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EXCLUSIVE: Lupita Nyong'o on '12 Years a Slave,' Giving Her Character Justice

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Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong'o attend the 12 Years A Slave premiere during the 51st New York Film Festival at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City.
Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong'o attend the 12 Years A Slave premiere during the 51st New York Film Festival at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City.
Photo Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong'o's portrayal of a young enslaved woman named Patsey in the film 12 Years a Slave is already garnering her buzz as the breakthrough actress of the year. New York Magazine called hers "the most arresting acting debut in recent memory."

In our sit-down with Nyong'o she described a very personal connection to Patsey. "She's an incredible woman and she undergoes and withstands a lot of pain and I was awestruck by her.

"I wanted to that character justice and represent her with dignity and agency as best as I could and I hope I do that," said Nyong'o holding back her tears.

Watch above as Alfre Woodard comforts Nyong'o without even saying a word—don't you just love that about their connection?

12 Years a Slave opens nationwide in theaters next Friday, October 18.

Reporting by Cori Murray