Deadline reports that Michael Kenneth Williams has been cast in “Twelve Years a Slave,” Steve McQueen’s next film. The cast also includes Michael Fassbender, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Garret Dillahunt, Paul Dano, and Taran Killam.
The film is an adaptation of a 1853 memoir by Solomon Northup, a free black man living in the New York until he is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the South, where he worked on several cotton plantations. He regained his freedom after a Canadian carpenter who befriended him contacted Northup’s family, who got legal help from the governor of New York to prove that Northup had been kidnapped. Ejiofor plays Northup; Williams will play Robert, a mutinous slave Northup meets along the way.
Williams is, of course, best known for playing Omar Little on “The Wire.” How big a deal is that? Even if you haven’t watched one episode of “The Wire,” chances are good that you have heard of Williams as Omar. Oh, he’s also done a nice job as Chalky White on “Boardwalk Empire.”
As for the big screen, Williams will be seen later this year in “They Die By Dawn” with Idris Elba and Giancarlo Esposito and “Snitch” with Dwayne Johnson.