Friday, January 29

Caprica's naughty hot nun reveals her secrets

Last week's premiere of Syfy's Caprica introduced fans to Sister Clarice Willow (Polly Walker), the headmistress at the Athena Academy, and Walker tells us that there's a lot more to the character than is apparent at first blush. (Spoilers ahead!)
"She's not what she seems, obviously, because she's not just the head of the girls' religious academy," Walker told us in an exclusive interview this month. "She's a religious terrorist, and she's the head of the terrorist organization. She's incredibly dangerous, and she runs into all the different characters and manipulates and is scheming. She has a conscience as well, but she feels like she has direct access to God. She feels like she's God's messenger."
When Walker (HBO's Rome) filmed the pilot, she sought assurances that there would be more to play in the extended run of the show. "I was promised it," Walker said. "It becomes pretty huge, what I have to do. So that's why I wanted to do it. I was promised that it's going to get crazy. It's a crazy character that I play. She's out there."
The show will deal in part with the conflict between monotheists and polytheists, and Clarice's mission is supporting the One True God philosophy. That means she'll want to see the Cylons come into common use.
"She wants that," Walker said. "That's what she wants with all her heart. She's a monotheist, and Cylons believe in One True God."
The Graystone family will be the key to Clarice's mission. Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz) created the first Cylon to manifest his late daughter Zoe's (Alessandra Torresani) personality. Clarice will manipulate him through the Graystone matriarch, Amanda (Paula Malcomson).
"I have a very strong connection with Graystone's wife because, basically, the Zoe character is the reason for my faith and everything like that," Walker said. "His wife, to me, is like the Virgin Mary. I don't actually have anything to do with [Daniel]. I'm stuck in my own crazy little world."

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Monday, January 25

Caprica Is Like The Godfather

Esai Morales wants you to know that Caprica (premieres Friday, 9/8c on Syfy) is no Battlestar Galactica. "BSG is BSG, and we will never touch BSG because we're not in that business. We don't want to be," he tells of the prequel. "We're trying to show that someone's parents and someone's pre-life is different than their children's." Set 58 years before the post-apocalyptic events of Battlestar, Caprica focuses on the thriving, technologically advanced Twelve Colonies that eventually create the Cylons. Morales plays Joseph Adama, a lawyer and father to BSG's Commander William Adama.

The elder Adama meets inventor Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz) when they both lose daughters in the same terrorist bombing. Graystone attempts to bring the girls back as robots, and it's from there that a "morally gray family saga unfolds," Morales says. Find out what else is in store this season and why the actor thinks the show is similar to The Godfather. How did you get involved with the show?
Esai Morales:
My manager told me to take a look at this. "This is a really classy show," she said. "The creators are geniuses. It's on Syfy, but they're doing a whole rebranding thing. This could be a flagship show for them." I wasn't a BSG guy per se. I had kind of grown away from sci-fi in my adult years. I'm really happy to be back in a way that I don't feel like I'm regressing to my childhood! There is nerd appeal, but at the same time, it's something many people can identify with. It's just a smart show and unlike anything I've seen on television.

Watch the extended pilot of Caprica now Joseph Adama is sort of mythological since we've never met him until now. How would you describe him?
In reality, the myth is not as grandiose. We will be deconstructing a bit of the statue of the man and showing the human being. I'm not playing him as some sort of hero. I'm playing him as a man who is just trying to survive, stay on the right side of the law and be a good role model to what's left of his family. He'd like to reconnect with the digital aftereffects of his own daughter. When he hugs and holds her, it's as if [she's real] — except for one little thing: He can't feel her heartbeat, which is that poetic representation. What are these things if they are not people? What do they feel? Where do they go when they're in limbo?

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Thursday, January 21

What to expect from 'Caprica,' Syfy's 'Battlestar' prequel

Source: The Watcher

"Caprica" (8 p.m. Central Friday, Syfy)
Who is on the creative team? Ronald D. Moore ("Battlestar Galactica") and Remi Aubuchon ("24") wrote the pilot; the show's executive producers include Moore, David Eick, Jane Espenson (all of whom also worked on "Battlestar") and Kevin Murphy, who joined the show mid-way through the 19-episode first season (9 hours air this spring and then the show will return in the second half of 2010; for more on the show's background, look here).

