Although classically trained as a Shakespearean actor in the UK, his first film role was in Spielberg's 1997 Amistad. Since then he's also been seen in Dirty Pretty Things, She Hate Me, Four Brothers and Melinda and Melinda. He had four major film roles in 2005, and so far this year he's been in both Inside Man and Children of Men, which isn't too shabby. He has four big projects lined up in 2007, including two that pair him with Don Cheadle, and he can be seen in HBO's Tsunami: The Aftermath on Sunday, December 10.
Chiwetel ("Chewie," to his friends and Han Solo) is one of those actors who can be difficult to describe. He really has a commanding screen presence, but he doesn't have the forced "I'm the star!" quality of someone like Russell Crowe. He's more quiet and imposing without chewing up the scenery. He's played both a a cross-dressing drag queen (is that redundant? Like, a drag queen who dresses like a man? I think I just confused myself) and an interstellar bounty hunter in equally convincing and different manners. It's hard to be the Scene Stealer when you're not someone who tries to completely fill the screen with your presence, like Alan Rickman and Parker Posey do pretty well, but Chiwetel (I know that sounds like I'm on a first-name basis with the guy, but it sounded better than typing Ejiofor over and over) pulls it off in every role he's been in so far. Here's hoping he'll keep his streak running.
Besides, when's the last time we've been rooting for someone named Chewie that wasn't covered in fur?