Carmen Ejogo lights up the new film Roman J. Israel, Esq., opposite Denzel Washington“I play Maya, and I’m a young activist who works at a volunteer organization. I meet Roman because he’s looking for a job, he’s somebody who’s just lost his world. The mentor that he came up under as a lawyer is dying, so he has to find a new gig but he’s so stuck in another era that that’s going to be a challenge,” Ejogo told uInterview in an exclusive video. “He comes to meet me and I don’t really have anything to offer him, but I see in him something of myself maybe 20 years from now, and he’s very intriguing for that reason. I see somebody that has fought the good fight, that is fully passionate about their work, but has no social life and no outlet. It makes me wonder, ‘Am I in this for the right reasons? Should I stay in it?’ And also for him, he’s asking himself, ‘Is this a life of service that’s worth all the sacrifice?’ And we have this meeting of the minds, and our paths keep crossing and interconnecting throughout the movie.”

Ejogo says she was humbled by working with Washington and in awe of his process. “There’s a great moment in one of the scenes that we do together where he comes to my office for the first time and he starts to cry,” she described. “It only happened in one take but there was this really wonderful moment of just pure expression on his part that reminded me just how in complete control and fully accessible of his own wealth of talent he is, that he could go in so many different directions – we played that scene in so many different ways.”

“It’s just exciting when you see somebody at this point in their career when they could just get lazy with it all and just phone it in, frankly, but they’re still pushing hard and still trying to find new ways to play. And the character as a result is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. He’s so captivating, he’s so endearing, and I think audiences are really gonna fall in love with this character,” Ejogo added. “I have every expectation that he will be absolutely recognized for his work for this film.”

Roman J. Israel, Esq., co-starring Colin Farrell and Shelley Hennig, is in theaters now.