Twelve Years a Slave boasts one of the most impressive casts of any upcoming feature and Steve McQueen seems content adding even more big names. Or big names are just happy to join the acclaimed director’s third film. Either way, Benedict Cumberbatch is the newest star to board the adaptation that already features Michael Fassbender (McQueen’s Hunger and Shame muse), Chiwetel Ejiofor and Brad Pitt.
Based on his 1853 memoir, Twelve Years a Slave follows Solomon Northrup, a freed slave who’s tricked, kidnapped and sold back into slavery and Variety reports that Cumberbatch has been set to play a plantation owner. Cumberbatch’s character purchases Northrup (played by Ejiofor) for his plantation only to soon be “won over by his engineering skills.” Does that mean he plays a ‘nice’ Southern slave owner who helps the titular twelve years finally come to and end?
As for Cumberbatch, Twelve Years a Slave marks just another high profile role for the rising star who is not only the best Sherlock Holmes in many, many years (on BBC’s Sherlock) but is also coming off parts in Academy Award nominated films like War Horse and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. You can also catch the Cumberbatch as a villain in the next installment of J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek and as the voice of Smaug in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit.
Twelve Years a Slave set to start production at the end of June for a 2013 (probably awards-friendly) release. On top of Cumberbatch, Fassbender, Pitt and Ejiofor, the period drama also stars Paul Dano, Adepero Oduye, Scoot McNairy, Ruth Negga and Taran Killam. I told you, it’s a great ensemble.