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July 31, 2014

Esai Morales Says Give 'Caprica' a Chance

by Chris Jancelewicz, posted Feb 3rd 2010 11:57PM


Long-time actor Esai Morales has appeared in so much science-fiction, it must be old-hat by now. He's been in 'The Twilight Zone', 'The Outer Limits', 'Jericho', 'The Hunger', and 'Doomsday Man', just to name a few. Now he adds the cerebral 'Caprica' to the list, a show that takes on the daunting task of following the incredible nerd-success of 'Battlestar Galactica'. Filmed in Vancouver, 'Caprica' is technically the prequel to 'BSG', and it establishes the history of many beloved (and some not-so-beloved) characters.

Morales plays Joseph Adama, father to William Adama (who was played by Edward James Olmos in 'BSG'). In the first season, Joseph must deal with several unsettling issues – the death of his daughter in a 'terrorist' subway train bombing, raising his son properly throughout the aftermath, the resurrection of his daughter via Cylon technology – while attempting to maintain a semblance of normalcy.

AOL TV caught up with Morales to talk about how he approached playing such a legendary character, and why some naysayer 'BSG' fans should shut up and give 'Caprica' a chance.

Long-time actor Esai Morales has appeared in so much science-fiction, it must be old-hat by now. He's been in 'The Twilight Zone', 'The Outer Limits', 'Jericho', 'The Hunger', and 'Doomsday Man', just to name a few. Now he adds the cerebral 'Caprica' to the list, a show that takes on the daunting task of following the incredible nerd-success of 'Battlestar Galactica'. Filmed in Vancouver, 'Caprica' is technically the prequel to 'BSG', and it establishes the history of many beloved (and some not-so-beloved) characters.

Morales plays Joseph Adama, father to William Adama (who was played by Edward James Olmos in 'BSG'). In the first season, Joseph must deal with several unsettling issues – the death of his daughter in a 'terrorist' subway train bombing, raising his son properly throughout the aftermath, the resurrection of his daughter via Cylon technology – while attempting to maintain a semblance of normalcy.

AOL TV caught up with Morales to talk about how he approached playing such a legendary character, and why some naysayer 'BSG' fans should shut up and give 'Caprica' a chance.

Funny – I just spoke with Lou Diamond Phillips [Morales' 'La Bamba' co-star] about a month ago for his sci-fi show, 'Stargate: Universe'...

You'd think SyFy would run a show called 'La Bamba in Space' or something. It's like they got the both of us. How ironic, how weird!

What made you want to be a part of 'Caprica'?

I think the legacy left behind by 'Battlestar' speaks for itself. I thought that these avid fans, most of whom were skeptical at first...to turn them into a fan of 'Caprica' as well is a daunting task, a big challenge. Based on the responses I've been getting, I'd say 75-80 percent of those skeptics have been won over. That's a huge number. Even if you find the show a little slow or confusing, if you stick with the show, it'll stick with you.

Not unlike a virus?


Well, what we're doing is slowly laying hooks into you, which we will later rip out.

It was a little slow at first, but once the teenager's voice came out of the Cylon body, I was sucked right back in.


The hair stood up on the back of my neck when I saw that scene. It was like 'Oooooooh!'

You're aware how rabid sci-fi fans are – are you ready for the dissecting and possible obsession that only sci-fi fans can provide?

I guess. You never know, unless people go truly rabid. Hopefully no foam will be coming out of their mouths. If I see that, I may have to run.

'Caprica' is not your typical sci-fi, and that's what makes it stand out.

That's the thing – with sci-fi, it's a thinking-person's genre in and of itself. Geeks are not known for their stupidity. It's an adult drama that appeals to young people as well. I call it a multi-generational, multi-genre family saga, that's set in the sci-fi world. I also really like that who you do is up to you on 'Caprica'. We've gotten past that whole "You sleep with people of the same sex? Ew" kind of mentality. You love who you love and you make a commitment.

Not to mention the wild sex orgies/raves in virtual reality, too.

It's virtual!



How does Joseph evolve as the series progresses?
The challenge for me is to assume what the arc is going to be. We don't know if we're going to be one season, or ten seasons, or five. How do you plan? My concept is to show the beginnings of the arc, and just when you think he's about to land, there's more stuff that happens that you can't imagine. How can more drama befall this family? But it does, and it has devastating effects. As I've told every interviewer thus far, the scripts from some episodes, particularly the finale, left me sobbing.

Oh no. Why do you guys do this to us?


I had to go to sleep. [Laughs] But seriously, what does it mean to be human? It reminds me of one of my favourite lines in the pilot: "Find those things in life that make you cry." It's a show that's not only entertaining in the way that it moves, but it moves you to think about things, both consciously and subconsciously. That's really what sci-fi is all about.

Daniel Graystone vs. Joseph Adama. How does this relationship morph in the next little while?


You would think that it's going to be tete-a-tete the whole way through, but they may have to put down their differences at some point. But they may continue being adversaries. Who's to say? This is why we watch. [Laughs]

I must say, you certainly look like an Adama.

Sometimes I feel like one, too! There's a great episode in this first season called 'Adamarama' that goes into the past of [Joseph's brother] Sam and I. It's so amazing. The kids that play our characters when they're young are just fantastic.

How has it been working with this cast, crew, and direction?


It has been a blessing. Probably half of the crew is from 'BSG', they still wear their 'Battlestar' jackets. They're a major part of this show's functioning. I feel like we've forged a family. Eric Stoltz sets such a tone on the set. Paula Malcolmson, whom I call 'White Heat' and 'White Fire', is probably the most passionate person I've ever met.

Any last words for 'Caprica' non-watchers?

All I would say to people who doubt 'Caprica' is: Everything good starts slow.

'Caprica' airs on Space Network on Fridays at 10 pm ET, and on SyFy on Fridays at 9 pm ET.

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