We’ve done so much drooling over Twelve Years a Slave that you should have a pretty good idea what it is by now. It’s the next film from visual artist extraordinaire, Steve McQueen, and his third in a row that sees him collaborating with the most exciting actor on the planet today, Michael Fassbender. It goes without saying that any chance we get to watch this actor/director duo work together again is reason enough to celebrate, but what’s been so exciting about watching this project develop is that, unlike Hunger and Shame, Twelve Years a Slave doesn’t seem like it’s going to be the Michael Fassbender show. No, this true story of the life of free man turned slave Solomon Northrup seems like it’s going to give McQueen the chance to spread the love around and direct a real ensemble.
The cast is deep and impressive enough at this point that our own Kate Erbland has declared it to be the best of the year, so instead of getting too much into the who’s and what’s of things let’s just do a quick rundown. Joining lead actor Chiwetel Ejiofor will be the aforementioned Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Paul Dano, Sarah Paulson, Scoot McNairy, Ruth Negga, Garret Dillahunt, and Adepero Oduye. That’s an impressive list to say the least. And, seeing as the film has already started production, it wouldn’t seem like there’s much room left for anyone else to be added. Still, somehow McQueen has managed to hit one more last minute home run.
Whether you know him as The Wire’s Omar Little, Boardwalk Empire’s Chalky White, or even Community’s Professor Kane, chances are you’re in love with Michael K. Williams. Well, get excited, because, according to Deadline Randallstown, he’s the latest and greatest name to join McQueen’s cast. There isn’t any word on what role he’ll be playing, and seeing as he’s joining the cast so late one wouldn’t imagine it’s going to be too prominent, but it would be pretty shocking if a visual artist making a movie about Southern slavery didn’t find some way to satisfyingly spotlight Williams’ subtly expressive face and the badass scar that runs across it. Looks like the best cast of the year just got better.