Steve McQueen: Hollywood ignores period of slavery

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 7 January 2014
Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen

Filmmaker Steve McQueen doesn't think Hollywood produces enough films which look at the period of slavery

Filmmaker Steve McQueen thinks Hollywood needs to address slavery in more films.

The BAFTA Award-winning director's critically acclaimed historical drama '12 Years A Slave' is based on the real life story of Solomon Northup - a free African-American who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841.

McQueen doesn't think there have been enough films made which address slavery, especially by comparison to the numbers of movies based on other periods of history.

He told Sky News: "People somehow do not want to look at this particular time in history.

"The Second World War lasted five years and there are hundreds and hundreds of films about the Second World War and the Holocaust.

"Slavery lasted 400 years and there are less than 20 [films]. We have to redress that balance and look at that time in history."

He previously insisted '12 Years A Slave' is about "love" and "hope" and although it contains scenes which portray the violence and brutality shown towards slaves at the time he hopes audiences won't be deterred by the gory scenes.

McQueen explained: "What I would say is that, for me, this film has always been about love. Through the worst kind of environment, my ancestors and people like me survived and they survived through love. They didn't have much choice. They had to navigate their way through a circumstance in order to bring their children up. Some people were taken away from their parents, some were taken away from their mothers and fathers.

"But in all that chaos, there was a sense of hope and love and that's what Solomon went through for 12 years in his journey. He held on to his sense of love and that sense of hope."

12 Years a Slave

  • 5 stars
  • 2013
  • US
  • 2h 13min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Steve McQueen
  • Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael K. Williams, Michael Fassbender
  • UK release: 10 January 2014

In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. McQueen's third feature (and follow-up to Shame) features a stellar cast.

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