24 January 2014 3:30 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Oscar nominated scriptwriter received no fee for first four years of development, until Hollywood finally stepped in

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12 Years a Slave scriptwriter John Ridley revealed that he worked unpaid on the script for the Oscar nominated film for four years.

Ridley, who had previously written scripts for Red Tails, Three Kings and U Turn told the Press Association: "There was no development money whatsoever for this project, so I said I'd take it on as a spec project, which means I'll write it for free."

12 Years, adapted from Solomon Northup's 1853 memoir of kidnap and slavery on a plantation in Louisiana, was initially spotted by director Steve McQueen's partner Bianca Stigter, and Ridley agreed to write a script well before any financial backing arrived. »

- Andrew Pulver

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