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THE LION KING

BAFTA Award-winning actor CHIWETEL EJIOFOR (voice of Scar) has a breadth of critically acclaimed work across stage and screen.

The beginning of March saw Ejiofor's directorial debut, "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind," on Netflix, which he adapted from the book of the same name, written by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer. Ejiofor also stars in the film, which follows 13- year-old William Kamkwamba (Maxwell Simba), who is thrown out of the school he loves when his family can no longer afford the fees. Sneaking back into the school library, he finds a way, using the bones of the bicycle belonging to his father, Trywell (Ejiofor), to build a windmill, which then saves his village from famine. Joseph Marcell, Aïssa Maïga, Noma Dumezweni and Lemogang Tsipa also star. It has also been announced that Ejiofor will adapt and direct "The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League," based on the bestselling book by Jeff Hobbs. Ejiofor will also reteam with Angelina Jolie in "Maleficent: Mistress of Evil," the sequel to the 2014 film "Maleficent." Elle Fanning and Michelle Pfeiffer also star.

The start of 2018 saw Ejiofor in "Mary Magdalene" alongside Rooney Mara and Joaquin Phoenix. The film is directed by Garth Davis and explores the life of Mary and how she came to be a pivotal figure of Christianity. Ejiofor was also seen in Netflix's "Come Sunday" alongside Lakeith Stanfield, Jason Segel and Martin Sheen. Directed by Joshua Marston, the story concerns evangelist Carlton Pearson (played by Ejiofor), ostracized by his church for preaching that there is no Hell. March of the same year saw Ejiofor lend his voice to "Sherlock Gnomes," alongside Emily Blunt, Johnny Depp, James McAvoy, Dame Maggie Smith and Sir Michael Caine. The story revolves around garden gnomes Gnomeo and Juliet recruiting renowned detective Sherlock Gnomes to investigate the mysterious disappearance of other garden ornaments.

In 2016, Ejiofor was seen in the much-anticipated Marvel film "Doctor Strange." The film saw him take on the role of Baron Mordo opposite Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Mads Mikkelsen and Rachel McAdams, and was directed by Scott Derrickson. Prior to this, Ejiofor was seen in John Hillcoat's crime thriller "Triple 9." He was supported by a stellar cast, including Kate Winslet, Casey Affleck, Gal Gadot, Aaron Paul and Norman Reedus.

Ejiofor was awarded a CBE for services to drama and also starred in a number of films and returned to the stage in "Everyman," Rufus Norris' inaugural play as artistic director of the National Theatre. In 2015, Ejiofor appeared in the award-winning sci-fi drama "The Martian" alongside Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain and Kate Mara. The film was hugely successful at the box office, taking in over $600 million worldwide and receiving seven Oscar nominations. Ejiofor was also seen in Craig Zobel's thriller "Z for Zachariah" alongside Chris Pine and Margot Robbie, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. The story centered on the last three remaining survivors of a nuclear holocaust. Ejiofor starred in another thriller, "Secret in Their Eyes," directed by Billy Ray and co-starring Julia Roberts and Nicole Kidman. The film is adapted from Juan Jose Campanella's Oscar-winning Argentinean film, "El secreto de sus ojos."

Another memorable year for Ejiofor was 2013, which saw him star in Steve McQueen's Oscar-winning "12 Years a Slave." He played the role of Solomon Northup, which gained him Oscar, Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations and won him a best actor BAFTA. Earlier in the year, Ejiofor also starred in "Half of a Yellow Sun." Based on the highly acclaimed novel of the same title, the film also starred Thandie Newton and Joseph Mawle.

In 2013, Ejiofor also starred in Stephen Poliakoff's BBC series "Dancing on the Edge," which gained him a Golden Globe nomination for best actor in a miniseries and an Emmy Award nomination. He also returned to the stage in the Young Vic's adaptation of "A Season in the Congo," directed by Joe Wright. His performance, as Patrice Lumumba, received critical acclaim.

In 2011, television audiences saw him in the award-winning "The Shadow Line," a thrilling drama for the BBC in which he played lead character Jonah Gabriel alongside a superb cast including Christopher Eccleston, Lesley Sharp and Rafe Spall.

Ejiofor also appeared in "Salt" alongside Angelina Jolie and Liev Schreiber, and in 2009 he starred in Roland Emmerich's action feature "2012," opposite John Cusack, Danny Glover and Thandie Newton. The same year, his performance in "Endgame," Channel 4's moving drama set in South Africa, earned him a Golden Globe nomination for the best performance by an actor in a miniseries or a motion picture made for television.

Ejiofor balances his film and television commitments with his theatre work. In 2008, he was seen in three very different roles. His performance in the title role of Michael Grandage's "Othello" at the Donmar Warehouse alongside Kelly Reilly and Ewan McGregor was unanimously commended, and won him the 2008 Olivier Award for best actor, the Evening Standard Theatre Award for best actor, as well as nominations for the South Bank Show Awards 2009 and the What's On Stage Theatregoers' Choice Awards. His other stage credits include Roger Michell's "Blue/Orange" in 2000, which received an Olivier Award for best play, and, in the same year, Tim Supple's "Romeo and Juliet," in which Ejiofor took the title role.

In 1996, Ejiofor caught the attention of Steven Spielberg, who cast him in the critically acclaimed "Amistad," starring alongside Morgan Freeman and Anthony Hopkins. He returned to the big screen in Stephen Frears' 2001 thriller "Dirty Pretty Things," for which his performance as Okwe won him the best actor award at the British Independent Film Awards, the Evening Standard Film Awards and the San Diego Film Critics Society Awards. In 2003, he co-starred in three films: "Slow Burn," Richard Curtis' "Love Actually" and Woody Allen's "Melinda and Melinda." In 2007, Ejiofor starred in Ridley Scott's "American Gangster," and opposite Don Cheadle in "Talk to Me." In 2008, he starred in David Mamet's "Redbelt." Ejiofor's other film credits include "Kinky Boots" (2005), in which he played the lovable drag queen Lola; the urban drama "Four Brothers," alongside Mark Wahlberg; Spike Lee's heist film "Inside Man," alongside Clive Owen, Jodie Foster and Denzel Washington; and the Oscar-nominated "Children of Men," again alongside Owen.

In addition to his acting career, Ejiofor has also directed two short films, including the recent "Columbite Tantalite," which he also wrote, which starred Tom Hughes. The short screened at a number of short film festivals, including the Palm Springs Short Film Festival. His short film "Slapper" was screened at the 2008 Edinburgh Film Festival.

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