Chiwetel Ejiofor knows what he wants to call his children.

The '12 Years a Slave' actor - who is dating Sari Mercer - is very guarded about his personal life, including any plans to start a family, but admitted he has already picked out the ''most beautiful name'' for a future daughter.

He said: ''There's an Igbo name, Obianuju, it's a girl's name. The translation is 'to come into a place where there is plenty.'

''For me, it has always been the most beautiful name to call a child. Because we have enough, we have plenty.''

The 38-year-old star admits his profession can be ''quite isolating'' but believes it is an essential trait in actors that they can be comfortable with their own company.

He explained: ''Being an actor is quite an isolating experience.

''In a sense, when the rubber hits the road, you go out there and nobody can help you with it. It's based on your own experiences and imagination.

''Equally, there have been times where I haven't unpacked my suitcase for a year. If you need the company of others, you're in for a pretty miserable time. It's probably helpful not to need connections all the time. Apart from my dog.''

Despite his devotion to his Pyrenean Shepherd Clay, Chiwetel doesn't take the dog to work on set with him.

He explained to Red magazine: ''He would get a little crazy. And also, he becomes the focus of everything. He steals my limelight!''