Being a part of the “Star Trek” universe was never on David Ajala’s radar but taking on the character of Cleveland “Book” Booker was a challenge he couldn’t resist.
In the third season of “Star Trek: Discovery,” currently streaming new episodes Thursdays on CBS All Access, the storyline advances 930 years, where the crew of the titular starship land after going through a wormhole. Now living in a time of uncertainty, they work with new friends to restore hope to the Federation.
Booker is one of them, a smart, capable man with a natural charisma and a devil-may-care attitude that tends to get him in trouble – a character that took the 34-year-old British actor out of his comfort zone.
“There was something about the character which was really profound and which really touched my spirit,” he explains. “And this was a guy who has been ostracized from his family and he’s had to find a purpose bigger than himself in order to survive and keep living and pushing forward. And as simple and profound as it is, I found that really timely for myself and where I was physically, spiritually and mentally. So I thought, ‘You know what? This could be an experience that might be beneficial to me.’ And I’ve actually found it to be very cathartic, actually, surprisingly.”
Also somewhat daunting was coming in as the new guy on an established series, but Ajala indicates the cast made him feel like a part of the family from the outset.
“That’s the kind of working environment you want to be in,” he says. “I love working with these individuals because everyone in front of the camera and behind the camera is constantly pushing themselves to raise the bar. They do that independently and then they do that collectively and it’s one of the most thriving atmospheres you can be in.”
Name: David Ajala
Birth date: May 21, 1986
Birthplace: Hackney, London, England
Family ties: He and wife Terri Martin, a British TV presenter, have two children
Other TV credits: “Doctor Who,” “Silent Witness,” “Black Mirror,” “Law & Order: UK,” “Black Box,” “Falling Waters,” “Nightflyer,” “Supergirl”
Movie credits include: “Kidulthood” (2006), “Adulthood” (2008), “The Dark Knight” (2008), “One Day” (2011), “Fast & Furious 6” (2013), “Starred Up” (2013), “Jupiter Ascending” (2015), “Brotherhood” (2016), “Italian Studies” (forthcoming)
Stage credits include: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Love’s Labour’s Lost” (both with the Royal Shakespeare Company), “Othello” (with the Royal Court)