Chiwetel Ejiofor on How 'The Old Guard' Is an "Important Marker" for Inclusive Stories

Chiwetel Ejiofor  - getty - h 2020
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The Netflix film's star called diversity "a saving grace of our industry" before talking about his surreal experience of traveling during the pandemic during his 'Tonight Show' appearance.

Oscar nominee and BAFTA winner Chiwetel Ejiofor says Netflix's The Old Guard is not only a blueprint for inclusive cinema but evidence of how diversity on projects can be "a saving grace" for the industry.

Ejiofor, who stars alongside Charlize Theron in the film directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood and adapted from Greg Rucka's comics of the same name, visited The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Thursday to talk about the film's success. During his appearance, the Doctor Strange actor acknowledged that The Old Guard's release on a streaming platform was " a great advantage" with U.S. theaters closed and so many staying at home. But he also pointed to the movie's diversity and inclusion as evidence of its impact.

"I think this is a great film in its own right, and I think it's been brilliantly directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, but also it encapsulates I think this idea of how film, and how media in broad tones can really be inclusive and how that is part of — on this film it's an integral part of the narrative, this kind of sense of inclusivity," he said.

Ejiofor explained that featuring different people from various backgrounds "all represented in their own way" was "an important marker" for where the industry is heading and the direction it should continue to move in.

"Just how popular the film has been, as well, it's just an important marker for the way these things can go," he told Fallon. "I mean, I think that that is what's really going to be a saving grace of our industry, and an important part of our industry going forward is really representing everybody."

While on the show, The Old Guard actor also opened up about his time in New York City during the height of the pandemic and the strange experience of flying back to London.

"It was intense for everybody, of course, you know, but it was pretty full-on in New York," he said of his time quarantining in the city. "I ended up getting on what they called a repatriation flight, which sounded, like, very Orwellian. I was like the only person in JFK. It was incredibly surreal, just pulling up to the terminal and being in the only car. It really hit home at that point."

Watch the full segment below.