Steve McQueen told he'd be a plumber

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 17 February 2014
Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen

'12 Years A Slave' director Steve McQueen was told by a teacher at school he'd never be anything more than a plumber

Steve McQueen was told by a school teacher he'd never be anything more than a plumber.

The 44-year-old director - who suffers with dyslexia - saw his film '12 Years A Slave' honoured as the Best Film at the BAFTA awards last night (16.02.14), but he admits he was once told he'd only ever make it as a tradesman.

He said: "No one cared. No one invested any time or care into these people -- many very talented -- who they'd marked for manual labour."

The gripping movie tells the true story of black New Yorker Solomon Northup, who was kidnapped in 1841 and sold into slavery, before being subjected to racism by his white "owners".

He added to The Sun newspaper: "I think there is amnesia about this subject and I just wanted to wake people up.

"I'd always thought it would be interesting to do a film about slavery. There were no films about it and I wanted to fill that void and see if I could grapple with it."

While accepting his award last night, McQueen said he hoped the number of people living in slavery would decrease and there would be no need for another film addressing the horrifying issue.

He said: "[There are] 21 million people in slavery now as we sit here. I just hope there will not be another 120 years of ambivalence that allows another filmmaker to make a film like this."

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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