Director Steve McQueen Says He Was Told ‘A Movie W/ Black Leads Wouldn’t Make Any Money’ While Creating “12 Years A Slave”
Director Steve McQueen has enjoyed massive success in his films over the years, with 12 Years A Slave taking home nine Academy awards in 2014! However, not everyone was on board with the 2013 blockbuster hit. In a recent interview with The Big Issue magazine, he discussed the obstacles he faced while trying to bring the film to fruition:
“It was a difficult film to make. Lupita Nyong’o, Michael Fassbender, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sarah Paulson – all these people risked a lot…Everyone was telling me ‘no’ and I didn’t take any notice, just like before. I was told a movie with black leads wouldn’t make any money internationally, especially one about slavery — and that was by someone supportive of the movie!”
The acclaimed director continued:
“It opened a lot of doors for other filmmakers…That picture changed a lot. I’m very grateful. The picture itself won Best Picture [at the 2014 Oscars] and I’m extremely proud of it, but it’s what came after that I’m especially proud of…sometimes you have to ruffle feathers. I think about my art and my movies, and to me it’s all about taking risks. You’ve got to throw yourself a curveball and experiment.”
What came after is “12 Years A Slave” went on to gross $187 million internationally, proving naysayers wrong.
But Steve McQueen’s success didn’t stop him from experiencing racism in Hollywood. The Black Australian says that even in reviews of his films, bias can be shown if the cast is full of actors of color. He said this of his 2018 thriller, Widows:
“Through the critique of this movie, I’ve seen sexism in a way and racism in a way, which is interesting, even if it’s a positive review. People don’t even notice that, but when you’ve got 90% of the critics are white males, that’s what happens.”
What are your thoughts on Steve McQueen’s remarks? Tell us in the comments.
Written by Miata Shanay