What's the "Battlestar Galactica" connection?
"Caprica" is a prequel series set more than five decades before the events of that acclaimed drama. However, you do not need to have seen "Battlestar" to watch "Caprica."

What's the "Buffy" connnection?
Espenson has written for "Buffy," "Angel" and "Dollhouse."

What's the premise? Mega-wealthy technology genius Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz) and conflicted lawyer Joseph Adama (Esai Morales) are united by a tragedy -- they both lose family members in a terrorist bombing. The show examines how they and their families deal with that loss and how the government responds to the terrorist threat posed by an underground religious group.

How much sex is there? The normal amount for a basic-cable drama.

Are there robots?
Yes, there are a number of robots, and viewers get to know one robot well.

How's the first episode?
The two-hour pilot is quite compelling. Morales and Stoltz are well-matched in their subtle approaches to their characters, and the pilot asks the kinds of questions you'd expect from the creators of "Battlestar": When should we let go of what we've lost and how do we use technology to avoid painful truths? (My full review of the "Caprica" pilot, which came out on DVD a few months ago, is here.)

How many episodes have you seen?
I've seen the pilot and two additional episodes, and the post-pilot episodes are less focused and more melodramatic than the pilot. In its early going, "Caprica" doesn't have quite enough narrative drive; there's a certain choppy quality to the proceedings, as episodes jump around among the characters' somewhat separate story lines. Still, it took "Battlestar" a while to find a consistent tone and to hit its creative stride. If the handsome-looking "Caprica" can beef up the urgency, unify the storytelling and make me care more about the characters' dilemmas, it should take its rightful place as Syfy's flagship drama.

Why did you feel a little guilty when watching it?
I didn't love it as much as I loved "Battlestar," but I had to remind myself that my affection for that show developed over several seasons. "Caprica" is a different show with a different tone and goals and I'm OK with giving it time to prove itself. If the show is guilty of anything in the first few episodes, it's of trying to do too much, which is preferable to a lack of ambition.

What's the reason to watch? Did I mention the robots? No, seriously, "Caprica's" cast (which includes Paula Malcolmson as Amanda Graystone) is very good and the questions "Caprica" is asking about our reliance on technology to supply (or replace) intimacy are certainly timely.

Who's the breakout actor?
The wonderful Polly Walker imbues the mysterious Sister Clarice with a steely mystery, and I look forward to seeing more of Patton Oswalt as Baxter Sarno, the host of an irreverent "Daily Show"-type program.

What should viewers not expect? This is not a show set in outer space. There are no aliens, there are no space ships and there's not much of a military element at all. "Caprica" is much more of a prime-time soap than a sci-fi adventure tale, so don't be expecting multi-tentacled visitors from the planet Gorp.

What silly nickname did you give this show?
I don't have one yet. Feel free to make suggestions.

Rating: Three stars. "Caprica" is still finding itself, but it's worth your while, and if it can knit its various elements into a more coherent whole, it could get even better.

David Eick and the history of Caprica

After a minor interruption, the "Caprica" countdown continues with just three days left until the pilot re-airs and reaquaints viewers with the characters and quirks of the Syfy show. We're coming back strong too, posting a conversation with executive producer/writer/whatever's-needed guy David Eick. Before that, a quick introduction to another of the 12 Colonies: Leonis.
Two major landmasses differentiate this beautiful colony, ideal for a variety of outdoor activities thanks to its predictable climate. Leonans are an overambitious and wealthy society that is increasingly isolationist and even xenophobic, making modern Leonan democracy and inter-colony relations deeply troubled.
And now, on to Mr. Eick and his thoughts on the optimistic, technologically enhanced culture of Caprica.

