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Romaine Waite talks reviving 'Star Trek' and being in love with acting

As an actor, Canada’s Romaine Waite believes a large part of his job is studying the human condition. Through his work, he understands his character and then connects with his audience. To do so, he has to understand what motivates the person he is portraying and how he can captivate those who will watch. He has to comprehend a vast array of emotions and know just how to portray them. It takes a great deal of both determination and talent to pull off such a feat, but Waite does so flawlessly.

Having starred in several successful films and television series, from the sci-fi horror Antisocial to the crime series Frankie Drake Mysteries, Waite has adopted all sorts of personalities to effectively portray his characters. He aims to be as versatile as possible, and that is what he loves about what he does.

“Acting is the one thing that I am completely in love with. I know that sounds cliché, and maybe even odd. When I think about it, there are other things that I enjoy, or like to do, and maybe even good at, but acting never seems to leave my mind or heart, and I think there is something to be said about that,” he said.

Just last year, Waite graced small screens across the world with his recurring role in Star Trek: Discovery. The show takes place ten years before Kirk, Spock and the Enterprise and separate from the timeline of the concurrently produced feature films, the USS Discovery discovers new worlds and lifeforms as one Starfleet officer learns to understand all things alien.

Star Trek: Discovery premiered on September 19, 2017, at ArcLight Hollywood, before debuting on CBS and CBS All Access on September 24. The rest of the 15-episode first season was streamed weekly on All Access. The series' release led to record subscriptions for All Access. A second season was ordered in October 2017.

“Being a part of this show, it’s surreal to be honest. When you dream about being an actor, you’re thinking about moments like this, but when it actually happens, it's hard to believe. This is one of these biggest sci-fi franchises of all time. To contribute to this huge legacy is a tremendous privilege. It wasn’t something I had to think too hard about. Star Trek represents so much when it comes to an American sci-fi television series. I was truly excited to put on the uniform for the first time,” said Waite.

Waite’s character in Star Trek: Discovery is named Troy Januzzi, a communications officer on the USS Shenzhou. He is responsible for all forms of internal and external communications on the ship, a pivotal part in space travel and exploration. When tasked with giving messages to the captain it is imperative that the message is clear and concise. As you can see in the show, if it’s not — it can cause a tremendous amount of trouble for him and the other crew members. When playing Troy, Waite knew how essential the character was in helping to create a realistic portrayal of able bodied individuals that operate the ship and keeping the story within a desired tone, and he wanted to do the beloved franchise justice.

When getting into character, Waite made sure to know the story inside and out to help develop an overall understanding of his role. In the case of Star Trek: Discovery, he says the script did most of the work for him when it came to visualizing the world and how the character fits into it as it was so well-written.

Despite this, he still tried to dig even deeper into his character to create a person that would connect with die-hard fans of the franchise. He researched exactly what a communications officer did in the Star Trek world. His character also was classified as an augmented human, something fans would be quick to pick up on. All these little pieces helped Waite to build a greater understanding of who his character is.

Physically, Waite also made a small change, and shaved his head for the role, something he had never done before. Immediately, he felt like a different person and instantly got into character. He was able to vividly imagine being a part of this new world that was being created.

“I liked the energy that a project of this size brings. It was clear that we were doing something special. Bringing back to life a franchise that so many people respect and love. There was so much anticipation for this project. I wanted to be sure that I was able to do it justice for the history of the show and for the loyal fans,” he said.

More important than high ratings and the awards the show has taken home, Waite was happy to work on Star Trek: Discovery for the experience. It is not often that actors get to be a part of such a cherished and iconic series, and he was happy to tell part of its story.

“There is a strong message of self-discovery and inclusion. The current state of the world is one of separatism and I think this story is relevant for people today. Yes, it is sci-fi, but I think that it's just the means in which the message is being carried and from what I’ve seen, people are able to suspend their belief and in doing so these types of message can reach people in ways that traditional methods can’t. At least that’s what I hope. Star Trek has always tackled current issues and I think this will be a continuation of that,” he said.

So, what’s next for Waite? You can check him out in Netflix’s upcoming holiday feature The Christmas Calendar, the hit series Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments and the compelling drama Salvage, set to release later this year.

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