Alex Ajuwon recently appeared in the Netflix Original series ‘Drug Lords’, which portrayed some of the world’s most notable criminals.
In an exclusive interview, Alex talked to us about his latest projects and how he started his acting career from an early age. He also shared his best projects to date and revealed more of his broader passions in life like sport; incredibly Alex formerly represented England in American Football international matches. Working on so many film and TV projects brought him even more opportunities with a host of exciting, upcoming projects including the film Chocolate city 3, Gangland the Musical, (which are both now in post-production) and South of Etham, a new feature film coming shortly.
Can you tell us about your acting beginnings?
I fell in love with the arts from a young age. At first, it was a weekly Saturday class which my parents used to take me to as a child, called Weekend Arts College (WAC). As I started to build an acting foundation, I wanted to take it more seriously. When I turned 14, I decided to attend a full time performing arts school called the Brit School of Performing Arts. Whilst there, my skill-toolbox began to grow, learning different methods like Meisner or Stanislavksi. I became more hungry and fascinated at all the ways you could explore and develop a character. After studying at Brit School for four years, I decided to make the biggest leap and venture out to explore broader interests across the United States. This changed me, not only as an artist but my independence as a person.
Learning a different culture, lifestyle, environment and acting techniques like ‘substitution’ from Uta Hagen. I studied for a further two years at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. That experience for me was personally life-changing, I could really see myself growing as an artist. Once I graduated I got straight to work, signing with an agency’s theatrical and commercial department, as well as its management.
What are your best projects to date?
I recently starred in a hugely rated Netflix series called Drug Lords, playing the lead role as one of the most dangerous narcotics dealers, Christopher Dudus Coke. Christopher Coke was a real person. Coke was known as Jamaica’s Robin Hood, loved by his community, despised by the authorities; but also a stone cold killer. I had to be able to portray both sides of him. My favourite part of playing Coke was having to re-create the be-heading of a man with a chainsaw – not an easy feat for an actor!
Another film, The Zim tells a gripping tale inspired by true events about seizing farms of the minority white population in Zimbabwe. I played the head of the war vets called Moses. We had to learn Shona, and war chants and leading the chant at the most pivotal moment in the movie was a real experience, creating such a great impact. The film went on to win the top prize at the ‘LA short film festival’, making the film Oscar qualifying standards. The Zim had several more official selections and nominations at different film festivals. Then the film South of Etham – In the land of Orneth, the great Northern Kingdom known as Kishea, a former soldier abandoned his post and got abducted by Hanneth and Marth Onarion (my character). We ended up filming in a desert for one week which was scorching hot. South of Etham was my first lead role, so it was a special project for me. It went to film festivals and had three prestigious award nominations and a victory.
Movie Relationship Status: ‘It’s complicated’ was also very interesting, as character John is coming to terms with his sexuality. He wrestles with his identity as a gay man and the masculine stereotypes that he’s expected to conform to as a serious athlete. I knew the role would be challenging. I then came to realize the character and myself weren’t that far off from each other. I may be a straight man, but I knew what it felt like to be excluded by society for the colour of my skin.
I also appeared in Tosh.0, with a guest-star role working alongside Daniel Tosh, which was an amazing experience and the Comedy Central crew were fantastic. Another accomplishment included the NBC/Star project, which was a search for new talent. I was fortunate enough to have made it into the top 10 in the whole of the US, showcasing my work to the casting directors and producers of NBC.
What is your passion besides acting?
Sports, health & fitness is a lifestyle choice for me. I’ve been playing sports since I can remember. I started off my athletic journey with track followed by basketball, rugby and American football, but constantly learning and trying new sports. I truly believe that’s why my work ethic is so good. My biggest achievement was representing the England squad in American football, playing against teams like Mexico and Sweden. I became so disciplined with sports, that I implemented that into my everyday life. With my motivation and discipline, I refused to be outworked by anyone.
Do you have any interesting projects coming up?
Chocolate city 3 (post-production) , Gangland the Musical (post-production), South of Etham feature film – starring Audrey Laure, Mike Bingaman, and myself, Alexander Berdia feature film (The Zim cast), Darkest moon short – same director for South of Etham, Housesitter feature film – things go bad when CJ decides to throw a party in the house he’s sitting for, Tomorrows Eden feature film – futuristic world, director Noel Braham (previously won LA short awards) for a fan-made Star Wars project and Demon Within feature – three friends that go on a road-trip facing their inner demons along the way. Starring Deyon Rosado, Jasmine Imboden & myself.
Photo credit: Ben Zimmerman