At this point, there isn’t one single grain of a doubt in my mind that you’ve heard all about 12 Years A Slave, due to it absolutely owning the 2013 Toronto Film Festival. I can bet that you know all about the heartbreaking story and the phenomenal cast, which includes Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Sarah Paulson, Lupita Nyong’o, Alfre Woodard, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Brad Pitt. But how much about the movie have you heard directly from the actors? Whatever that amount is, I’m about to multiply it because we, here at Crushable, love us some math. We know that celebrity plus other celebrity plus “reliable source” equals ~celeb romance~ and that child star minus parental supervision equals future scandal! Those are just some examples, of course. What we really love is giving you all the details about everything that’s important, like this film and this cast and this story and this director (hey, Steve McQueen!) And, just because l have to save my waxing poetic for an official review of the movie, that doesn’t mean that the lovely cast members have to!
We had the very distinct pleasure of sitting down to chat with a few of the many stars in this movie and, if you want a true portrait of what you’re in for when you go to see it, then you need not look any further than these interview quotes. They capture the heart and the essence of the movie and you need to hear all about it. While I’m going to try my hardest not to spoil any movie moments (because the internet hates spoilers), I can’t guarantee anything. So, just read with caution and, whenever a sentence sounds spoiler-y, just cover your eyes and scroll really quickly. Problem solved.
So, movie fans and history-lovers of the internet, have at it. Hearing about how intense this movie is from the people actually in said movie will make it a lot easier for you to prepare for the ocean of tears you’ll end up crying after being repeatedly slapped in the face with emotions.
1. Sarah Paulson on the movie’s most memorable scene:
“I also love the moment at the end of the movie when he’s reunited with his family. And it’s like, more than I — I can’t even talk about it really, ’cause it’s like… (me and Sarah together) bawling! [...] When they hold the baby and he says his own name out loud for the first time —which, he hasn’t been able to say his own name out loud for 12 years. And there it is in the child. I mean, it, it gives me goosebumps [...] It’s one of the most powerful, and it’s, like, hard to even talk about.”
2. Lupita Nyong’o on the importance of the movie:
“People understood that we were, as Steve says, dancing with ghosts. We were bringing this time in history back to the present.”
3. Alfre Woodard on Steve McQueen’s skill as a director:
“I soo wanted to work with Steve McQueen. I have fallen in worship at the shrine of Steve McQueen since I saw Hunger and then I championed Shame to be one of the Best Pictures [...] ’cause I knew it would be tough, you know? People in the Academy wouldn’t necessarily want to see it. But I thought that was brilliant, so I jumped at the chance to be on board with him.”
4. Lupita Nyong’o on the hardest scene for her to film:
“The scene that [my character] Patsey’s wounds get attended to after the whipping. I had basically overlooked that scene because I thought, “Oh this will be easy, I’ll just lie down and they’ll attend to my wounds! And, you know, I’ll react and it’ll be all good.” But it ended up really just like breaking my heart, you know, that moment. Because I recognized in my discomfort with the makeup on my back, and all this, that Patsey didn’t have a choice. Like, these were permanent wounds on this woman and it just dawned on me in a different way.”
5. Sarah Paulson on her motivation to be a part of the movie:
“What drew me to the part was an incredible acting opportunity to play someone [...] who was real and had walked this planet.”
6. Lupita Nyong’o on the specialness of the film:
“We made this film with so much love and generosity, across the board.”
7. Alfre Woodard on what is surprising about the film:
“I think what will surprise [viewers] is knowing that it’s a first hand account of a slave narrative. Solomon Northup wrote it 5 months after he got his freedom back. I think people will be surprised how much beauty is in it as well. Yes, we know, that there will be brutality because, you know, it was a brutal system, the slave economy. But people lived in it, they had families, they found a way to [...] have these incredibly complex lives. I think people will be surprised that there is love and beauty in the film.”
8. Lupita Nyong’o on the effects of the heaviness of the film:
“I guess after doing 12 Years A Slave, I think I would like to do a romantic comedy!”
9. Lupita Nyong’o on the dedication put into the film:
“There was [...] like, an electrifying vibration on set. [...] Everybody was convicted to do this work, everybody took ownership of this project.”
So, there you have it. Now, fill all of your jacket pockets with tissues and prepare for the eye floods and heart pains when you watch it.
12 Years A Slave hits U.S. theaters October 18, 2013.