Nigerian -born British actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor, has joined Angelina Jolie in Maleficent 2, an upcoming sequel to the 2014 American Dark Fantasy film , Maleficent, produced by Walt Disney Pictures.
According to Disney, four years after the blockbuster was released, filming has started for the sequel, with the Nigerian-British thespian featuring among the cast.
Ejiofor, who is popular for his roles in “12 years a Slave” and “Doctor Strange,” features alongside Hollywood veterans Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning, who are both reprising their roles from the original film.
Besides Ejiofor, other new cast members in the sequel to the blockbuster include Michelle Pfeiffer as Queen Ingrith, Ed Skrein, Harris Dickinson as Prince Phillip, and Robert Lindsay.
Veteran Norwegian film director, Joachim Rønning, who co-directed “Pirates of the Caribbean: DeadMen Tell No Tales,” is directing “Maleficent II.”, with Angelina Jolie (Maleficent) returning to portray the titular role along with Elle Fanning.
The first movie grossed over $750 million at the world box office; however, no release date has been announced for the sequel yet.
Ejiofor, born in the United Kingdom by Nigerian Parents, began his professional acting career as a teenager, and has featured in many award winning films.
He has received numerous awards and nominations for acting, including the BAFTA Orange Rising Star Award in 2006, two Golden Globe Award nominations.
He won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in 2008 for his performance in Othello.
In 2008, he was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for services to the arts.
I am proud to be Nigerian, says Hollywood actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor
A London-born Nigerian Hollywood star, Chiwetel Ejiofor, on Friday said he was proud to be identified as a Nigerian.
Mr. Ejiofor said this in Lagos at the premiere of a movie “Half of a Yellow Sun’’ based on a novel written by a Nigerian novelist, Chimamanda Adichie.
He said that there was a wrong impression that he claimed not to be a Nigerian.
“During the period of publicising “Twelve Years a Slave”, I was asked where I was originally from.
“I suppose I was trying to give an honest answer about where I was born, and so, I said London, which is where I was born.
“And to me, it was a surprising reaction that people then concluded that I didn’t identify as Nigerian.
“Of course, I am Nigerian-British, but if they ask me where I was born, I can’t say Enugu, because I wasn’t born in Enugu, but, it doesn’t mean that I don’t identify as Nigerian.
“I am proud of being Nigerian that I am extraordinarily happy to be here to make this film.
“We wanted to make a film in Nigeria for several years, maybe 20 years.
“Several years we talked about making a film in Nigeria, internationalise the market, we know there is so much, there’s a handful of energy and ability in Nigeria.
“And, for those of us that were born overseas, we want to get back into all of that and try to work together and make films and internationalise what is a wonderful market community.”
Biyi Bandele, who directed “Half of a Yellow Sun’’ said, “the movie is essentially a love story.”
According to him, it’s about people falling in love and the sacrifices you have to make sometimes when you are in a relationship.
“It is about a generation of Nigerians who grew up in the 1960s which is when Nigeria, along with most African countries gained independence.
“And, this is a generation of Africans, of Nigerians, who were so imbued with confidence, with enthusiasm, with optimism about the future of the country and Africa.”
Mr. Bandele said the movie was shot in just 33 days at Tinapa Calabar and other locations in Nigeria.
He said that artistes from more than 12 different countries were involved in the production of the movie, which he said would make Africa proud.
Also, Kene Mkparu, the Chairman of FilmOne, a distribution company responsible for the movie in Nigeria, said it was “the beginning’’, and urged Nigerians to support the movie.
“Half of a Yellow Sun” features actors such as Onyeka Onwenu, Genevieve Nnaji, O.C. Ukeje, John Boyega, Anika Rose, Tina Mba, Wale Ojo, Thandie Newton and Gloria Young.
It was produced by Andre Calderwood, Sandra Obiago, Yewande Sadiku and Mukhtar Bakare.
The movie would be released fully in Nigerian cinemas on April 25.