12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave Poster

After meeting screenwriter John Ridley at a Creative Artists Agency screening of Hunger in 2008, director Steve McQueen got in touch with Ridley about his interest in making a film about "the slave era in America" with "a character that was not obvious in terms of their trade in slavery." Developing the idea back and forth, the two did not strike a chord until McQueen's partner, Bianca Stigter, found Solomon Northup's 1853 memoir Twelve Years a Slave.
The film was directed by Steve McQueen and the screenplay was written by John Ridley.

After a lengthy development process, during which Brad Pitt's production company Plan B Entertainment backed the project, which eventually helped get some financing from various film studios, the film was officially announced in August 2011 with McQueen to direct and Chiwetel Ejiofor to star as Solomon Northup.

With a production budget of $20 million, principal photography began in New Orleans, Louisiana, on June 27, 2012. After seven weeks, filming concluded on August 13, 2012. As a way to keep down production costs, a bulk of the filming took place around the greater New Orleans area – mostly south of the Red River country in the north of the state, where the historic Northup was enslaved. Among locations used were four historic antebellum plantations: FelicityBocageDestrehan, and Magnolia. Magnolia, a plantation in Schriever, Louisiana, is just a few miles from one of the historic sites where Northup was held. "To know that we were right there in the place where these things occurred was so powerful and emotional," said actor Chiwetel Ejiofor. "That feeling of dancing with ghosts – it's palpable. Filming also took place at the Columns Hotel andMadame John's Legacy in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

After both won Oscars at the 86th Academy Awards, it was reported that McQueen and Ridley had been in an ongoing feud over screenplay credit. McQueen reportedly had asked Ridley for shared credit, which he declined. McQueen appealed to Fox Searchlight, which sided with Ridley. Neither thanked the other during their respective acceptance speeches at the event. Since the event, Ridley has noted his regret for not mentioning McQueen and denied the feud. He spoke favorably of working with McQueen, and explained that his sole screenplay credit was due to the rules of the Writers Guild of AmericaMcQueen has not commented on the alleged feud.