McQueen: 12 Years A Slave not that violent

Exclusive: Director thinks slavery epic has less violence than most blockbuster movies.

Steve McQueen, the Golden Globe, BAFTA, and likely Oscar-nominated director of ’12 Years A Slave’ is a film-maker who very firmly believes in the old adage 'you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs’.



There was no way he could make ’12 Years A Slave’, his adaptation of the incredible true story of Solomon Northup, without showing the grim reality behind this dark chapter of American history.

[Steve McQueen unruffled by awards heckling for '12 Years A Slave']

“Either we're telling a story about slavery or we’re not. And I wanted to tell a story about slavery,” the director explained to Yahoo Movies, “But, I think, It’s not as violent as most films you’ll see at the weekend in the cinema, far from it.”

British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, who is also Golden Globe and BAFTA nominated for his portrayal of the New York free man kidnapped and sold into slavery, admits he was overwhelmed by the story.

“I felt, initially, after reading the script, quite intimidated by it,” Ejiofor explains in the exclusive video above. “I felt the weight of responsibility of it.”

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Will ’12 Years A Slave’ have similar success at the Oscars when the nominations are announced next week? It’s looking likely, but McQueen is pragmatic about the film’s chance when pushed.

“Awards are important as it’s a pat on the back, so to be given that encouragement is always welcome as far as I’m concerned,” the Turner prize-winning artist turned director admitted, “It’s a very strong year for film. It’s one of those times that I’m grateful that people are actually making bold statements with cinema.”

’12 Years A Slave’ is in UK cinemas from today.