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Chiwetel Ejiofor breaks through in ‘12 Years a Slave’

Ejiofor (left) and Paul Giamatti (far right) in “12 Years a Slave.”

When Ejiofor, 36, a British actor known for “Inside Man” and “2012,” first read the screenplay for director Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave,” he knew he was holding a role-of-a-lifetime in his hands — the kind of extraordinary part that actors would kick down doors and jump through hoops to land.

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