Nightly News   |  October 18, 2013

‘12 Years a Slave’ shares similarities to Anne Frank’s diaries

NBC’s Ann Curry speaks with director Steve McQueen and several cast members from the film '12 Years a Slave.' The movie, based on a once-obscure book, is already generating Oscar buzz.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> new film many are calling an oscar-worthy masterpiece. the story of solomon northrup, born a free man and sold into slavery, his memoir was a best seller . now his story will be reveal ed to a new generation, 160 years late r. we spoke to the film's director, steve mcqueen , and his cast. how did the story come to you?

>> i had the initial idea of a free man who had been kidnapped into slavery. i talked to my wife who is a historian. she found this book. she put it in my hand and i couldn't let it go. i couldn't believe i department know this book. what was strange was most of the people -- all of the people i spoke to had never read the book. for me it was a huge parallel to anne frank and her diaries.

>> reporter: you describe it's the story of a man who is born a froo man and becomes a slave. then the 12 years it took for him to find a way out of that.

>> you, strip your clothes. strip.

>> i will not.

>> what is this film in its essence to you?

>> to me, overall, this is a story about human respect.

>> i would agree with that. i would say it's a detailed look at how inhumane man can be to man, but ultimately it's a reminder of our responsibility to each other.

>> what amused me just then was your concern for my well-be ing in this heat when, quite frapgly, the condition of your laborers is all wrong.

>> at the end of the day the film is about love. for someone to go through this and come out the other end intact is incredible. he's a reflection of us all.

>> you --

>> i survive. i will offer my talents. i will keep myself hearty until freedom is opportune.

>> reporter: it is clear when you watch the movie there is nothing left on the table. clearly every performance is at a high point.

>> i think with steve at the helm, he was the guiding force for all of us. we never sat down and had a conversation about the larger message or the bigger picture.

>> reporter: there is a lot ofs oscar buzz. what do you make of that? what are your best hopes for the film is this.

>> we have actually made it. with made the movie. after that, all is gravy. all is gravy.