HOLLYWOOD – Steve McQueen’s award winning slave drama 12 Years a Slave is to be remade by Tower Heist director Brett Ratner.
The Rush Hour 2 director said:
12 Years is long, long overdue a remake. Basically there’s a whole younger generation of fans out there who’ve not seen this material. And even the old die hard geeks are going to love what we’re thinking of doing with the Solomon Northup universe.
Despite early rumors to the contrary, actors Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender will not be returning to play their roles. The Red Dragon – as he prefers to be called – continued:
We’re going with some fresh faces and youth in it. I’ve been talking to Hayden Christensen about the role and he’s intrigued even though he still thinks I’m joking. And I’m still after Andrew Garfield, though I know he’s reluctant to sign on, because of the similarities to his Spider-Man role. The tone of our version is going to be a lot lighter. I think if there’s one criticism one can make of the original (and I love it for it’s old timeyness), it’s that it does tend to concentrate on the less fun aspects of slavery.
But there weren’t any fun aspects to slavery?
Well, exactly. That’s what you think now. But wait until you see our version.
And when will we see it?
I’m currently finishing the post-production on my Three Colors: Blue remake [for more on that project Click Here], starring Cameron Diaz. But that will be locked over the next weeks and then production on 12 Years will begin in May.
Brett Ratner’s 12 Amazing Years a Slave will be released in 2015.
12 YEARS A SLAVE: REVIEW – Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) was a freeman living in New York. He was kidnapped and sold into slavery.
You probably don’t know this, but Steve McQueen has made a film of his autobiography 12 Years a Slave with a more than respectable cast (Michael Fassbender, Lupita N’Yongo, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Benedict Cumberbatch, Scoot McNairy and Brad Pitt), and produced by Brad Pitt. It’s a moving and thoughtful piece, beautifully photographed and with an elegaic Hans Zimmer score, and as befits a film from the perspective of a violinist it seems to think in music. The film has already been amply awarded and critically recognised and looks set to get even more accolades as the season progresses. And if there were anymore doubt about its artistic worth that was quickly dispensed with when it received its final seal of approval: Armond White didn’t like it.
None of this is to say that the film is perfect or above criticism – the casting sometimes feels like a ‘we have to work together sometime’ arrangement and some of those recognizable faces stand out. As a visual artist, McQueen also has a predilection for the tableaux and his fascination with suffering – already evident in Shame and Hunger – breeds an eerie detachment. However, that said, suffering is a fascinating subject and if this is ‘torture porn’ (see Mr. White’s assertion) then so is the Book of Job, King Lear and St. Matthew’s Passion, at which point we can dispense with the term as a denoter of value. This film is not the final word on slavery, nor can any film claim to be, but it is a precisely and humanely rendered depiction of one man’s slave narrative and it deserves to be seen and heard.
TORONTO – Veteran film director Cameron Crowe is no stranger to controversy, having unleashed polemics against fellow film makers such as David Lynch and Jane Campion in the past, but earlier today he reached a new pitch when he hurled a vitriolic attack against Steve McQueen‘s new film 12 Years a Slave, which has been garnering massive praise since its Telluride and Toronto screenings.
A source close to the director reported the Almost Famous director saying:
I had high hopes for 12 Years a Slave, having been a great fan of Steve McQueen ever since he tried to jump those barbed wire fences on a motor-bicycle during the Second World War. He didn’t make it but by God, he gave it his best shot. Whereas this film, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender and produced by Brad Pitt, is just a huge disappointment. One long wet fart of a film.
“What’s wrong with it?” our source (who for legal reasons couldn’t possibly be the Studio Exec) asked.
Well, it tells the story of a freeman, a musician called Solomon Northup, who is kidnapped and sold into slavery where he is brutally mistreated. A damning indictment of American history and a moving chronicle of one man’s fight for freedom. So far so good. But not once does Solomon Northup buy a zoo. Not once. I mean, I know McQueen is principally an actor but this is film making 101. There isn’t even a soft rock montage where the protagonist learns to do something better. Not one. No bitter sweet romance, no you had me at hello. Nothing. Can you even call it a film? is my question.
Steve McQueen has refused to comment on Crowe’s outburst, though Michael Fassbender did respond saying he thought, although Mr. Crowe had a right to his opinion, “Elizabethtown was a big bag of sodden shite.”
12 Years a Slave is due to be released in December, 2013.