"Poster-Gate" continues to plague Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave as the heart-wrenching awards contender expands internationally.
The latest development? Lupita Nyong’o, fantastic in the part of put-upon slave Patsey, "bowed out" of the Italian screening of Slave at the 18th Annual Capri Hollywood film festival, according to Variety.
UPDATE: Nyong'o's reps tell THR that the actress made the decision not to attend the film fest two weeks ago. "Due to other commitments that prevented her from going, [Nyong'o's] reps let [the Capri festival] know over two weeks ago that she could no longer go," a spokeswoman for Lionsgate, whose subsidiary Summit is the film's sales agent, said. They claim it had nothing to do with the controversial posters.
From Earlier: It’s very possible you missed the story, as it occurred over the Christmas holiday in the States. But unauthorized posters for McQueen’s movie were photographed in Italy and shared via social media, creating exactly the type of firestorm you might imagine. I’m not saying Brad Pitt isn’t a handsome man deserving of poster placement. Given the fact that he has roughly five minutes of screen time in Slave, though, and is a major producer on the film leads you to realize why this poster is more than a little offensive to the actual stars of the movie.
Oh, don’t worry. The one that actually bothered to put a Slave star front and center made sure it went with the white guy, Michael Fassbender, as well.
BIM Distribuzione, the company that created the posters quickly issued an apology, stating:
"We apologize for creating and releasing unauthorized posters for 12 Years a Slave in Italy featuring Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender in a manner inconsistent with approved advertising materials. All inappropriate materials have now been withdrawn. We are very proud of the film and regret any distraction this incident may have caused."
Nyong’o’s decision not to appear at the film’s premiere counts as the first distraction. More certainly could follow. Of course, all of this publicity brings attention to the film, which ultimately should be a win for McQueen’s masterpiece (which ranked No. 2 on year-end lists composed by myself and Kristy Puchko, so yes, we are major fans here at CB). The film is collecting award nominations from the Screen Actors Guild, The Hollywood Foreign Press and the Broadcast Film Critics Association. Oscar should follow suite. And when the FYC ads hit the trades, you can bet the amazing Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nyong’o AND Fassbender will all be front and center