Thursday, January 21

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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