Actress Carmen Ejogo says when it comes to happiness, money isn’t everything.
“For me, I know that money can often muddle morals,” Ejogo told theGrio at a red carpet screening in New York for her latest film Roman J. Israel, Esq. “I know that it can also make me make choices that aren’t necessarily about creativity anymore.”
The 44-year-old British actress who starred as the legendary Coretta Scott King in movies like Selma and HBO’s Boycott, has a lot in common with her newest character “Maya,” an activist-lawyer who chose pursuing her passion over a big paycheck.
“If I had a really big fancy car and flashy house to maintain a mortgage on, I might be making some really poor creative choices just to pay the bills,” says Ejogo, who stars in Roman alongside Denzel Washington. “I don’t live in a fancy house for that very reason because it means I can go long stretches of time without doing anything.”
At last night’s screening, Ejogo also had the support of her ex-husband, fellow actor Jeffrey Wright, (whom she met on the set of Boycott when he played Dr. King) and her daughter Juno. The two actors also share a son, Elijah.
“I don’t need a lot of money to live. I can be a pure creative person. That’s not for everyone but it’s what works for me. As a result I can sleep at night feeling good about the fact that I’m really living out my dreams.”
She also said she was proud to work with the legendary Washington in the film because of his dedication.
“He demands the best out of you,” says Ejogo. “He won’t allow for anything less.”
Roman J. Israel, Esq. opens nationwide November 22.