"12 Years a Slave"

Chiwetel Ejiofor, center, in "12 Years a Slave." (Francois Duhamel / Fox Searchlight)

"I don't want to survive," Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) says in "12 Years a Slave," the new film from British director Steve McQueen. "I want to live."

Based on a true story of a free man who is abducted from the North and sold into slavery in the South, the Fox Searchlight film costars Michael Fassbender, the lead in both McQueen's "Hunger" and "Shame," as a sadistic slave owner as comfortable quoting Scripture as brandishing a whip.

The trailer makes it clear that this is a far bleaker -- and more realistic -- tale than "Django Unchained."

Opening Oct. 18, "12 Years a Slave" is an unusually British interpretation of slavery.

In additon to being directed by the London-born McQueen, many of the film's lead actors -- Ejiofor, Fassbender and Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays another slave owner -- hail from the United Kingdom.

The film was produced by Brad Pitt, who also has a small role in "12 Years a Slave."

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