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The Old Guard's Chiwetel Ejiofor says dancing in 6-inch Kinky Boots memorably scared him

The Oscar-nominated actor from 12 Years a Slave, Children of Men, The Martian and Kinky Boots is my guest on the I'm So Obsessed podcast.

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The Old Guard Chiwetel Ejiofor

Chiwetel Ejiofor stars in the Netflix film The Old Guard, along with Charlize Theron.

Netflix
This story is part of I'm So Obsessed (subscribe here), our podcast featuring interviews with actors, artists, celebrities and creative types about their work, career and current obsessions.

There's something absolutely mesmerizing about the actor and filmmaker Chiwetel Ejiofor. As I interviewed him for CNET's I'm So Obsessed podcast over video chat, I tried to figure out what it was about him that fascinated me. It could've been his eyes, which made me feel like he was looking into my soul, or his velvet smooth voice. It could've been the fact that he's compassionate and that he listened attentively to my questions and carefully considered his answers. It could've also been that he's appeared in so many films I enjoy, like Children of Men, Dirty Pretty Things, Kinky Boots, The Martian and Doctor Strange.

As I looked at Ejiofor on my laptop screen, it occurred to me that I was talking to someone who was nominated for a Golden Globe, an Oscar and a SAG award (and won a BAFTA) for his role in 12 Years a Slave and for an Emmy for Dancing on the Edge. But at one point, none of that mattered, because Ejiofor and I were discussing immortality and how it relates to his latest film, The Old Guard, on Netflix.

"Stories and mythology have always centered around immortality as a concept," said Ejiofor. "The sort of tree of life and the fountain of youth. But when you dig a little deeper into it, what really comes up is this really interesting question about the value of life and therefore the value of death, essentially."

The Old Guard follows a handful of immortal people, led by Charlize Theron's character, who band together to survive centuries of civilization. It mixes beautiful action sequences with heady philosophical themes about immortality, family, friendship and justice.

During our conversation, Ejiofor opened up about his relationship working with Denzel Washington on Inside Man and American Gangster and his friendship with both Benedict Cumberbatch and Benedict Wong on Marvel's Doctor Strange. In fact, Ejiofor tells a story about how he and Wong, who'd been in several films together, wanted to start a "Wong for Wong" casting campaign for Doctor Strange (Wong is the name of one of the characters) after Ejiofor won his role. Luckily, Wong was cast shortly thereafter and they never had to.

Ejiofor also explained how one of the scariest things he did was dance in 6-inch high-heeled boots on a runway for the film Kinky Boots.

Listen to my entire conversation with Ejiofor on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. You can subscribe to I'm So Obsessed on your favorite podcast app. In each episode, I catch up with an artist, actor or creator to learn about work, career and current obsessions.