Steve McQueen

  • Aired:  11/18/13
  •  | Views: 41,118

"12 Years a Slave" director Steve McQueen talks about his film's historical roots, the brutality of slavery, and his view of Solomon Northup as an American hero. (5:39)

WELCOME BACK EVERYBODY!

MY GUEST TONIGHT IS THE DIRECTOROF THE HEARTBREAKING FILM "12

YEARS A SLAVE."

ON THE BRIGHT SIDE, SLAVERYDIDN'T LAST AS LONG AS I

THOUGHT.

PLEASE WELCOME STEVE McQUEEN!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)HEY, MR. McQUEEN, THANKS SO

MUCH FOR COMING ON.

ALL RIGHT, THANK YOU SO MUCH FORCOMING ON.

THIS IS A HUGE THRILL.

OFF GIANT MOVIE THIS YEAR.

>> THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

>> Stephen: NOW YOU'RE ABRITISH ARTIST AND FILMMAKER,

YOUR FILMS INCLUDE "HUNGER" AND"SHAME."

CURRENTLY YOU'RE THE PRODUCERAND DIRECTOR OF "12 YEARS A

SLAVE" WHICH IS ADAPTED FROM AN1853 CHRONICLE OF A MAN NAMED

SOLOMON NORTHUP, RIGHT?

>> CORRECT.

>> Stephen: TELL THE PEOPLETHE STORY OF SOLOMON.

>> WELL, SOLOMON NORTHUP WAS AFREE BLACK MAN THAT LIVED IN

SARATOGA, NEW YORK, WHO GOTKIDNAPPED IN 1841 AND HE WAS

BROUGHT TO THE SOUTH WHERE HELIVED FOR 12 YEARS WITHIN

SLAVERY.

>> Stephen: OKAY, THE THINGABOUT THIS MOVIE IS I -- YOU

KNOW, I HAVEN'T SEEN IT YET, I'MLOOKING FORWARD TO IT.

THE THING THAT I'VE HEARD ISTHAT IT MAKES SLAVERY LOOK

REALLY BAD.

(LAUGHTER)IS THAT A SPOILER ALERT?

I DON'T KNOW.

(LAUGHTER)>> IT WAS PRETTY CRUEL.

IT WAS PRETTY BRUTAL.

IT WAS SLAVERY, SO UNFORTUNATELY--

>> Stephen: RIGHT, RIGHT.

THAT'S WHY THEY CALL IT SLAVERY.

>> PRECISELY.

>> Stephen: I'M ON RECORD ASSAYING THAT I'M AGAINST SLAVERY,

I WANT TO BE VERY CLEAR ABOUTTHAT.

>> I'M VERY PLEASED ABOUT THAT.

>> Stephen: IT TOOK A FAIRAMOUNT OF COURAGE, BUT I DID IT.

I'M FROM THE DREAM SOUTH,CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA.

AS WE LIKE TO SAY, ALL ROADSLEAD NORTH FROM CHARLESTON.

(LAUGHTER)WHERE DOES THIS MOVIE TAKE

PLACE?

>> IT TAKES PLACE IN LOUISIANA.

>> Stephen: OKAY, WELL THAT'SUNDERSTANDABLE.

THOSE PEOPLE ARE TERRIBLE.

(LAUGHTER)SOUTH CAROLINA, WAS SLAVERY BAD

EVERYWHERE?

BECAUSE I GREW UP HEARING THATSOME SLAVES ENJOYED AT LEAST THE

JOB SECURITY.

I'M NOT SAYING SLAVERY.

(AUDIENCE REACTS)HONEST TO GOD.

I GREW UP BEING TAUGHT THE CIVILWAR WAS NOT ABOUT SLAVERY, IT

WAS ABOUT ECONOMIC ISSUES ANDABOUT STATES RIGHTS AND THAT A

LOT OF SLAVES, YOU KNOW, ENJOYEDTHE JOB SECURITY.

>> I WOULD DOUBT THAT VERY MUCH.

(LAUGHTER)>> Stephen: YOU LEARN

SOMETHING NEW EVERYDAY.

>> YEAH.

I WILL SAY NO TO THAT COMPLETELYAND EMPHATICALLY, IN FACT.

QUITE EMPHATICALLY.

>> Stephen: OKAY.

LET ME ASK YOU SOMETHING.

