Variety reveal that Benedict Cumberbatch has joined the stellar cast of Steve McQueen’s (Hunger, Shame) adaptation of Solomon Northrup’s autobiography ‘Twelve Years A Slave.’ The film stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, who’s been cast as the lead, Brad Pitt, Adepero Oduye, Paul Dano, Scoot McNairy, Ruth Negga, and Michael Fassbender – who previously worked with McQueen on both ‘Hunger’ and ‘Shame.’ Written in 1853, the autobiography tells the true story of Solomon Northrup, a New York citizen who was kidnapped in Washington in 1841 and rescued from a cotton plantation in Louisiana in 1853. Benedict Cumberbatch will play a plantation owner who “buys Chiwetel Ejiofor’s character and is won over by his engineering skills.” Steve McQueen co-wrote the adaptation with John Ridley (Red Tails), and will produce through Brad Pitt’s company, Plan B. I’ve got incredibly high hopes for this film, shooting is expected to start later in the summer. Peter Cumberbatch will next be seen in J.J. Abrams’ yet-to-titled ‘Star Trek’ sequel, Peter Jackson’s ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ and HBO’s ‘Parades End.’

Based on a true story, 12 YEARS A SLAVE is a riveting account of a free black man kidnapped from New York and sold into brutal slavery in mid-1850s Louisiana, and the inspiring story of his desperate struggle to return home to his family.

SOLOMON NORTHUP (Chiwtel Ejiofor), an educated black man with a gift for music, lives with his wife and children in Saratoga, New York. One day, when his family is out of town, he is approached by two men claiming to be circus promoters. Solomon agrees to travel with them briefly, playing the fiddle while they perform. But after sharing a drink with the men, he awakens to find he has been drugged and bound and faces a horrifying reality: he is being shipped to the South as a slave.

No one listens to Solomon’s claim that he has papers proving his status as a free man. Despairing, he plots his escape, only to be foiled at every turn. He is sold to WILLIAM FORD, a kindly mill owner who appreciates Solomon’s thoughtful nature. But Ford is forced to sell him to a cruel master who subjects him and other slaves to unspeakable brutality. For years, Solomon nurtures his dreams of returning home. He stashes slips of stolen paper in his fiddle and develops a natural ink with which to write a letter. But when his greatest efforts come to nothing, he realizes just how trapped he is. Even if he could write the letter without being caught, where would he send it? Whom could he trust to deliver it? And will he even survive long enough to be rescued?

Refusing to abandon hope, Solomon watches helplessly as those around him succumb to violence, crushing emotional abuse and hopelessness. He realizes that he will have to take incredible risks, and depend on the most unlikely people, if he is ever to regain his freedom and be reunited with his family.