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  1. Michael Fassbender is scarier than Leonardo DiCaprio

    You’ve got to hand it to Michael Fassbender: he’s not out to look loveable. Having played a man addicted to porn and prostitutes in Steve McQueen’s last film ‘Shame’, now he’s channelling his prowling charm as a sadistic plantation owner, feared and loathed by his slaves. And he’s darn sight more menacing than Leonardo DiCaprio's cartoonish Calvin Candy in ‘Django Unchained’.

  2. Chiwetel Ejiofor is about to have a Hollywood moment

    Brits know Chiwetel Ejiofor (Chewy to his friends) as the sad-faced doctor in ‘Dirty Pretty Things’ and jazz musician Louis Lester in the BBC’s ‘Dancing on the Edge’. If the trailer is anything to go by, the 36-year-old Londoner could find himself bookie’s favourite for Best Actor gongs.

  3. Casts don’t get more star-studded than this

    You know you’re in for a bumper cast when the trailer opens with Brad Pitt and then ditches him like a nobody. Cue Paul Dano in pulling-the-wings-off-flies mode, followed by Paul Giamatti (a slave trader?), Michael Kenneth Williams and Benedict Cumberbatch – who doesn’t even get a line, poor lamb.

  4. This is a million miles from ‘Django Unchained’

    Inevitably, ‘12 Years a Slave’ will be compared to ‘Django Unchained’ – a box office hit despite controversy over its portrayal of slavery and use of the ‘N’ word. But, from the pain etched on Chiwetel Ejiofor’s face to the haunting words of a slave woman – ‘in his own time, the good lord will manage them all’ – this looks like a different beast; a powerful, hard-hitting drama.

  5. Steve McQueen has made his most mainstream film yet

    Artist-turned-director McQueen’s previous films, ‘Hunger’ and ‘Shame’, were raw and riveting; icy arthouse movies. ‘12 Years a Slave’ looks more conventional than that – an epic tale of struggle and perseverance. A film you'll be able to watch with your mum, without squirming in your seat during the naked bits.

Five things we learned from the new ‘12 Years a Slave’ trailer

With a smattering of Hollywood A-listers (and a new British star) on board, could Steve McQueen's slave drama be an award-hoovering smash?


The first trailer has landed for Steve McQueen’s ‘12 Years a Slave’. Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as Solomon Northup, a free-born African American man tricked and sold into slavery in the 1840s. Based on Northup’s memoir, it’s already being tipped for Oscar glory.

The latest movie trailers on Time Out

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