I’ve been chomping at the bit to see 12 Years a Slave and it’s almost here. In anticipation, I’ve been looking back at some of my favorite films featuring the film’s stars.
Chiwetel Ejiofor has been dazzling festival audiences with his performance in 12 Years, but I’ve loved him since way back in 2000 when I saw him along with Andrew Lincoln and Bill Nighy in the play Blue/Orange at the National Theatre in London. Since then he’s had mostly supporting roles in the US, but two of his British films really stand out to me.
Before Billy Porter was killing it as Lola in the musical Kinky Boots, Ejiofor played the original Lola in the 2005 film.
Stephen Frears 2002 film, Dirty Pretty Things casts Ejiofor as a hotel worker caught up in an organ smuggling ring.
Michael Fassbender has the best scene in Inglorious Basterds. He also has served as 12 Years director Steve McQueen‘s muse in Shame and Hunger.
Brad Pitt is a movie star who has been familiar to audiences for years. He plays a small role in the film, but played a major role behind the scenes, helping to get the film produced. My favorite Pitt performance is in the understated and achingly beautiful The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Pitt plays Jesse James as a complex and flawed hero.
Benedict Cumberbatch pops up in 12 Years as well. He’s had a break out year and I think he will continue to explode in 2014. I really love many of his performances, but my favorite is in a supporting role in Atonement as well as Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (one of my favorite films of the last decade).