British director also reveals that the Oscar-winning film “had to be made in Hollywood”
After the critical and commercial success of 12 Years A Slave, it might seem incredible to think that the film faced a number of obstacles before making it to the big screen, but the story of Solomon Northrup almost never happened as “a lot of people didn’t want the movie made,” director Steve McQueen revealed in an interview with FT Weekend published Friday.
Known for his frankness, McQueen said that he understood why people didn’t want a story like 12 Years, at least, initially: “[P]eople want to close their eyes on some subjects. They want to keep on going, they don’t want to look behind them.”
As with his film Hunger, about the IRA hunger-striker Bobby Sands, McQueen is a firm believer in understanding history in order to progress as a society. He told the FT Weekend: “I don’t think people had looked into the subject matter very much, that relationship between slave and slave-owner… That is what I wanted to do. It is such a huge part of history, and there was a certain kind of examination or reflection it hadn’t been given. It is very, very important to look back in order to move forward.”
Earlier in the interview, McQueen talked about how 12 Years could only be made in Hollywood: “12 Years could not have been made anywhere else… It had to be made in Hollywood. I couldn’t raise the money in Europe. And I was extremely lucky that people trusted me and trusted my vision. Brad [Pitt] was amazing. I was lucky enough to work with people who understood what I was trying to do. They gave me their trust. I had final cut, and that was that.”
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SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter