New Station
Free On Mobile Free On Mobile Available now for
iPhone, iPad & Android
“Refreshingly simple
online radio” - CNET
“I'm in love with Jango” - USA Today
“Makes it fun to
discover new music” - Wall Street Journal
“Straight forward and
easy to navigate” - PCWorld

Chiwetelu Umeadi "Chiwetel" Ejiofor,OBE (pronounced /ˈtʃuːwɨtɛl ˈɛdʒi.oʊfɔr/ CHEW-i-tel EJ-i-oh-for; born 10 July 1977) is a British actor of stage and screen. He has received numerous acting awards and award nominations, including the 2006 BAFTA Awards Rising Star, three Golden Globe Awards' nominations, and the 2008 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor for his performance in Othello.

Early years

Ejiofor was born in London's Forest Gate, to Nigerian parents who belonged to the Igbo ethnic group. His father, Arinze, was a doctor, and his mother, Obiajulu, was a pharmacist. In 1988, when Ejiofor was 11, tragedy occurred during a family trip to Nigeria for a wedding. After the celebrations, his father and Ejiofor were driving to Lagos, when their car was involved in a head-on crash with a lorry. His father was killed, but Ejiofor survived despite being badly injured, receiving the trademark scars on his forehead. Ejiofor began acting in school plays at the age of thirteen at Dulwich College and joined the National Youth Theatre. He played the title role in Othello at the Bloomsbury Theatre in September 1995, and again at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow in 1996 when he starred opposite Rachael Stirling, who played Desdemona.

Career

Ejiofor made his film debut in the television movie Deadly Voyage in 1996. He went on to become a prominent stage actor in London. In Steven Spielberg's Amistad, he gave memorable support to Djimon Hounsou's Cinque as interpreter Ens. James Covey. In 1999, he appeared in the British film G:MT. In 2000, he starred in Blue/Orange at the Royal National Theatre (Cottesloe stage), and later at the Duchess Theatre. That same year, his performance as Romeo in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet was nominated for the Ian Charleson Award. Ejiofor was awarded the Jack Tinker Award for Most Promising Newcomer at the 2000 Critics' Circle Theatre Awards. For his performance in Blue/Orange, he received the 2000 London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Outstanding Newcomer and a 2001 nomination for the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award Best Supporting Actor.

Ejiofor had his first leading film role in the 2002's Dirty Pretty Things, for which he won a British Independent Film Award for best actor. In the following year, he was part of the ensemble cast of Love Actually, starred in a BBC adaptation of Chaucer's The Knight's Tale and also starred in the BBC series Trust. He starred alongside Hilary Swank in 2004's Red Dust, portraying the fictional politician Alex Mpondo of post-apartheid South Africa. He played the central part of Prince Alamayou in Peter Spafford's radio play I Was a Stranger, broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on 17 May 2004, and he played the god Dionysus, alongside Paul Scofield's Cadmus and Diana Rigg's Agave, in Andrew Rissik's play, Dionysus, based upon Euripides' Bacchae, also broadcast by the BBC. He also received acclaim for his performance as a complex antagonist The Operative in the 2005 movie Serenity. Ejiofor played a revolutionary in the highly acclaimed 2006 film Children of Men. His singing and acting performance in Kinky Boots received Golden Globe and British Independent Film Award nominations. He was also nominated for the 2006 BAFTA Rising Star Award, which recognises emerging British film talent. Ejiofor's performance in Tsunami: The Aftermath received a 2007 Golden Globe nomination for best actor in a miniseries or film made for TV.

In 2007, he starred opposite Don Cheadle in Talk to Me, a film based on the true story about Ralph "Petey" Greene (played by Cheadle), an African American radio personality in the '60s and '70s. He performed on stage in The Seagull at the Royal Court Theatre from 18 January to 17 March 2007.

Ejiofor is considered one of the leading candidates to play T'Challa in the proposed Black Panther movie based on the Marvel comic books character.

