For the upcoming foreign release of 12 Years a Slave, some Italian theaters appear to be using posters predominantly featuring the film's white male stars, Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender, instead of the black actors who are the actual leads. BuzzFeed tracked down the Flickr account of Fanatical About Cinema s.r.l., a local marketing company charged with placing posters on behalf of the film's foreign distributor, BIM Distribuzione. The posters first caught the attention of a Tumblr user visiting one of the theaters, who wrote in response: "I’ve been following the press for months and I can’t wait to watch it but REALLY? I don’t remember Brad Pitt being the protagonist of the film or having such a pivotal role in the story to stay in the middle of the poster … "
While the focus on Pitt and Fassbender wholly misrepresents the film's focus, it likely doesn't misrepresent the Italian distributor's money-minded focus. There's a reason why Pitt originally got involved with getting 12 Years a Slave off the ground in the first place. Back in October, he told Vulture: "I sit in a very fortunate position where I can help push things over the edge with difficult stories, and this was one of those instances. So it’s merely for that, not so much that I was certainly needed performance-wise."