Chiwetel Ejiofor is set to star as slave Solomon Northup in a film adaptation of his autobiography Twelve Years A Slave.
British actor Chiwetel - who has won an Olivier award for his portrayal of Othello and whose film roles include Inside Man and American Gangster - will apparently play the married and educated free black man, who lived in New York in the 1800s until he was kidnapped and taken into slavery.
Steve McQueen, who co-wrote and directed the award-winning Hunger, is to direct the film and has co-written the screenplay with Three Kings script writer John Ridley, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Brad Pitt - whose partner Angelina Jolie starred with Chiwetel in Salt - and his company Plan B are to produce the film.
Solomon was living in New York when two men approached him with a job offer in Washington. When he arrived there he was kidnapped and sold as a slave, living under numerous owners until a white carpenter from Canada, who didn't believe in slavery, helped smuggle letters to his wife, initiating a court case that freed him.
He published his autobiography in 1853.