So how long ago did the idea for "Caprica" actually come about?
The first time that myself, Ron Moore and Remi Aubuchon got together to discuss it was was five years ago. It's crazy cause it doesn't seem that long. Ron and I came from these franchises that had spawned offspring. In Ron's case it was "Star Trek" and in mine it was the "Hercules"/"Xena" world. At some point during the second season of "Battlestar," we started kicking around the idea of another story rooted in this world. We started kicking around the idea of a more human-based, terrestrial-based soap opera with a sci-fi undertone that would take place in the years before the events that were depicting in "Battlestar." In affect, it would be Dallas where the McGuffin would be artificial intelligence instead of oil.
We had a general conversation with execs at Universal, then we tabled it as we continued to make "Battlestar." We got a call from those execs some time later and they said that at some point in time they heard a pitch from Remi Aubuchon that they felt crossed paths in many ways with what we'd talked about for our "Battlestar" prequel. It just made sense to Ron and I to have another partner since we were so into just making "Battlestar" at the time.  So we sat down with Remi and started to hammer out where this spinoff would be.
So I don't really need to ask if it was a harder sell than the original 'reimagined' "Battlestar" premise?
Our reimagined "Battlestar" premise was held back by a couple of things at different stages. One was title, which was a blessing and a curse. It opened certain doors, but there's a whole contingent ... who would not watch a show called "Battlestar Galactica" no matter how many trophies you win. And Bonnie Hammer said to me, 'You're gonna have to explain to me again when you come in to pitch this why the world needs another space opera.'  And I think we did.
In this case, we had a leg up, you could say. We were coming at the "Battlestar" mythos at what did not feel like a lot of other shows.  As unique as "Battlestar" is, it's still easy to lump it in with "Stargate" and "Star Trek" and "Andromeda" and I can't even name them all. Whereas with "Caprica" I think we're operating in very unique territory.
So, what were your fears going into production?
Fears? Well, I think that we got really, really lucky with "Battlestar" in one respect and that was the cast. We had Oscar nominees and really accomplished actors and young actors who were doing if not their first thing then their second thing, all side-by-side. So whether or not that was going to hold together and gel to create a long-running series was always a risk. And when it happened the way that it did -- I can't tell you the number of actors that we cast out of local Vancouver dinner theater who, two or three years later we were writing entire arcs around.  But they were so good and so reliable that we knew we could go in a variety of different places that we may have never intended or expected. Certainly coming back to another emsemble show, you just wonder how or if lightning can strike twice.  And I have to say, I think we got lucky. I think between your critically acclaimed actors like Polly Walker and Eric Stoltz and Esai Morales to your younger actors who American audiences may not have seen much of before with Alessandra [Torresani] and Magda [Apanowicz]. I think that once again, we can look to side stories. Sasha Roiz, who plays Sam Adama, is Caprica's answer to Tahmoh Pennikett  or Katee Sackhoff or Jaimie Bamber. People who really hadn't been established, but in very short order, we found ourselves writing around.

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The music of the master, Bear McCreary

Counting down until the Jan. 22 premiere of "Caprica," we take a look at a man who has helped shape the mood and tone of the "Battlestar Galactica" universe as much as anyone acting, lighting, writing or directing an episode: composer and musician Bear McCreary. His arrangements bring huge crowds of not only "BSG" fans but also general music fans out to concert venues around the country.
Hard-core fans realize the intricacy with which McCreary crafts tunes, creating themes for characters that define who they are, and even who they will be. The young accordion player (among other things) turns 31 soon, making him an Aquarius (or right on the cusp). And that transitions into our latest description of another planet making up the 12 Colonies, Aquarion:
A frigid ocean world, Aquarion functions as little more than a scientific research outpost to the rest of the colonies. There are small landmasses, usually volcanic, and there are native communities, both small and tolerant enough to effectively use a unique communal governing system.
And "unique" takes us back to McCreary. I saw the maestro play a concert in 2009 down the street from the Los Angeles Times building in downtown L.A. I felt like a final five cylon following the melodic sounds to the venue. The crowd assembled was the opposite of intimate, but the communal mood was palpable as McCreary and the band played to a raucous audience. That's where we begin our interview.
Doesn't seem like a lot of composers command the types of crowds and adulation you do. How are you handling that?
It's interesting 'cause that side of my musical life is not something that I ever pursued actively. I didn't become a TV and film composer because I wanted to play sold-out rock concerts, but that's what's ended up happening. And it's fun. I'm grateful for the opportunity to play the music that means so much to those people, and to me, live in a concert setting with all of the musicians that I work with in the studio. And it's an extraordinary chance for the fans to not only see it live, but to see it performed by the same men and women who play it on the series. It's very different than seeing something in the Hollywood Bowl conducted by a composer or a guest artist 'cause these are the exact same artists who play it on the series.

