Chiwetel Ejiofor on His Busy Schedule and How You Have to Be “Open to the Experiences Offered to You”

Chiwetel Ejiofor in The Secret in their Eyes

“I’m very happy to see what happens, and the not knowing is what I think makes being an actor exciting.” – Chiwetel Ejiofor

After working for nearly two decades, Chiwetel Ejiofor finally became a household name when he stepped into the role of Solomon Northup in 2013’s 12 Years a Slave. Today the 38-year-old actor will forever have “Oscar nominated” associated with his name, but win or lose – he’s just happy to be staying busy. He recently talked about being blessed with a packed schedule with Vulture’s Kyle Buchanan.

He was in this year’s The Martian and will soon be returning to the screen with his 12 Years’ co-star Benedict Cumberbatch in next year’s highly anticipated Doctor Strange. When asked about his jam packed schedule, one that includes a run in live theater, he said, “It feels great to be involved in so many things that I really love, that are happening around the same time. And it’s really engaging and gratifying to be able to mix up film and theater. I had a terrific summer in London doing Everyman at the Olivier, one of the best experiences that I’ve had, really.”

While a busy man, he admitted that he’s never at ease, “I don’t feel that, particularly. I don’t know if that’s a fault — maybe it is. I feel very engaged with the work I’m doing now, but I don’t feel I need to book myself up for the next four years in order to feel secure. I’m very happy to see what happens, and the not knowing is what I think makes being an actor exciting.”

With that, Ejiofor isn’t one to just take a break just because. When work calls, he answers, “We pushed back briefly on the start date for Secret in Their Eyes, and it allowed me to have a little break at the end of last year where I thought I’d have time off, and then Ridley Scott called and said, ‘Hey, listen, I have this movie.’ So suddenly I could go to Budapest and film The Martian. It’s stuff like that you can’t predict, and you just have to be open to the experiences offered to you — and that particular experience with Ridley was incredible.”

Ejiofor currently stars alongside Julia Roberts in Secret in Their Eyes.

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