Chiwetel Ejiofor: the great British hope

In 1997 Steven Spielberg selected him to be part of the cast of Friendship And, as on other occasions, the American director was not wrong with the choice. At that time Chiwetel Ejiofor was barely 20 years old and totally unknown in the world of cinema. Friendship It was his coming-out, the kick-off to a film career that has not stopped growing.

To date, Chiwetel Ejiofor has participated as an actor in more than 50 films, some of them directed by such prestigious directors as Woody Allen in Melinda and melinda; Spike Lee and Hidden plan; Alfonso CuarĂ³n in Sons of men o Ridley Scott en American Gangster. Furthermore, in 2019 Chiwetel Ejiofor made his directorial debut with The boy who tamed the wind, a film that took place in Nigeria, the homeland of his parents.

This Saturday, TCM viewers will be able to get to know this 44-year-old British interpreter better thanks to a new installment of A life in pictures, the talk show produced by the British Academy of Film and Television (BAFTA). In the conversation that the actor has with the film critic Jason Solomons, his life, his career and his projects for the future are reviewed.

Ejiofor is preparing his second job as a director. A day that will culminate with the broadcast of 12 years of slavery, the film directed by Steve McQueen and for which Chiwetel Ejiofor won an Oscar nomination in 2014, definitively establishing him as one of the emerging stars of this first quarter of the 21st century. “My first instinct was to doubt myself,” he confesses in the interview. Am I the person who can tell this story? He wondered.

The interpreter studied in depth the memories of his character, Solomon Northup, before giving the final yes. A role for which, in addition to the Hollywood Academy nomination, he won the BAFTA for best actor.

Chiwetel Ejiofor was born in London on July 10, 1977. He is the son of a Nigerian doctor and pharmacist. From the age of 13 he became interested in the world of acting, participating in numerous plays at the National Youth Theater and finally obtaining a scholarship to complete his studies at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts.

From his first stage as a film actor, he especially remembers the thriller Hidden business by Stephen Frears because he turned some aspects of his own father, who had recently passed away, into his role. We also saw him in Love Actually playing Keira Knightley’s husband.

Throughout the conversation that viewers will be able to attend, he talks about his responsibility as a filmmaker, both in front of and behind the cameras. “One of the things that worries me the most is developing my career as a screenwriter, director and producer, thus giving opportunities to a new generation of actors.”

He also wants the British film industry to consolidate and grow, and that new talents emerging in the UK will not necessarily have to emigrate to Hollywood in search of professional development.

For now, he is preparing his second film as a director, entitled Rob Peace, and he has yet to release a couple more films as an actor: the drama Tonight at Noon and the second installment of Doctor Strange: The Multiverse of Insanity, Directed by Sam Raimi.