In 2007, he reprised his role as Othello at the Donmar Warehouse, alongside Kelly Reilly as Desdemona, and Ewan McGregor as Iago. The production received favorable reviews, with particularly strong praise for Ejiofor. "Chiwetel Ejiofor produces one of the most memorable performances of Othello in recent years". He was awarded the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor for his performance.

He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2008 Birthday Honours. In the same year, he made his directorial debut in the short film, Slapper, which he also wrote, based on an idea by editor/director Yusuf Pirhasan.

Ejiofor was the lead alongside John Cusack in the 2009 film 2012. The film went on to gross over 700 million dollars, and is among the list of highest-grossing films of all time and placing 5th of top films of 2009.

Filmography

Film:

Year

Film

Role

Notes

1996

Deadly Voyage

Ebow

1997

Amistad

Ens. James Covey

1999

G:MT - Greenwich Mean Time

Rix

2002

Dirty Pretty Things

Okwe

American Black Film Festival Award for Best Performance by an Actor, Black Reel Award for Best Actor, British Independent Film Award for Best Actor, Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Actor, San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor,

Nominated -- British Independent Film Award for Best Newcomer,

Nominated -- Chicago Film Critics Association for Most Promising Performer,

Nominated -- European Film Award for Best Actor,

Nominated -- London Film Critics' Circle Award for British Actor of the Year,

Nominated -- Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Breakthrough Performance,

Nominated -- Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor

2003

Twelfth Night, or What You Will

Orsino

TV movie

Love Actually

Peter

Storyline: Juliette, Peter and Mark,

Nominated -- Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards Best Ensemble Acting

2004

She Hate Me

Frank Wills

Red Dust

Alex Mpondo

Melinda and Melinda

Ellis

2005

Four Brothers

Victor Sweet

Nominated -- Black Reel Award for Best Ensemble

Serenity

The Operative

Nominated -- Black Reel Award for Best Supporting Actor

Slow Burn

Ty Trippin

Kinky Boots

Lola

Nominated -- Black Reel Award for Best Supporting Actor,

Nominated -- Black Movie Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role,

Nominated -- British Independent Film Award for Best Actor,

Nominated -- Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy,

2006

Inside Man

Detective Bill Mitchell

Children of Men

Luke

Nominated -- Black Reel Award for Best Supporting Actor

Tsunami: The Aftermath

Ian Carter

TV mini-series,

Nominated -- Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Miniseries or Television Film,

Nominated -- Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Mini-Series, TV Film or Dramatic Special,

2007

Talk to Me

Dewey Hughes

Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male, African-American Film Critics Association- for Best Supporting Actor,

Nominated -- Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture

American Gangster

Huey Lucas

Nominated -- Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

2008

Redbelt

Mike Terry

Nominated -- Black Reel Award for Best Actor

Slapper

Short film, writer/director

2009

Endgame

Thabo Mbeki

Nominated -- Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Miniseries or Television Film

2012

Adrian Helmsley

Nominated -- Black Reel Award for Best Supporting Actor,

Nominated -- Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture

2010

Salt

Peabody

Tonight at Noon

Lee/Evans

2011

The Shadow Line

Jonah Gabriel

TV series

2012

Twelve Years A Slave

Solomon Northrup

Theatre:

Year

Work

Role

Awards and nominations

1997

Macbeth

Malcolm

1999

Sparkleshark

2000

Blue/Orange

Chris

Jack Tinker Award for Most Promising Newcomer, 2000 Critics' Circle Theatre Awards,

Outstanding Newcomer, 2000 London Evening Standard Theatre Award,

Nominated -- Best Supporting Actor, 2001 Laurence Olivier Award

Romeo and Juliet

Romeo

Nominated -- Ian Charleson Award

Peer Gynt

Young Peer

2002

The Vortex

Nicky Lancaster

2007

The Seagull

Boris Alexeyevich Trigorin

Othello

Othello

2008 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor


loading...