First Look: Quvenzhané Wallis & Chiwetel Ejiofor in '12 Years a Slave'
She's on her way to breaking out and deserves the attention. I'm talking about Beasts of the Southern Wild star Quvenzhané Wallis, who is undoubtedly going to get some awards attention later this year. But in the meantime, since Beasts is now playing in theaters, she's got some free time and is apparently playing some kind of role in the new Steve McQueen (Hunger, Shame) film 12 Years a Slave, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup, a man living in New York during the mid-1800s who is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the deep south. Production is underway, and our friends at The Film Stage recently found a tweet from @lesterzeigler of a photo of Ejiofor on set with Quvenzhané as the Northrup family. See it below.
While he doesn't explicitly state it's Quvenzhané, you can definitely tell it's her. Her Beasts co-star Dwight Henry also recently joined the cast. Lester Zeigler's tweet states: "#12yearsaslave, Northup family, on set in French Quarter, McQueen is a genius." Love to hear this kind of early buzz, especially when it comes with a first look photo! Shadow and Act confirms the casting and adds that the other actress seen is Kelsey Scott.
If we're properly connecting the dots, the Northup family is Chiwetel Ejiofor's family in New York, probably before he gets taken. So it looks like Quvenzhané Wallis is playing his daughter. Perfect. She's fantastic in Beasts and I'm happy to see her already getting more roles like this. I'm very excited to see what McQueen is working on with this project, it sounds massive with a huge cast, and yet very intricate and fascinating. They're shooting so it won't be too much longer until we get to see it. We'll keep you updated on more news.
McQueen's Twelve Years a Slave, written by John Ridley and McQueen, is currently in production in New Orleans, and has a dream cast that would make any producer salivate. On top of the extremely talented Chiwetel Ejiofor starring as Solomon Northup, who gets taken and enslaved, the cast includes: Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Paul Dano, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Garret Dillahunt, Sarah Paulson and Scoot McNairy. Now you can add Dwight Henry to that list, too. If all goes well, we can probably expect this highly anticipated film to premiere at Cannes or another high profile fest next year.