Nigerian British actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor was born on 10 July 1977 in Forest Gate, London and snagged his first leading film role in the 2002 British drama film, Dirty Pretty Things. The movie helped Ejiofor bag a British Independent Film Award for best actor.
In an interview where he talked about the movie, The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind, Ejiofor talked a bit about his childhood saying;
Most of my childhood was spent in London, but we visited family a lot. Over a period of years, I understood the dynamics enough to be intrigued by the villages.
We’d spend time in Enugu, but I was aware of the rich cultural spaces the villages represented, this real complex and nuanced space where generations of families lived. You’re trying to keep up with everyone, and at some point, you realize that this square mile you’re standing in is all of you, and it’s deeply connected to your sense of place in the world. It’s the wellspring from which all things have happened in your family’s life. I also knew that from an outside perspective it probably looked very simple and impoverished. So there was something about that that resonated, that connected the book to my family and wanting to explore their experience.
And there was also that dynamic between father and son that I immediately hooked into, my relationship to my father and the fact that he hasn’t been with us in 30 years. It’s still an evolving relationship and it still has a strong space in my life. Those were big themes that jumped out from the book.
Here are 10 things you should know about the actor.
1. The actor was born on 10 July 1977 in Forest Gate, London to Nigerian parents of Igbo origin.
2. His father, Arinze Ejiofor was a medical doctor. His mother Obiajulu Ejiofor on her part was a pharmacist while the actor’s younger sister, Zain Asher is a CNN correspondent.
3. His father died in 1988, during a family trip to Nigeria for a wedding. Dr Arinze was driving to Lagos after the celebrations when the car he was driving got into an accident that ended up killing him.
4. Chiwetel began acting in school plays at the age of 14., He attended Dulwich College and later joined the National Youth Theatre.
5. He gained admission into the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art but left after his first year. This was due to being casted in Steven Spielberg’s film, Amistad.
6. Chiwetel made his film debut in the 1996 television film titled “Deadly Voyage”.
7. He snagged the Jack Tinker Award for Most Promising Newcomer at the Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards in 2000.
8. His first lead film role was in the 2002 British drama film, Dirty Pretty Things, the movie helped him snag a British Independent Film Award for best actor.
9. Chiwetel Ejiofor was appointed Commander of the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth in the 2015 Birthday Honours.
10. He acted in the 2013 Nigerian historical fiction drama film, Half a Yellow Sun alongside Thandie Newton.
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