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March 4, 2014 DVD & Blu-ray: Chiwetel Ejiofor in best picture '12 Years a Slave'

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From award-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen comes the critically acclaimed painful, yet remarkable film 12 Years a Slave about the true story of one black man’s fight for survival and freedom in pre-Civil War United States. John Ridley wrote the screenplay and it is based on Solomon Northup’s 1853 memoir of the same name. Chiwetel Ejiofor, who plays Solomon Northup, leads a powerful cast that includes Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’o, Benedict Cumberbatch, Brad Pitt, Sarah Paulson, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Quvenzhané Wallis and Michael K. Williams. 12 Years a Slave received a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Drama and won three Oscars including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress for Lupita Nyong'o and Best Adapted Screenplay for John Ridley, after garnering an incredible nine Academy Award nominations including Best Director for Steve McQueen, Best Actor for Chiwetel Ejiofor and Best Supporting Actor for Michael Fassbender.

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In 1840s America before slavery was abolished, Solomon Northup is a free black man from upstate New York with a wife and two children. One day, he is abducted by a pair of nefarious white men, shipped off to New Orleans and sold into slavery. Re-named Platt, he toils away for the plantation owner Mr. Ford who shows him a modicum of unexpected kindness, recognizing he is educated and a musician. However, after a violent altercation with one of Ford’s racist underlings, John Tibeats, who attempts to lynch Northup, Ford fears for his safety and sells him to the cruel, sadistic Edwin Epps. There, Northup struggles to stay alive as he suffers abuse from Epps who believes it is biblically sanctioned to abuse his slaves, whom he refers to as his property. Northup also meets another slave named Patsey, who is the plantation’s best cotton picker. Patsey is praised lavishly and coveted lustfully by Epps. She gets repeatedly raped by Epps and suffers violent abuse from his jealous wife, especially after Epps publicly declares he would choose the slave girl over his wife. Despite the intolerable hardship, Northup bides his time and tries to retain his dignity, waiting for the chance to one day see his family again and reclaim his rightful name. In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, a chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist changes his life forever when he is finally freed from slavery and reunites with his family.

DVD and Blu-ray special features include two featurettes: “The Team” which profiles the creative minds assembled by McQueen to bring Solomon Northup’s journey to life; and “The Score” that follows film composer Hans Zimmer as he creates his dramatic score. Exclusive to Blu-ray is the documentary “A Historical Portrait” that explores director Steve McQueen’s unique artistry in bringing this remarkable story to life with readings from the book by actor Chiwetel Ejiofor that brings authenticity and dimension to the real story of Solomon.

Cast:

  • Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup
  • Michael Fassbender as Edwin Epps
  • Lupita Nyong'o as Patsey
  • Sarah Paulson as Mary Epps
  • Benedict Cumberbatch as William Ford
  • Brad Pitt as Samuel Bass
  • Paul Dano as John Tibeats
  • Adepero Oduye as Eliza
  • Paul Giamatti as Theophilus Freeman
  • Garret Dillahunt as Armsby
  • Scoot McNairy as Brown
  • Taran Killam as Hamilton
  • Chris Chalk as Clemens Ray
  • Michael K. Williams as Robert
  • Kelsey Scott as Anne Northup
  • Alfre Woodard as Mistress Harriet Shaw
  • Quvenzhané Wallis as Margaret Northup
  • Devyn A. Tyler as Adult Margaret Northup
  • Cameron Zeigler as Alonzo Northup
  • Rob Steinberg as Parker
  • Jay Huguley as Sheriff Villiere
  • Christopher Berry as James Burch
  • Bryan Batt as Judge Turner
  • Bill Camp as Radburn
  • Dwight Henry as Uncle Abram
  • Ruth Negga as Celeste

DVD Special Features:

  • The Team
  • The Score

Blu-ray Special Features:

Includes all DVD Special Features plus:

  • A Historical Portrait

Best Prices:

DVD - $14.99 at Amazon.com, Best Buy, Target, $25.48 at Walmart.com

Blu-ray (includes UltraViolet Digital Copy) - $19.99 at Amazon.com, Best Buy, Target, $33.99 at Walmart.com

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