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Wednesday, January 20

Will Caprica Be More Than a Prequel?

Source: Space

The much anticipated Battlestar Galactica follow-up Caprica is set to debut on SPACE Friday night. As you may have heard, it rewinds viewers 58 years before the Cylons destroyed the 12 Colonies and set into motion the epic events of the hugely popular BSG. This prequel is set on (spoiler alert!) Caprica and it promises to explore the origin of the Cylons and the life and times of the Old Man’s old man. Still very much in the realm of science fiction, Caprica is the family saga of the Adamas and the Graystones – two families that become intertwined after a tragic terrorist attack. It promises to be a drama focusing largely on relationships, personal demons and political turmoil – all set against the backdrop of a future (or is it historical?) world.

The burning question on every frakkin’ BSG fan’s mind is whether these new characters, new situations and the practically unknown world of pre-Fall Caprica can recapture the magic of the original. Can a prequel hold the interest of an audience when they all know what will happen in the end?

Star Wars
may be our greatest touchstone when it comes to discussing prequels, and if George Lucas’ prequel trilogy is anything to go by, things might not bode well for Caprica. While the new Star Wars movies interested millions who wanted to see how Skywalker the Elder became Skywalker the Darth, the films suffered horribly in execution with disinterested scripts, wooden acting and cheap, childish sight gags. That said, viewers still tune in every week to understand more about how Clark Kent became Superman on Smallville.

So perhaps the curiosity in prequels is there, but their success comes down to the way the backstory is told – for every awful Dumb and Dumberer or Hannibal Rising, there’s a solid Red Dragon or even a brilliant Godfather Part II. Thankfully, Caprica boasts a top-notch cast (including solid lead actor Eric Stoltz) and the strong point of BSG was always its mature, nuanced writing. If these qualities can carry over to Caprica, my hunch is that the interest will follow suit.

What do you think? Is Caprica a non-starter for you? Or can you not wait to explore the rise of the Cylons and the history of the Adamas?

Tuesday, January 19

'Caprica' countdown: Sasha Roiz says, 'Something ominous is coming'

Source: LA Times

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

Friday, January 15

The five faces of Zoe that you'll see in Caprica

Caprica star Alessandra Torresani plays Zoe in Syfy's upcoming Battlestar Galactica prequel series Caprica. Actually, she plays five different versions of the character, the daughter of industrialist Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz). (Spoilers ahead!)

In the show—which premieres Jan. 22 and airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET/PT—Daniel Graystone is a computer engineering genius and owns a large corporation that is spearheading the development of artificial intelligence. His unwavering professional pursuits are driven to extreme measures when personal tragedy strikes him and his wife, Amanda (Paula Malcomson), as their strong-willed daughter, Zoe (Torresani), dies in a terrorist bombing fueled by an underground religious dogma. Unbeknownst to her parents, the teenager had also been dabbling in these radical teachings, which were secretly propagated by her school's headmistress, Sister Clarice Willow (Polly Walker).

"I've done a scene where I play three characters in one," Torresani said. "Season 1.5, the second half, third episode into it. Besides just that, I get to play five completely different characters, which is not like any female 16-year-old show character that I've ever seen before in my life."

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