With the UK still having to wait until 24 January for the Brad Pitt produced 12 Years a Slave, our patience grows in the light of the first official images. The film, marking the third feature film directed by Steve McQueen (Shame, Hunger), is based on Solomon Northup‘s 1853 memoirs.

12 Years a Slave follows Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free, educated Afro-American who ultimately gets kidnapped and forced into slavery, paving the way for a harsh life under various owners until his rescue 12 years later.

McQueen commented that Northup’s harrowing journey “was the Anne Frank story of America of that time” comparing him to the likes of Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte: “There’s a certain kind of class and dignity about him. He brings that with him wherever he goes.”

The film also boasts an ensemble supporting cast featuring the likes of Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Paul Dano and Brad Pitt. We’ll leave you with the aforementioned photographs and will be right back at you very soon as the first teaser trailer is only a few days away.

(Photographs courtesy of USA Today)