Home Entertainment Cinema Why Chiwetel Ejiofor almost passed up 12 Years A Slave

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    What you need to know about 12 Years A Slave star Chiwetel Ejiofor and why he almost passed up the project

    CRITICSA�A� and co-stars A�alike laud British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor as an a�?actora��s actor.a�? A theatre artiste, who made a name for Critics and 030_DF-05172-Chiwetel-Ejiofco-stars alike laud British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor as an a�?actor’s actora�?. A theatre artiste, who made a name for himself playing the lead in Bloomsbury Theatrea��s Othello in 1995, Ejiofor made his television debut with the film Deadly Voyage. He then moved to the big screen with Steven Spielberga��s Amistad. The 36-year-old is now part of Hollywooda��s A-list after his Oscar-nominated performance in 12 Years A Slavea��where he plays Solomon Northup, a free man and an avid violinist, who is kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841 Louisiana. a�?Ita��s been the most extraordinary experience as an actor and probably as a person. To be in such close contact with Solomon Northup and his journey has been a remarkable experience. I was so moved to meet his descendents when they came to see the film,a�? he says.

    Challenges ahead
    Ejiofor says he will always be grateful for the role. a�?It was complex and there were a lot of elements to it. But more than being difficult, it was a privilege.a�? Talking about the buzz that the movie has been generating, he says, the warmth and the reception has been amazing. a�?a�?But still, there is that funny thing about hype that makes your instincts say, a�?I dona��t want people to pay that much attention to it.a�� I would say to anybody watching it, just make up your own mind about it. I think ita��s all about a kind of balance. Ita��s great that the film is receiving the attention that ita��s receiving. But at the same time,the heartbeat is a bit quieter and meditativea��ita��s about a mana��s journey through this incredible time, so in way, ita��s a double-edged thing,a�? he says.

    Reality hurts
    Ejiofor admits that playing a character that existed in real life gave him pause, initially. a�?There was a 24-hour period where I wasna��t really sure because I thought it was a huge responsibility to get involved with,a�? says Ejiofor. a�?I didna��t know if I was up to it, there were all these voices in my head. But then, youa��ve just got to squeeze the life out of these voices, or at least try to shrink them. I managed to do that and said, a�?I want to be in it.a�� From that point on, (director) Steve (McQueen) and I were just 100 per cent off to the races.a�? And though the movie focuses on slavery, Ejiofor tells us how it also has an international appeal. a�?By definition, therea��s an international element even to American slavery, because the slaves werena��t from America. I learned about (slavery) in terms of Africa, West Indies, Britain, and America. So I always had that in my head. Even though 97 per cent of the people involved in this movie are Americans, there is an element of something international about it,a�? he says

    12 Years A Slave has had a great impact on viewers. And, Ejiofor admits, on him too. a�?When I first read the script and then the book, I found it devastating. It was heartbreaking to look behind the curtain of that period in history. This story really does put you in Solomona��s mindset, so that you start to understand what he was going through and what he was witnessing. I really began to feel what this kind of emotional journey would mean to someone. After that, it was impossible to lose it. It penetrated me to the point that I still feel it. Ita��s quite a thing.a�?

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