Chiwetel Ejiofor Biography |
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor Biography

    Born: July 10, 1977 in Forest Gate, , United Kingdom

    This next year is set to be a very exciting one for Chiwetel Ejiofor.  Well versed on stage, television and film, Ejiofor will be seen this July in Joe Wright’s production for The Young Vic, A Season in the Congo about the rise and fall of legendary leader Patrice Lumumba.

    Ejiofor recently finished filming Half of a Yellow Sun based on the highly acclaimed novel of the same title. Both moving and horrifying, the drama concentrates on the varying effects the Biafran War has on the lives of four people; the film also stars Thandie Newton and Joseph Mawle. 

    Ejiofor has also just been announced to star in Z for Zachariah alongside Chris Pine and Amanda Seyfried. The film which is about a nuclear war in a small American town is to be directed by Craig Zobel (Compliance) and will begin shooting in the autumn.

    Earlier this year, Ejiofor received great reviews for his starring turn in “Dancing on the Edge,” Stephen Poliakoff’s series for the BBC co-starring Matthew Goode.

    In 2011 television audiences saw him in the award winning “The Shadow Line,” a thrilling drama for the BBC in which he played lead character ‘Jonah Gabriel’ alongside a superb cast including Christopher Eccleston, Lesley Sharp and Rafe Spall. 

    Ejiofor has also appeared in a number of films including Salt, alongside Angelina Jolie and Liev Schreiber and in 2009 he starred in Roland Emmerich’s action feature, 2012 opposite John Cusack, Danny Glover and Thandie Newton.  The same year his performance in “Endgame,” Channel 4’s moving drama set in South Africa, earned him a Golden Globe® nomination for the ‘best performance by an actor in a mini-series or a motion picture made for television.’ 

    Ejiofor balances his film and television commitments with his theatre work and in 2008 he was seen in three very different roles; his performance in the title role of Michael Grandage’s Othello at the Donmar Warehouse alongside Kelly Reilly and Ewan McGregor was unanimously commended, and won him the 2008 Olivier Award for ‘Best Actor’, the Evening Standard Theatre Award for ‘Best Actor’, as well as nominations for the South Bank Show Awards 2009 and the What’s On Stage Theatregoers’ Choice Awards.  His other stage credits include Roger Michell’s Blue/Orange in 2000 which received an Olivier Award for Best Play, and the same year Tim Supple’s Romeo and Juliet in which Ejiofor took the title role.

    Following his television debut in 1996 in “Deadly Voyage,” Ejiofor has been seen in numerous television productions including “Murder in Mind,” created by the award winning writer Anthony Horowitz, “Trust,” “Twelfth Night, or What you Will,” and “The Canterbury Tales - The Knight’s Tale.” His television performance in 2006’s hard hitting emotional drama “Tsunami: The Aftermath” alongside Toni Collette, Sophie Okonedo and Tim Roth earned him a nomination for a Golden Globe Award as well as an NAACP Image® award.

    In 1996, Chiwetel caught the attention of Stephen Spielberg who cast him in the critically acclaimed Amistad, starring alongside Morgan Freeman and Anthony Hopkins. He returned to the big screen in Stephen Frears’ 2001 thriller Dirty Pretty Things for which his performance as ‘Okwe’ won him the ‘Best Actor’ Award at the British Independent Film Awards, the Evening Standard Film Awards, and the San Diego Film Critics Society Awards.  In 2003, he co-starred in three films: Richard Curtis’ Love Actually, Slow Burn and Woody Allen’s Melinda and Melinda.  2008 saw Ejiofor star in Ridley Scott’s American Gangster, opposite Don Cheadle in Talk to Me, and in David Mamet’s Redbelt.  Chiwetel’s other film credits include Kinky Boots in which he played the loveable drag queen ‘Lola’; the urban drama Four Brothers alongside Mark Whalberg; Spike Lee’s heist film Inside Man alongside Clive Owen, Jodie Foster and Denzel Washington; and the Oscar® nominated Children of Men, again alongside Clive Owen.

    In addition to his acting career, Ejiofor has also directed the short film Slapper which was screened at the 2008 Edinburgh Film Festival.

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