«ELVIS MITCHELL: Well, it makes me wonder what the idea of imprisonment means to you. Hunger literally takes place in a prison, and then Shame is about a man who is basically in a prison of kind of his own making. The difference with 12 Years a Slave is that the imprisonment is not created by one’s own will. Bobby Sands knew what he was doing. Brandon, in Shame, knows what he’s doing. But Solomon Northup is thrust into his imprisonment.
McQUEEN: Well, for me, it was a matter of having people in the audience, regardless of their race or ethnicity, look at Solomon and see themselves. All Solomon wanted, at the end of the day, was to get back to his family, and the whole idea of that sort of imprisonment and that anyone could identify with it was the “in” for me. In telling the story, I wanted to put people into Solomon’s shoes, but then, as I said, also take them through the journey and the conveyor belt and the different cycles of slavery.»