Originally posted on Variety:
The cast and filmmakers behind Steve McQueen‘s “12 Years a Slave” settled into the Directors Guild Oct. 14 to present the story of Solomon Northup, whose harrowing autobiography — a bestseller during the 19th Century — was the basis of the film. But Chiwetel Ejiofor, who deftly portrays Northup’s journey through bondage, hesitated before accepting the role.
“[Steve] called me up and he said he was going to send me the script and I was excited because I had been a fan of his for ages,” Ejiofor said. “After I read the script I had to take a bit of pause because there was a lot of responsibility.”
“You have these feelings as an actor, you hope for a great part and when it comes sometimes, it is a strange reaction, and you think, ‘Can I do this?’ I don’t want to go out there and make a mess of it.”