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Chiwetel Ejiofor admits his upcoming series ‘does subtly touch on migrants’

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British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, who enthralled the audience with his performance in ‘Twelve Years A Slave’, is all set to reprise the role that glam rock icon David Bowie once played in ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’.

The TV series version based on Walter Tevis’s 1963 novel will see Chiwetel essaying the role of Faraday, an alien who happens to visit Earth.

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In a recent conversation, Chiwetel spoke about his approach to playing an alien, the subject of migrants that the series gently touches upon and the challenges that he faced while essaying his character for the camera.

To play the character of an alien, he took up different approaches to add different facets to the character but as per him, a lot of it came from recollecting what it was like for him to be stuck in a place that was new to him.

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The actor says, “There were several things that defined my approach to this character. For me the major part of playing the character was the ‘uniqueness’ because playing an alien is something that you have to imagine, it doesn’t come from a lived experience. So a major part of it comes from imagination.”

“For the most part, I went back in time and tapped into the situations where I felt alien in some place or where I felt out of place in a particular situation. For instance, when I first went to school, the memories of being left alone to emotionally survive a new place came in really handy. That’s where my creative impulses got ignited from”, he further mentions.

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“As a result, the character that came out was very much tailored to what I felt during those moments. The other part is how the character interprets human psychology, for this I backed on the approach of reacting to the co-actor in the frame,” He adds.

He admits that the series “does subtly take into account the phenomenon of immigration” as his character is primarily someone who happens to travel to a place and sustain, away from his homeland.

He shares, “The way we look at immigration and migration in the broader media doesn’t correctly define what a particular person is feeling or experiencing after having moved from their homeland. One of the things that Faraday communicates effectively is what migration brings and the opportunities that it entails.”

Furthering his point, he adds, “It tells how a person can diversify and revolutionise the cultural landscape and the new space that they move into. That’s what Faraday understands that he is bringing something that could prove beneficial to a new set of people that he meets.”

Ask him the biggest challenge of portraying the character and he furnishes a response, “For me, the biggest challenge was to project Faraday as someone who is trying to learn the human ways as I had to unlearn or rather subdue many things that came to me naturally as a human being.”

“The character of Faraday is not a newborn alien who came to earth. it’s a fully grown adult and comes with a lifetime of experience that he lived with on his home planet”, Chiwetel ends the conversation with his signature smile.

‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’, created by Jenny Lumet and Alex Kurtzman, also stars Naomie Harris, Jimmi Simpson and Clarke Peters, is set to premiere on Voot Select from April 24, 2022.

–By Akshay Acharya

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