While visiting the Arsenio Hall Show, actor Michael K. Williams shared one moment that actually happened when the cameras stopped rolling. His description was so graphic, it brought Arsenio Hall tears. He explained,
There was a scene unfortunately it didn’t make the film…We were shooting this scene where my character Roberts is being dragged to the slave ship and he was revolting, he was trailing, he was going crazy. Around the fifth time that we shot it Steve [McQueen, the director] yelled cut and something came over me I don’t know what it was..I fell to the ground, I couldn’t stop crying and screaming..I couldn’t even get up off the floor.
The stunt coordinator, he got on the floor with me, white man and he cradled me in his arms, and he rocked me and he kept saying, ‘It’s okay Mike let it out, let it out.’ And I screamed at the top of lungs, for what must’ve seemed like 15, 20 minutes. Like a cloud passed over me and I got up..I was like okay let’s go. I think what happened to me was that I was given a glimpse into what out ancestors must’ve went through.
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Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave received nine nominations on the film’s strong showing with the Academy. Starring Oscar nominee Chiwetel, it grossed $1.515M in 761 theaters, averaging a decent $1,991.