Q&A: CAPRICA's Shasha Roiz
Here’s a lightly edited transcript of telephone Question and Answer call Cinefantasque Online took part in with Sasha Roiz, who plays Sam Adama on CAPRICA, which returns for Season 1.5 on Tuesday, October 5th at 10:00 pm ET/PT.
(Parathetical notes have been inserted for clarity, some are logical guesses at Mr. Roig’s less audible responses over a sometimes noisy line, others simply to provide the reader with background information.)
I asked whether the fact that Sam Adama is a Tauron, and thus an immigrant on CAPRICA play a conscious role in his portrayal. Sasha Roiz, whose family moved to Canada from Israel when he was in his early teens, replied in some detail.
“Yes, the immigration – the immigrant status of Sam plays a very, very large role. It’s very significant to the portrayal because it’s really sort of what his outlook on Caprica, it’s how he sort of perceives himself in relationship to the Capricans.
And there’s that constant reminder that he’s a second class citizen because he’s not a purebred Caprican. And so that bitterness and that enmity is always sort of present in his everyday, you know, in my portrayal of it and certainly in Sam’s activities.
And I think it’s very true to many immigrants in our world as well. They’re part of a society that simply will not absorb them and we see that in many examples throughout the world. Then their own secondary societies and sort of play by their own rules and their own laws, and much like we did in, America back at the turn of the century.”
Asked about interacting with the Cylons, created by Daniel Graystone (Eric Stolz) on the series, Roiz has this to say:
“I think you’ll see a lot of people interacting with Cylons. I think it’s basically what we’re driving towards is the introduction of the Cylons into this world. And so it’s going to definitely cross paths with just about everybody’s storylines.
…There’s definitely some stuff coming out because Sam and Esai (Morales, who plays Joseph Adama)—Sam and Joseph they start – they negotiate a deal withthe Graystones. And so eventually that technology comes into the hands of the Ha’La’Tha (the Tauron underworld organization that Sam is a part of on CAPRICA) and there’s certainly a crossover of interest for their purpose and it’s going to be a very interesting sort of tug of war.”
Regarding whether Sam Adama’s loyalties and point of view might change, the actor repiled:
“You’ve always seen Sam as a very loyal soldier of the Ha’La’Tha and the main sort of dilemma that he’s going to be facing is a certain loyalty based on some decisions that are made. So you’re going to see his struggle with – within himself and within the organization, and his brother as well about sort of the future that he’s going to take and the future that, that the path that he’s going to go on ultimately.
So there’s going to be certainly fractions within their story lines and within their loyalties.”
Questioned if he finds the part of the hitman/family man challenging, Sasha Roiz repiled:
“Challenging? Oh I mean, every role I find challenging in its own way. This one I guess I don’t really find it especially more challenging than any other role I’ve played. In fact, it kind of brings about certain elements that I’ve always kind of enjoyed playing.
I just find it really fascinating how he’s such a dynamic character. And in fact, that makes it almost easier in some ways to play because there’s so many facets to the character from, you know, the harshness that he portrays in the world to the softness that he has with his family and towards Willy (young William Adama, played by Sina Najafi).
And there’s so many various elements to him, the way he’s loyal within his organization and yet he’s such a criminal outside of that organization. So it makes the character in some ways even more fun and a little easier at times to play because there is such a balance to him. He really isn’t one dimensional and it makes it a lot of fun to play.
…The first person I really worked with was Esai. And that chemistry was very quick. He’s such a friendly and outgoing individual and he’s such a talented actor. And we instantly found a chemistry like right back in the pilot even. And so that was very simple and that was the most important (thing) – of course with the rest of the Adama family, with – certainly with Willy there’s a chemistry.
In the world of CAPRICA, gay marriages are unremarkable and accepted. Asked how his character has been received by SF fans and the gay community, Roiz indicated he was very pleased.
“I absolutely love that facet of the character and I love that we’ve tackled it in a way that’s been completely unique to television. And it’s been nothing but a wonderful experience. People have been completely receptive. People have been incredibly supportive.
The gay community has been remarkable… And they’re incredibly strong and very cohesive and supportive community and it’s great to tap into that and I’m really, really pleased that they’re enjoying it, enjoying the portrayal.
“Well the back story—I don’t know if it’s necessarily going to tackle anything as far as the sexuality because as you’ve seen, the world that we live in doesn’t really—there’s no reason to particularly delve into that because it’s a non-issue.
But you will see more of Sam and Larry. You will see a little bit more of that partnership and the kind of life that they have and the kinds of strings that they have due to obviously Sam’s involvement in the mob. So you will see more examples of that. …Sam’s going to be going through quite a bit of stuff and you’re going to see Larry there as a support for sure for some of the major blows that are about to come.”
Asked for further details about playing a character with a distinct dark side. the actor expanded on his approach.
The darker stuff is not that difficult, in a sense that when you kind of—when you kind of like truly believe the, you know, Sam’s perspective on life and he’s a very black and white character. And he doesn’t have a lot of room for doubt. And he’s very much a soldier. And so when he’s given an order, it’s very much like a soldier has to go out and perform the order.
There will be a little bit more— like I said, there’ll be doubts placed upon him for the first time, and that’ll be really interesting to see, the sort of torment he has as someone who’s always taking orders unquestionably, and then all of a sudden is arrested and has to start to question his life and his loyalties which he’s never had to do before. And that becomes very interesting to portray.
Some of the darker elements, when we play those out, I don’t really see him very differently than a soldier carrying out certain duties and missions that he has to do. And there’s really no room to question them at all.
His thoughts on co-star Eric Stolz directing an episode?
Eric directs I think the very first episode, airing this Tuesday. It was great. Eric’s a (remarkably) talented director. I mean he’s been working on stuff since we wrapped as a director. And it was very interesting to watch him wear two hats so to speak, and to watch him switch from director to actor because his storyline was quite heavy at that episode and so it wasn’t easy for him.
So he was always very aware even while he was performing of what was happening behind the scenes. And it was remarkable to see him being able to switch so quickly because I think for him it was the first time he was directing himself as well.
So, that was really fun to watch. But as a director he was incredibly respectful. It’s obviously a strange transition when all of a sudden one of your co-stars is directing you. So he was very respectful and very gracious about it. And he did a great job. He was remarkably easy to work with because (when someone who) understands the show as intimately as he does all of a sudden is directing you, it really lends itself to some great work.”
Asked about the irony of the future Admiral Adama’s family being so closely invovled with the creation of the Cylons, Sasha Roiz had a well-thought-out answer.
“That’s the wonderful thing for fans of BATTLESTAR (GALACTICA) is that they get to see it on two different levels and I think it’s what makes it really interesting and compelling for the fans of BATTLESTAR is to be able to watch an entirely different saga but at the same time connecting to something that they’ve already loved and they could see certain elements playing themselves out and foreshadowing.
And so I love whenever we have a little nod, you know, cheeky little nods to CAPRICA like that. I think it always lends itself beautifully and the Internet’s always lit up right after those shows with people trying to connect the dots, you know, having a good time with it. So…it’s a lot of fun for sure.
But like (producer) David Eick always says, you know how World War II ends. You either — you’re still kind of interested in seeing this play out, or this battle play out or the different characters involved on the course.
So there’s always room for these great stories even though you may know what the outcome will be. How we get there is a whole other thing.”