Chiwetel Ejiofor

Go Behind the Scenes of ‘12 Years a Slave’ with Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender and Benedict Cumberbatch

Director Steve McQueen’s highly anticipated drama 12 Years a Slave – by many critical accounts a lock for a Best Picture Oscar next year – opened in theaters beginning October 18. Of course, that’s a limited release, so you may still have to wait a bit before you get to see this powerful film for yourself if you don’t live in a major metropolitan area.

The drama features a bevy of British stars – including a trio of up-and-coming “it” actors in star Chiwetel Ejiofor, as well as supporting players Michael Fassbender and Benedict Cumberbatch. There are also a few Americans you might recognize, most notably Brad Pitt. The film retells the true story of Solomon Northrup, a free black man from upstate New York who is abducted and sold into slavery in the pre-Civil War United States. Northrup was forced to work on plantations in Louisana for twelve years before his release and fought both to return home and preserve his dignity against impossible odds.

The film debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival last month to almost universal acclaim – with most critics hailing it as a harrowing, uncompromising (and sometimes difficult to watch) portrayal of slavery in America, and lining up to pour accolades on Ejiofor’s performance, in particular.

Website ScreenSlam shared three behind-the-scenes set interviews with Ejiofor, Fassbender and Cumberbatch, as all three actors shared their thoughts on the film, their roles, and what it was like to work on the set and with acclaimed director McQueen. Watch them all below.

Starz to Air Chiwetel Ejiofor Miniseries 'Dancing on the Edge'

Premium cable network Starz is slowly becoming something of a destination for fans of British television. Though you probably wouldn’t expect it, the network has been responsible for bringing several popular British programs to America over the past several years, including sci-fi sequel Torchwood: Miracle Day and lavish War of the Roses drama The White Queen.

Starz will now bring us period drama Dancing on the Edge, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, another British actor whose complicated name you should probably get used to spelling, because he’s about to have a breakout year with three films coming out, one of which is the basically guaranteed Best Picture nominee 12 Years a Slave. (Also? He’s an amazing actor.) Ejiofor is joined by a cast of notable actors, including Matthew Goode, John Goodman, Anthony Stewart Head, Merlin’s Angel Coulby, Doctor Who companion Jenna Coleman and The Paradise’s Joanna Vanderham.