TODAY

TODAY   |  October 09, 2013

Alfre Woodard praises ‘master’ filmmaker

The Oscar-nominated actress stars in the upcoming movie “12 Years a Slave,” a first-hand slavery account directed by Steve McQueen. Woodard discusses how she was sold on the film before she even glanced at the script.

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>>> it's already the talk of hollywood, generating huge, huge oscar buzz. it's not even out yet. we're talking about the new film 12 years of slaves.

>> oscar and emmy nominated alfre woodard , offering words of wisdom to other slaves. take a look.

>> in his own time, manage them all. pharoahs are a poor scamp for a plantation class. this is nice.

>> wow!

>> i love watching you work. you're one of the most beautiful faces anyway, but when you are acting, i am -- i don't see anybody else on the screen.

>> uh-huh.

>> you have one of the most expressive faces i've ever seen. you're darn good, girl.

>> yes, you are.

>> you pick movies always that are winners. and this one was in a bunch of film festivals , already getting this buzz. what was it about this film that made you excited about its script?

>> i was told steve mcqueen wanted me to be in his film. i said okay, i'm in it. they said, no, we have to send you the script. i said, no, i'm in it.

>> tell us why you would say i've got to be in a steve mcqueen film.

>> because he is this glorious, black british film maker. he is only about 40 and he lives in the netherlands. he is amazing. i think he is one of those film makers -- they're very rare, but he is a master. masterful film maker. we'll be talking about his films 50 years from now. so i had seen "hunger" that he did before and i had seen "shame."

>> that got a lot of --

>> brilliant. you would go to kabul and pull cable with his steve mcqueen . then i got the script and --

>> the concept is there was a man who was freed back in the 1800s and gets kidnapped and taken into slavery. was that -- i guess a unique circumstance based on a true story ?

>> this man -- actually i met last night. it was a common occurrence. at that certain time when slaves weren't being imported, any black body in the country was fair game . so people got cold in sold into slavery all the time. rarely would they get back into their lives. it would be as if one of us would get snatched -- there are more slaves worldwide than there were in the slave era here.

>> think of yourself getting snatched on your way home out of slavery, away from your family, everything. so that's what's amazing about this story, is that we take that journey with him. we can't really look at distance. when solomon did get back from his hard-won freedom, within four months he published this book, 12 years of slaves. it is a

>>> it is time for education nation today. if you have a choild heading to college, take notes on this one. we're talking about mastering the college application .

>> the essays, extracurricular activities, even social media accounts are all crucial and here to guide you through the dos and do nots is admission counselor katherine owen. great to see you.

>> good morning.

>> let's start with that essay. there's a lot of pressure on those college essays. you want to put your personality in. is there a risk of going overboard and being