'Caprica' countdown: Sasha Roiz says, 'Something ominous is coming'
Today we're continuing the "Caprica" countdown to the show's Jan. 22 premiere on Syfy with actor Sasha Roiz, who plays Sam Adama (brother to Joseph and uncle to William).
Roiz has gotten a lot of questions about what "Battlestar Galactica" fans can look forward to, so we address them here before we even get to the Q&A. First off, he says that fans already familiar with the style of "BSG" will watch it and be able to appreciate it even more on a secondary level, but should "leave 'BSG' at the door." He understands the loyalty, but believes that "there's always gotta be room for some sort of evolution and creativity. We always want to push the boundaries."
Sam is a Tauron loyalist, as we'll come to find out, so what better 12-Colony world to describe before talking to the actor who plays him than Tauron. Here's a quick planetary guide:
A red, arid planet, Tauron is home to a culture of great tradition. Its surface soil grants no favors, so all agriculture is hard won; something seen by the pride in its people. Family and honor are placed above all else in life, until you can finally be at rest and 'return to the soil.'
And on to Sasha Roiz, starting with what I thought would be a curveball. He hit it anyway.
How's it feel to be a Tauron assassin?
Interesting question. Well it feels really great that they've imbued this character with so many dynamic elements. It's not just a cookie cutter monster; he's got so many complexities to him that it's just a joy to play him.
What's the relationship like between Joseph and Sam?
At the beginning of the series, it's relatively strained. Obviously, the circumstances of the tragedy exacerbate the difficulties that the brothers had, and the brothers have a very different opinion of the world that they live in. Joseph is someone who's been trying to assimilate into the Caprican life while Sam is steadfast in staying loyal to Tauron and the Tauron community and has absolutely no interest in assimilating into the Caprican world. So those differences sort of come to a head, especially in the aftermath of the bombing and the loss of his wife and daughter.
The Ha'la'tha seems like a "Godfather" or yakuza type of organization. Where did you get your influences?
Yeah, it is of sorts. It's very much an ethnic organization not unlike what you said; it's kind of like a mafia or Yakuza. It's very similar to the way other mobs were formed in our world, say a century ago. When Italian and Irish and Jewish immigrants came over and were ghettoized and treated as second-class citizens, they formed organizations to protect themselves and their own ways of life and enforce their own laws. The Ha'la'tha have created a community and a life and a force on Caprica, and Sam's a soldier in that organization.
Sam Adama the role model ... is this all that good for for his nephew Willie, the future Admiral William Adama?
Ha! Well, Sam thinks so and has no doubts about it. Like I said, it's a very difficult time for the family, and Joseph's focus begins to spin a little bit out of control as he starts to chase after this avatar of Tamara [Adama, his deceased daughter] and he leaves Willie behind. So this is where Sam comes in almost as a surrogate and starts to raise this young boy. Sam always feels like the kid needs more Tauron influence, and along with that is a certain pride and strength that he wants to imbue in Willie.
Were you a "Battlestar" fan before getting the role?
Well, I wasn't a "Battlestar" fan, but I had a lot of respect for the show. I had a lot of friends who worked on the show and I had seen a few episodes. but i was more attracted to it from afar from the respect and awards it had received to the loyal viewership that it had. That piqued my interest a lot when the opportunity for "Caprica" arose. Subsequently, I have been watching a lot [of "BSG"] and I like it very much, but I didn't come into it as a fan.
So, the aftermath of how Willie becomes the admiral isn't a factor in how you approach the role of uncle?
Well, and I can't speak for the entire cast, but there isn't a general feeling of obligation to connecting those dots. I think we leave that to the writers and the creators, and I'm sure they'll do a great job with it, but we just sort of focus on our characters and the world that we live in. We don't really feel a lot of pressure to bring "Battlestar" into this. It works on its own.
How would you describe the style and tone of "Caprica?"
I guess there's a sense of foreboding. Even when I'm in it or when I'm watching some of the cuts that we have or the lighting, and the music, there's the sense that something ominous is coming. I love that mood. It brings an intensity to the show. And that being said, we have moments of lightness and laughter and love, but there's definitely an intensity that I love.
You mentioned laughs, and I think that Sam provides that levity a bit, even though he's not 'the funny guy'...
Yeah. It's interesting that you say that. It does come out a bit. Sam's just this character that's, in a way, so removed in the way he lives his life and the way that he perceives the world around him that there's just no room for any argument. Especially when you watch him and Willie together. You take this intense character and throw in a little kid, and to watch them interact is sort of amusing.
Because he's so rooted in his Tauron background, and I don't want to get too spoilery, but does he get to go back to Tauron, and was it what you as the actor thought it would look like?
I'm not sure if I can address that directly, but as the series unfolds, there is more and more detail about the background of Joseph and Sam, and the tragedy that they come from. They came out of the civil war on Tauron and everything that leads to that. They came over to Caprica as orphans. Being raised in the Ha'la'tha, all of that is sort of an extension of the tragedy they lived through in life. At one point we will see flashbacks to them when they were younger, and we will unfold the story of the tragedy itself. It's a great episode.
Though he's a real free-spirit on Caprica, is there anything that Sam does in future episodes that surprises you?
I would say absolutely. There comes a point where he questions certain loyalties that he has. It's going to be really interesting to see what kind of choices he makes. I mean, this whole show is about choices, which is just a reflection of life. I mean life is all about choices, and we're all faces with difficult choices at some point in the show. From there, we sort of springboard into this wonderful, crazy and fascinating storylines that are going to be a lot of fun to watch.
-- Jevon Phillips