WHOGOTTHEROLE.com recently had the chance to catch up with the always hirable Paul Giamatti to talk about his upcoming role in Twelve Years A Slave, a project he found to be both interesting and challenging.
Due out sometime in 2013, Twelve Years a Slave marks Steve McQueen‘s return to the director’s chair, starring the likes of Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch and Paul Giamatti. Of course, this isn’t the Steve McQueen you’re immediately thinking of. This is the same Steve McQueen that gave audiences such controversial films as 2011’s sexually charged Shame and 2008’s award winning Hunger.
Paul Giamatti is set to play a role in at least nine films in 2013 alone, including new adaptations of Romeo & Juliet (because there’s not enough, clearly) and Madame Bovary. However, we’re sure his versatility will not be on short supply for Twelve Years a Slave, especially when considering this is the same actor who’s work on John Adams earned a Golden Globe. According to Giamatti, working with McQueen on Twelve Years a Slave was quite a memorable experience.
“He was amazing. He is a really really interesting guy,” the actor said. “I mean, the way it was shot, he is a very interesting dude. This movie could be really freaky. He wants to take off any sort of modern sensibility and create a world in which it’s completely normal that people get chained up and beaten.”
Of course, Twelve Years a Slave follows a man who is kidnapped from his home in New York in the 1800s and sold into slavery in the deep south. Giamatti will play Theophilus Freeman, a man who handles slaves once they reach the port of New Orleans.
“Its based on an actual slave narrative. Most of the roles are real people,” he said. “I play a guy who was one of the wealthiest slave traders in America at the time. I couldn’t believe some of the stuff I had to do to some of these people.”
The slave narrative Giamatti describes is the actual memoirs of Solomon Northup, who was kidnapped from his home in New York state and forced to live twelve years in Louisiana from 1841 to 1852. It provides great and dehumanizing insight regarding the slave trade in Washington DC at the time. Paul Giamatti reveals that McQueen will make little to no effort in holding back its portrayal, something the actor admits to finding strange when executing on film.
“He doesn’t whitewash at all. I had to handle these people in weird ways, like they were livestock,” he said. “These people were remarkable. It should probably be pretty disturbing when its all put together.”
Twelve Years a Slave‘s release date for the US has yet to be revealed. We’ll be sure to keep you updated as more information is unveiled.