'12 Years a Slave' Cast on Making the Film

The director and the stars reveal behind-the-scenes accounts about their efforts to bring Solomon Northup's story to life.

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Brad Pitt; Lupita Nyong'o; Michael Fassbender (Getty Images)

(The Root) -- Michael Fassbender, the actor who plays Master Edwin Epps in 12 Years a Slave, told an audience at the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado that working with film director Steve McQueen is "painful."

"I like to be punished, and Steve likes to punish," Fassbender joked, as he explained how it is every actor's dream to work with a director and ensemble cast that pushes you to the absolute limit. During press junkets, Fassbender described the intimate connection forged between him and his cast mates while on set. They came to be each other's safety net after having gone to the darkest, most harrowing places in the human mind to portray the complex characters that colored Solomon Northup's experiences. Northup, a free black man, was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841 for 12 years. 

The Root culled the most compelling anecdotes dished out on the press circuit by the film's director, producers and cast members about their respective journeys to bring Northup's story to the big screen.

Sarah Paulson (Mistress Epps)