Adama's Dad Explains Why Caprica Haunts Him

Can Caprica fill your need for troubled characters on the brink of self-destruction and despair? Star Esai Morales seems to think so. Adama's father describes Caprica's troubling moments and futuristic benefits, including spoilers.

Battlestar Galacitca's prequel series, Caprica, has a giant pair of space boots to fill. Can it live up to the critical acclaim and rabid fandom that has built BSG up as the most relevant science fiction show on television?

At the Syfy upfronts, we were treated to a new trailer for the show, which showed off Caprica city in all its zooming monorail glory (and which reminded me a lot of Gotham's transportation system, pre-Wayne death, in Batman Begins).

The city is glimmering with a shiny gold hue, and Daniel Graystone (Eric Stolz) and his gorgeous wife play tennis. Meanwhile, Papa Adama (Morales) talks on the phone to his family. Then boom, the old monorail blows to bits, and we all assume that everyone that was on that train is dead. The trailer doesn't reveal too much, but it did showcase Caprica's glowing writing (or maps?) that move about on the folded parchment in front of our characters' eyes. I know that Caprica isn't supposed to be the Jetsons, but these little futuristic nods here and there are still pretty exciting, and remind us that we are, in fact, on another world.

Later, we caught up with Esai Morales, who is playing the troubled father of William Adama and asked him to talk, as much as he could, about the new series. (The pilot will be released as a DVD and on Itunes in April, nine months before the network premiere.)

When you found out you would be related to Admiral Adama did you practice the low voice at all?

[Lowers his voice] I thought about that [laughs]. They told me I didn't have to imitate him. I was prepared to have at least half of my genetic material compared to him. It's a thing that I really evolve into... I don't want to start right then and there with the gravity. I start this character very light, before certain things happen in the very early parts of the pilot. The stress that makes him so intense isn't there [yet]. So I start him different, and by the end of the first season, you'll see something of where he gets that intensity from. But Edward [James Olmos] has put his own stamp on this character. I think it would [be bad to] limit myself to his wonderful work - I have to find characteristics that make sense, that he then picks up.

What about Eric Stolz's character (Daniel Graystone)? You two work a lot together, would you say that you are his moral compass?

I think so. He's such a brilliant actor and such a brilliant intellectual, I watched him in the pilot, and I was just blown away. And Paula [Malcomson who plays Daniel's his wife Amanda Graystone] they are such a great couple. She is passion personified, and he is cool keen intellect. Not just intellect - you can tell that his character lives in his mind. My character lives in his heart. And I think that's what really makes these two interesting, the dynamics.

From the brief previews I've seen there are plenty of intense moments between you and Eric. What was it like filming these moments?

Believe me, the fireworks are there. And that's what I love about Ron, David and Remi, who created the show. [They] understand the special effects aren't that special, unless they come from a human context. For example if you see something blow up, it means nothing, unless you know what's in that explosions. The emotional effects are really what take this show off the ground.

Who has been your favorite character to go off on or argue with thus far?

I can't say. Really it's Eric and I, that's where the passion comes out. I love my brother Sasha Roiz [Sam Adama] - who technically looks nothing like me, so I guess mamma had a little affair. But we're brothers in spirit, and in heart. We share a heritage that he handles differently than I do. I want to go through the system while he skirts around the system.

What do you think is the big moral issue that Caprica struggles with, BSG deals with a lot of moral issues like whether or not robots are people, how is Caprica different?

I'm looking at this character more on the sense that, he doesn't know what Cylons are really, he doesn't know. By the end of the piece, obviously, I'm freaked out at what this could be, but my character is not as versed in the philosophical side of what is happening. He just knows [that] it ain't right, there is something wrong with this. They're not people, they're machines. And it [raises] the question: What are we? Are we just emotionally unbalanced machines?

Since you're on Caprica long before the big attack - the futuristic world that we never really get to see that much in BSG - what was your favorite futuristic gadget or machine that was used in Caprica that we should get excited about?

The first cylon. I was blown away. I don't want to give it away, but the ending is haunting. It's so funny because I finally saw the pilot and I was scared, because I'm afraid to watch my own work because all I see is where I missed my mark. But I was very impressed, the technology is amazing. I like the butler, the robot thing, that's cool. But it's so similar to how we're living today, it's so similar. It's eerily like today's world. I like the games [such as] Pyramid... Oddly enough, I saw something and I want to approach the writers about it, there's a game now called slam ball. It's basketball with three trampolines on the basket, that looked like somewhat to me like some sort of space-age game. I loved that.