Where to Look for Chiwetel Ejiofor: From 'Amistad' to 'Locked Down'
(Photo: Getty Images)
We've been chatting about the new movie Locked Down, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor in the lead, opposite Anne Hathaway. We don't just talk the talk, we walk the walk... and after watching the romantic comedy, we have a new screen crush on Ejiofor.
While he's been on our radar for a while, we're now seeing him in a new light, with his Locked Down character being that of a regular bloke.
Let's go back and have a catch-up with this fine actor, rounding up some of his standout roles:
1997's biopic Amistad tells the true story of slaves aboard a Spanish-owned ship, who revolt and fight for their freedom in the U.S. Matthew McConaughey takes on the role of Roger Sherman Baldwin, the lawyer who stepped in to defend the captured Africans. We saw Ejiofor as James Covey, a former slave who speaks both English and Mende, helping the defendants tell their story of struggle.
2. Dirty Pretty Things
In 2002, Ejiofor took the lead in Dirty Pretty Things, opposite French actress Audrey Tatau. He stars as a hotel worker named Okwe, who is working in London illegally. He lives in fear of being found out and eventually deported. When Okwe learns of some misdoings at the hotel, he uses this to his advantage.
3. Love Actually
2003's Love Actually is the movie that keeps on giving. And, who could forget the iconic scene when Mark (Andrew Lincoln) professes his love to Juliet (Keira Knightley) via cue cards? Certainly not Ejiofor! His character was married to Juliet at the time of this passive betrayal. In the above video, Ejiofor is asked how he feels about it. We'll give you a hint... not good.
4. Kinky Boots
The Broadway hit Kinky Boots was made into a movie in 2005. It follows a young man (Joel Edgerton) who inherits his father's shoe making factory, but he doesn't really know what to do with it. That's where Ejiofor steps in as Lola. Lola is a drag queen/cabaret performer and knows footwear. Lola helps the young man design high-heeled boots that can't be found anywhere else, and helps to save the business. Hoorah!
5. Children of Men
In the 2006 sci-fi film Children of Men, the women in the story can no longer give birth. This is quite the conundrum, with the fate of the world depending on reproduction. When it turns out there is one woman who is pregnant, she becomes very valuable. Clive Owen plays a man named Theo, who agrees to help her flee, in hopes of finding safety. Ejiofor takes on the role of Luke, their getaway driver.
6. The Shadow Line
In 2011, Ejiofor took on the lead role in the mystery series The Shadow Line. We saw him as Detective Inspector Jonah Gabriel. The series revolves around a murder that is being investigated by both the authorities and the criminals. You can also look for Doctor Who star Christopher Eccleston as Joseph Bede, who is on the other side of the law.
7. 12 Years a Slave
In 2013, Ejiofor tackled the harrowing story of Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave. Northup was a free man, living in Upstate New York in 1841. When visiting D.C. he was kidnapped and sold into slavery. He was held captive and forced to work on plantations, facing severe adversities, before regaining his freedom. You can look for other Anglo favorites like Michael Fassbender and Benedict Cumberbatch.
8. Doctor Strange
Speaking of Busy Benedict, Ejiofor reunited with him for the Marvel movie Doctor Strange. Cumberbatch takes on the title role, Dr. Stephen Strange, a neurosurgeon who loses his ability to operate following a car accident. He goes in search of answers and develops supernatural abilities. Ejiofor takes on the role of Mordo, a sorcerer who helps Strange on his quest.
9. The Old Guard
We just saw Ejiofor in last year's The Old Guard, starring opposite Charlize Theron. The movie revolves around a group of immortal mercenaries, who use their abilities to make money. As a way to protect their secret, they never work for the same employer twice. But, they make an exception for Ejiofor's character, former CIA agent James Copley. The question is... can he be trusted?
10. Locked Down
Ejiofor can currently be found in the very relatable Locked Down. He takes on the role of a man named Paxton, who is furloughed from his job as a driver because of the pandemic. When he's given an opportunity to prove himself and possibly advance to an office job, he takes it. His wife Linda (Hathaway) sees even more opportunity, coming up with a scheme to steal a three million dollar diamond.
Who wants to have a Chiwetel marathon!? Please raise your hand...