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Ejiofor warned over 'funny name'

Published 11/04/2015

Chiwetel Ejiofor brushed aside the name-change discussions at drama school
Chiwetel Ejiofor brushed aside the name-change discussions at drama school

Bafta Award-winning actor Chiwetel Ejiofor has said he was warned that he would find it hard to work as an actor because he had a "funny name".

The 37-year-old Londoner, who wowed audiences with his performance in Oscar-winning film 12 Years A Slave, was told that if he stuck with Chiwetel he would play Africans for the rest of his career.

But he brushed aside the name-change discussions at drama school and replied: "I don't give a s***."

He told the Guardian's Weekend magazine: "I was a kid with this funny name. And people were like, 'It's going to be quite difficult for you to make any money as an actor'."

Ejiofor, the son of Nigerian refugees who moved to the UK to escape civil war in the 1960s, said he prefers not to get involved in the film industry's racial politics.

"I don't spend that much time thinking about race in the context of the industry," he explained.

Despite his Oscar nomination, the actor joked that he still puts his pants on "one leg at a time".

He added : "I just want people to see the work that I do. "I don't think they should be concerned about whom I'm sleeping with or what all the rest of the aspects of my life are. I don't want to be a celebrity. I don't have any interest in that. In fact, it's almost the opposite of what I want."

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