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British star Chiwetel Ejiofor has defended the violent scenes in his new film 12 Years a Slave, which had its UK screening at the BFI London Film Festival.

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Chiwetel Ejiofor 'kept things real' in 12 Years a Slave

Chiwetel Ejiofor is the star of 12 Years a Slave which is out in January. Credit: Ian West/PA Wire

12 Years a Slave star Chiwetel Ejiofor has revealed he had no reservations about the harrowing scenes in the film, directed by Steve McQueen.

The British actor,36, plays Solomon Northup, a free black man who was kidnapped, tortured and sold into slavery in 1841.

"There was no other way to tell the story. I have to just slip down the rabbit hole and see what happens," he said ahead of the film's UK screening at the BFI London Film Festival.

Ejiofor continued: "I was aware of Steve and his films so I knew those places you'd have to go to and that's what I wanted - to tell the story. You can't tell a story about slavery without showing those scenes."

Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong'o and Steve McQueen on the red carpet at the Odeon West End cinema. Credit: Ian West/PA Wire
Model and actress Lily Cole also turned up the screening last night. Credit: Ian West/PA Wire
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