Maynard Eziashi (born 1965 in London, England) is a British Nigerian actor. In 1991, he won the Silver Bear for Best Actor at the 41st Berlin International Film Festival for his starring role in Mister Johnson (1990).
Eziashi was born in London, England.
Eziashi has been in the international movie business since 1986. In 1991, he won the Silver Bear for Best Actor at the 41st Berlin International Film Festival for his starring role in Mister Johnson (1990) which also starred Pierce Brosnan. Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly wrote "Eziashi plays him with such a relentless, singsong inscrutability that by the end of the movie, he veers uncomfortably close to becoming a liberal-humanist Stepin Fetchit." Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote "The lively Mr. Eziashi is good at conveying Johnson's charm and buoyancy, though much of the character's wiliness gets lost." Jay Boyar of the Orlando Sentinel wrote "Mister Johnson is a multilayered character, and Nigerian-born actor Maynard Eziashi knows just when to shed each layer." Dave Kehr of the Chicago Tribune wrote "...as Johnson, the Nigerian actor Eziashi achieves an effective manic blur that allows him to move gracefully between comedy and tragic hysteria." Ralph Novak of People wrote "Eziashi's performance as the title character is a masterful display of subtlety and insight into a man of great loyalty and deep love for his wife and child, as well as irresistible impulses to lie and steal." David Sterritt of The Christian Science Monitor wrote "The triumph of the movie, though, is Nigerian actor Maynard Eziashi playing Mister Johnson himself, in as witty and persuasive a performance as I've seen this year."
Eziashi has also starred in Twenty-One (1991) and A Good Man in Africa (1994), the latter starring Sean Connery. He also portrayed Edgar in the 2001 film When Brendan Met Trudy. Eziashi reunited with Freeman and Mister Johnson director Bruce Beresford in the 2006 film, The Contract.
"It was pleasurable working with them. Some of them have become good friends and I am still in contact with them till this day," Eziashi says on the number of Hollywood top stars he has worked with.
On 22 January 2012 it was reported that Eziashi took part in a film titled, Streets of Calabar. The film also starred Wale Ojo, Anthony Ofoegbu, Lisa Kill and Viquie Christie; the film has been shot on location in Calabar, Cross River State. Eziashi stated that he was portraying, "Chief Detective Okoro." According to Eziashi, Streets of Calabar is the second movie he has done in Nigeria, the first being Mister Johnson which was shot in Jos. "This job am doing now is a fantastic experience for me. Being in Calabar alone has been a pleasurable experience. I have not been in the city before. Everyday am discovering something new," Eziashi says of his experience with the project.
From 6 November to 1 December 2013 Eziashi participated in the performance of Paul Herzberg's play, The Dead Wait at The Park Theatre in Finsbury Park, where he was portraying the role of George. Eziashi has compared his acting experiences on the production with his past experiences on Bopha! since both stories are set in South Africa. Herzberg also acted in the production, and Eziashi described him as " a very generous man."
On Nollywood, Eziashi states, "I will say the Nigerian movie industry is doing very well. When we compare the industries we have to take out the advantage of time Hollywood has over Nollywood. If we compare the first 10–20 years of Hollywood with that of Nollywood you would realize Nollywood is doing fabulously well."