Scorsese/DiCaprio, Refn/Gosling and now McQueen/Fassbender. Michael Fassbender, who is perhaps the buzziest actor right now as we head into awards season, is set to reunite with director Steve McQueen for a third time, following 2008’s “Hunger” and this year’s “Shame”, the source of all of Fassbender’s awards buzz. Variety reports the actor/director duo are teaming up on “Twelve Years a Slave”, based on the true autobiographical account of Solomon Northrup set in 19th Century America. The film also stars Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Ejiofor woud presumably play Northrup, a free-born son of a former slave who lived as a farmer in New York in the 1800s. Two men lure Northrup to Washington DC with the promise of paying him to play his violin in a traveling circus, but instead he was drugged, illegally sold into slavery and shipped to work for William Ford in New Orleans. When he is finally able to get a letter to his wife and family, they seek legal counsel to help free him. He recounted, in great detail with exact dates and locations, his 12 years as a slave in “Twelve Years a Slave.” It’s unclear who Fassbender might play, though Canadian carpenter Samuel Bass, who aided Northrup in getting that crucial letter to his family, may be a logical choice.
Fassbender has been winning rave after rave for his performance in McQueen’s “Shame” as a thirty-something sex addict whose carefully compartmentalized life begins to spiral out of control when his mess of a younger sister (Carey Mulligan) moves into his apartment. It’s only one of two festival-circuit films that have people talking, as he is also said to be fantastic in David Cronenberg’s “A Dangerous Method”, in which he plays Carl Jung opposite Viggo Mortensen’s Sigmund Freud. A terrific end to a year that also saw a strong turn as Mr. Rochester in Cary Fukunaga’s new adaptation of “Jane Eyre” opposite Mia Wasikowska and as iconic comic book villain Magneto in this summer’s “X-Men: First Class.” He’s currently wrapping up Ridley Scott’s semi-“Alien”-prequel “Prometheus.”