Steve McQueen: Turner Prize Winning Filmmaker Set To Direct Paul Robeson Biopic

Turner Prize-winning artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen’s next big project will be to direct a biopic on American actor, singer, and activist Paul Robeson, reports the Guardian.

“His life and legacy was the film I wanted to make the second after Hunger,” McQueen said, referring to his first film, about IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands. “But I didn’t have the power, I didn’t have the juice,” the artist/filmmaker added. Harry Belafonte is said to be involved in the project, although his role has not been specified. It is yet to be confirmed who will play the part of Robeson.

Robeson was the son of a runaway slave, who protested racism and injustice, his actions lead to being blacklisted during the McCarthy era, when he was branded a Communist. The government at one point declined to grant him a passport. The artist/filmmaker brought home an Oscar in 2013 for his 12 Years a Slave, about Solomon Northup, a free black man kidnapped and sold into slavery. The acclaimed film Starred Chiwetel Ejiofor,and was based on Northup’s memoir.

McQueen exhibits with Marian Goodman Gallery in New York. The artist/filmmaker’s previous works have often been video projects.The artist/filmmaker has received the Turner Prize, the highest award given to a British visual artist. In 2006 he produced Queen and Country, which commemorated the deaths of British soldiers in Iraq by presenting their portraits as a sheet of stamps. For services to the visual arts, McQueen was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2011.

The artist/filmmaker’s second film, Shame, starred Michael Fassbender as a sex addict. Fassbender also starred in Hunger. McQueen was speaking at the Hidden Heroes awards, which are put on in New York by the Andrew Goodman Foundation, which memorialises a civil rights activist murdered in Mississippi in 1964 by the Ku Klux Klan.


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