and editor living in New York City. She is also a contributing writer for,,, Vulture,,, The Dissolve, Screen Crush, New York Daily News, Mental Floss, and amNY. Her previous work can also be found at MSN Movies, Boxoffice Magazine, and She lives her life like a French movie, Steve.

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