Chiwetel Ejiofor ''envies'' Charlize Theron.

The 43-year-old actor stars alongside Charlize in the new Netflix superhero movie 'The Old Guard', and has said he is jealous of the actress for her ability to ''tell narrative through physicality'', as he says there's ''an exquisite poetry in seeing Charlize wield a four-foot axe''.

He said: ''I envy Charlize, you know? I'll admit it. She is able to do something that I have never quite managed to do and that is tell narrative through physicality.

''That is really difficult and this isn't the first film she's shown she can do this - take 'Mad Max: Fury Road', for example. There is an exquisite poetry in seeing Charlize wield a four-foot axe - and with humour too, I might add.

''To put all the nuance of a character into a very complex fight sequence using only choreography is quite astonishing.''

Chiwetel has been a fan of superhero movies and comics since he was a kid, and says it's amazing to see something that was considered ''nerdy'' when he was younger ''become so huge''.

He added: ''Things such as 'Doctor Strange' and the Marvel films have just become really big, haven't they? They just blew up! I remember reading Alan Moore when I was growing up, reading his books, such as 'Watchmen', 'V For Vendetta', and getting really into '2000AD' when '2000AD' seemed like a long way into the future. I was nerdy. And now that nerdy thing, that niche thing I was into as a kid, has become so huge.

''I remember going to the bookstore in Richmond, a Waterstones perhaps, as a teenager and asking the guy behind the counter if they had a graphic novel section. He thought I meant porn. He looked at me in disgust, saying, 'We don't do that sort of thing here, sir.' Yet in a way the success of Marvel is unsurprising. The graphic novels, the fantasy, the format of the comics lend themselves completely to cinema. Before you even start shooting, the entire narrative is already storyboarded for you.''

The actor - who played Karl Mordo in 2016's Marvel movie 'Doctor Strange' - also believes the superhero franchise will be more important than ever before following the coronavirus pandemic, as the blockbuster hits will help to keep the movie industry going.

Speaking to GQ Hype, Chiwetel said: ''The industry will always need an engine; now more than ever, post-Covid. If you don't have an engine, there will be no industry at all. It's going to need these big films, the likes of Marvel, the James Bond franchise and so on.

''I think that sort of rhetoric about what is considered cinema and what isn't, being too picky and so on, is just barking up the wrong tree. The industry is in deep trouble at the moment, many jobs, theatres, venues are on the line. So let's focus on survival, rather than this sort of finickety artistic debate.''

Read the full feature online at GQ Hype