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Synopsis: 12 Years a Slave is a 2013 period drama film and an adaptation of the 1853 slave narrative memoir Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup, a New York State-born free African-American man who was kidnapped in Washington, D.C., in 1841 and sold into slavery. Northup worked on plantations in the state of Louisiana for 12 years before his release. The first scholarly edition of Northup's memoir, co-edited in 1968 by Sue Eakin and Joseph Logsdon, carefully retraced and validated the account and concluded it to be accurate. Other characters in the film were also real people, including Edwin and Mary Epps, and Patsey.

CARD:
1841

FADE IN:

1 INT. TOWNHOUSE/STUDY - DAY 1

-EARLY APRIL, 1841

We are close on a PAIR OF BLACK HANDS as they open AFINELY WRAPPED PACKET OF VIOLIN STRINGS.

WE CUT TO the hands stringing a VIOLIN. It's not a highend piece, but it is quite nice.

WE CUT TO a wide shot of the study. Sitting in a chairwith violin in hand is SOLOMON NORTHUP; a man in his latetwenties. Everything about Solomon, his mien and manner,

is distinguished. But he, too, seems a hardy individual.

Someone who has known manual labor in his time.

Solomon begins to lightly play his violin, as if testingthe strings, their tuning. Satisfied, Solomon begins toplay vigorously. As he does, we make a HARD CUT TO:

2 INT. HOUSE/LIVING ROOM - EVENING 2

We come in on a lively affair. A dinner party is beingthrown within the confines of a fairly stately house. In

attendance are EIGHT COUPLES. All are WHITE and all are

FAIRLY YOUNG, in their early twenties. The men and women

are dressed in very fine attire. We should get the sensethat for the most part they are people of means.

The furniture has been set aside in the living room. At

the moment the couples are engaged in the dancing of aREEL.

The music they are dancing to is being played by Solomon,

having cut directly from the tune he was previouslyplaying. He plays with a light determination, and in noway seems possessed with empty servitude.

Solomon concludes the reel, and the dancers break intoenthusiastic applause, which is followed by personalthanks and congratulations from all. It should be clear

that despite their respective races there is muchadmiration and appreciation for Solomon's abilities.

3 INT. NORTHUP HOUSE/BEDROOM - MORNING 3

It is a Saturday morning. Clad in her finest attire is

ANNE; Solomon's wife, a few years younger than he. We

see also the Northup children: MARGARET who is eight, andALONZO who is five. They are handsome, and well groomedkids. Anne straightens up the children. She finishes,

(CONTINUED)

1/24/13 FINAL SHOOTING SCRIPT 2.

3 CONTINUED:
3 3 CONTINUED: 3

she rises up and stands behind them, almost as ifpreparing to pose for a portrait.

They all wait a moment, then Solomon enters the foyer.

He stands and looks admiringly at his family. ADMIRINGLY

stressed. It isn't that he doesn't have love for them,

he does as well. But in the moment, he truly admires hisgreatest accomplishment: a family that is healthy andwell and provided for. He goes to his children, andhands each a coin, then goes to Anne. Gives her a kiss

on the cheek. The children giggle at the sight.

4 EXT. STREET -DAY 4

Solomon and his family are out walking along the streetsand groves of Saratoga.

The streets are well populated this morning with manypeople out strolling. Most are WHITE, but there areBLACKS as well. They are FREED BLACKS who mingle fairlyeasily - though not always completely - with the whites.

We see, too, a few BLACK SLAVES who travel with theirWHITE MASTERS. These pairings are largely from the southand - despite the fact the blacks are slaves - they arenot physically downtrodden, not field hands. They arewell dressed and "leading apparently an easy life" -

comparatively speaking - as they trail their masters.

As they walk, Solomon and his family arrive to anintersection well-worn and muddied from horse and cart

traffic. Solomon and his children easily jump across themuck. Anne stands at the lip of the puddle, calls forSolomon to help her across.

ANNE:

Solomon...

Solomon, turning back to his wife with a broad smilewaving her forward:

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John Ridley

John Ridley IV (born October 1965) is an American screenwriter, film director, novelist, and showrunner, known for 12 Years a Slave, for which he won an Academy Award in 2013 for Best Adapted Screenplay. more…

All John Ridley scripts | John Ridley Books

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"12 Years a Slave Movie Script" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 23 Feb. 2017. <http://www.scripts.comscript/47>.

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