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Buzz for 12 Years a Slave Increases

Director Steve McQueen with Michael Fassbender

12 Years a Slave continued its audience momentum with an enthusiastic launch Friday at the Toronto Fest, following its big buzz at Telluride.

Hundreds of fans, five deep, lined up behind the barricades on King Street in front of the Princess of Wales Theater, all with their cell-phone cameras ready. The big lure was no doubt Brad Pitt, though Michael Fassbender got a big round of huzzahs when he appeared. Director Steve McQueen (pictured above with Michael Fassbender) got prolonged applause when he came onstage, even before the film started.

Also brought onstage were producers Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner (all of Plan B) and Anthony Katagas, scripter John Ridley, composer Hans Zimmer, and actors Chiwetel Ejiofor, Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch (the three thesps garnering the most pre-screening applause), Lupita Nyong’o, Alfre Woodard, Paul Dano (with a cane), Paul Giamatti and Sarah Paulson.

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