"12 Years a Slave" is notable not only for its shocking tale of violence and narrative of stark betrayal, but for the wondrous beauty and delicacy of language that the filmmakers bring to the screen. The film is as much an achievement on a technical level as it is as a near-spiritual experience when watching the movie's story unfold.
In this second part of our conversation (in our first conversation we sat down with the cast), Moviefone spoke with the people behind the scenes about the unique challenges of sharing this tale with a general audience, including director Steve McQueen, screenwriter John Ridley, composer Hans Zimmer, and the historian Henry Louis Gates Jr.
What's the background of the film's narrative?
Henry Louis Gates Jr.: [The film] is based on a true story, a book that was published in 1853. It was written in 2 months, and was published on July 15, 1853. It was a runaway bestseller.