I A LOT OF TIMES -- I DON'T CAREBUT I HEAR YOU'RE A BLACK GUY.

>> APPARENTLY.

>> Stephen: OKAY.

IF YOU'RE A BLACK GUY BUT YOUHAVE AN ENGLISH ACCENT.

>> CORRECT, YES.

>> Stephen: WHAT IS AN ENGLISHPERSON DOING COMING OVER HERE

AND TELLING US OUR SORDIDHISTORY.

WE'LL ACCUSE OURSELVES OFCRIMES, IF YOU DON'T MIND, SIR.

(LAUGHTER)>> WELL, SLAVERY WASN'T

PARTICULARLY FOCUSED JUST N THEUNITED STATES.

IT WAS A GLOBAL AND WORLD TRADE.

>> Stephen: YOU KNOW WHAT YOURPEOPLE DID TO THE IRISH, MY

PEOPLE.

>> OH, ABSOLUTELY.

>> Stephen: WOULD YOU LIKE TOAPOLOGIZE TO -- AS AN ENGLISH

PERSON?

WOULD YOU LIKE TO APOLOGIZE TOMY PEOPLE, THE IRISH PEOPLE, FOR

WHAT YOU DID TO US?

>> (LAUGHS).

>> Stephen: WOULD YOU LIKE TOAPOLOGIZE RIGHT NOW?

>> I WOULD LIKE TO APOLOGIZE FORALL CRIMES OF CRUELTY AND

SLAVERY THROUGHOUT THE WORLDWHICH EXIST EVEN TODAY.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)>> Stephen: ALL RIGHT.

PRETEND I'M A MOVIEGOER, OKAY?

SATURDAY NIGHT, I CAN CHOOSEBETWEEN GOING TO SEE "THOR".

(LAUGHTER)-- LAST VEGAS, MAYBE THAT BLUE

IS THE WARMEST COLOR THING.

(LAUGHTER)AND "12 YEARS A SLAVE."

SELL ME.

>> WELL, I'LL SELL IT TO YOUTHIS WAY --

>> Stephen: ONE OF THEM IS"THOR."

(LAUGHTER)>> YES, HE HAS A VERY BIG

HAMMER.

"12 YEARS A SLAVE" IS A TRUESTORY ABOUT AN AMERICAN HERO AND

I WOULD ACTUALLY SAY TO YOU, THEAUDIENCE, THAT HE'S A RARITY IN

THE WORLD AS A FIGURE AND AS ISAID BEFORE, HE NEEDS TO BE

RECOGNIZED AND NEEDS TO BE SORTOF LOOKED AT IN PERSPECTIVE NOW.

>> Stephen: WAS THIS NOVELPOPULAR BACK IN THE DAY?

>> IT SOLD 27,000 COPIES IN ITSFIRST YEAR.

BUT WHAT HAPPENED AFTER WASUNCLE TOM'S CABIN CAME THE NEXT

YEAR AND OBLITERATED IT SO ITGOT BURIED.

>> Stephen: AND SHE WAS JUSTRIDING HIS COATTAILS.

>> AND SHE TOOK A LOT OF FROMTHAT BOOK AND NEXT YEAR WE HAD A

FICTIONALIZED BOOK OF SLAVERYTHAT BECAME A HUGE BEST-SELLER

AND BURIED "12 YEARS A SLAVE."

>> Stephen: DID YOU PAYANYTHING TO SOLOMON NORTHUP FOR

HIS STORY?

>> NO, BUT THE PUBLIC ARE PAYINGHIM VERY, VERY WELL.

THE BOOK HAS SOLD OVER 100,000COPIES IN TWO MONTHS.

>> Stephen: 100,000 COPIES INTWO MONTHS!

BUT HE DOESN'T GET PART OF YOURKNEW SPREE IN.

>> NO, HE DOESN'T GET A CUT OFMY MOVIE.

>> Stephen: I DON'T WANT TOPOINT OUT THAT YOU ARE MAKING

MONEY OFF THE LABOR OF A BLACKMAN.

(LAUGHTER)AND PAYING HIM NOTHING!

THERE'S A WORD FOR THAT, YOUREALIZE.

>> TRUST ME, I'M NOT GETTINGPAID THAT MUCH, UNFORTUNATELY.

(LAUGHTER)>> Stephen: WELL, THANK YOU

FOR JOINING US.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)STEVE McQUEEN, "12 YEARS A

SLAVE."

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

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