Steve McQueen to follow 12 Years A Slave with Paul Robeson biopic
Oscar winning director Steve McQueen is to follow his hugely successful and critically acclaimed movie 12 Years A Slave with a new biopic on iconic singer Paul Robeson.
According to The Guardian, McQueen was speaking on stage in New York at the Hidden Heroes awards, organised by the Andrew Goodman Foundation, and announced his next project, which he described as his "dream project."
Robeson was an American Football player who became a high-profile singer and actor in later life. He enjoyed great success, but his public support for pro-Soviet policies in the 1950s saw him persecuted by the US government and eventually led to him being stripped of his passport.
Asked what he would be doing next, the director said of his Robeson biopic: "His life and legacy was the film I wanted to make the second after Hunger. But I didn’t have the power, I didn’t have the juice.”
McQueen revealed he had discovered Robeson as a 14-year old and has been fascinated by him ever since, telling the crowd: "It was about this black guy who was in Wales and was singing with these miners, I was about 14 years old, and not knowing who Paul Robeson was, this black American in Wales, it seemed strange. So then, of course, I just found out that this man was an incredible human being.”
McQueen also confirmed that Caribbean-American singer Harry Belafonte would have a role, adding: "We (he and Belafonte) get on like a house on fire, I never thought I’d make a new friend, and a man who is 87 years old but I’m very happy, he’s a beautiful man. We’re very fortunate that we’re on a roll together to make this dream a reality. Miracles do happen. With Paul Robeson and Harry Belafonte, things have come full circle."