British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor says he felt “devastated” upon reading the script and book about Solomon Northup a free man kidnapped into slavery for a dozen years. Ejiofor plays Northup in the new film “12 Years a Slave” which lands in theaters next week. The “Inside Man” star appeared on the “Today” show with host Matt Lauer earlier this week and spoke of how he reacted when he first read the source material.
“There were so many times I was reading it that I had to kind of put it down for a second and kind of breathe a little and you know take a moment. .. I think it’s a beautiful story. It’s not pretty, it’s just beautiful, in a way.”
Ejiofor told Lauer that Northup’s story of survival turned out to be beneficial to him as an actor.
“The whole process was to try to get as close to him as possible in a way and understand this remarkable person and his life and to have that first-person historical narrative was just invaluable to me as an actor and an amazing thing to look at and draw from.“