"12 Years a Slave" was premiered at the 18th annual Capri, Hollywood Film Festival that kicked off in the country on Friday, December 27 without any of its big stars in attendance, following controversy surrounding its posters which focused on its white supporting actors rather than the black main star. Lupita Nyong'o was originally expected to attend, but she was a no-show.
But a spokeswoman for Lionsgate, whose subsidiary Summit is the film's sales agent, tells The Hollywood Reporter that Nyong'o's absence had nothing to do with the controversy. "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," the rep said.
The movie release in Italy was marred with posters that downplayed its leading male Chiwetel Ejiofor and highlighted Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender instead. Summit has since cleared up the issue, saying that the posters were unauthorized and had been withdrawn from circulation. Italy's BIM Distribuzione also apologized for the mishap.
"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 All inappropriate materials have now been withdrawn," the movie distributor stated. "We are very proud of the film and regret any distraction this incident may have caused."