British Nigerian actor and the star of the 12 Years a Slave and Half of a Yellow Sun, Chiwetel Ejiofor talks to The Times Magazine for the weekly ‘What I’ve learnt’ segment.

Ejiofor is known for his portrayal of Okwe in Dirty Pretty Things (2002), The Operative in Serenity (2005), Lola in Kinky Boots (2005), Luke inChildren of Men (2006), Dr. Adrian Helmsley in 2012 (2009) and Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave (2013), for which he received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations, along with the BAFTA Award for Best Actor. In addition, he was nominated for a 2014 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for his performance in Dancing on the Edge.

The 37-year-old talks to The Times on life, London and love.


On life

My father dying in a car crash taught me how to live. It was a long time ago, when I was 11, but what I have taken from my memories of him is his joy for life. Being a doctor and a musician, he was excited by intellectual and artistic pursuits. His short life and the realisation that those events can happen have taught me to wring every drop out of my experiences.

On London vs. Los Angeles

People treat London like a sequence of villages and whatever village you happen to be in is the one you do most of your stuff in. Then you go to Los Angeles where you are forced to get into a car every day, and if you want to go to Silver Lake from Hollywood just because you like a certain coffee then you do. It has changed my relationship with London for the better.

On love

Love can be a surprising and extraordinary addition to your life. You experience relationships in such different ways as you grow up. We spend so much time focused on our own thought patterns; it becomes fascinating to understand somebody else’s.

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