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Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

This is an interview from October 1, 2010 with Sasha Roiz from Caprica.

Sasha Roiz

Question:
Does the fact that Sam Adama is a Tauron, and thus an immigrant on Caprica, play a conscious role in your portrayal?

Sasha Roiz:
Yes. Obviously first off, is that a Cylon monitoring this conversation? That's pretty perfect. But 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.

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.

Question:
Are we going to see Sam have a chance to interact with the Cylons at some point in the second half of the season?

Sasha Roiz:
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. I've just seen the first two - maybe you haven't seen it but there's definitely some stuff coming out because Sam and Esai - Sam sorry and Joseph they start - they negotiate a deal with the Graystone - the Graystones. And so eventually that technology comes into the hands of the Ha'La'Tha 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. So you're definitely going to see some sort of interaction, yes.

Question:
We do see Joseph going more towards having a Mafia mentality than he had in the first ten episodes. Will we see any type of adjustment in what Sam does? Then like will he go the other way or will he go deeper in that or will his character do something totally different?

Sasha Roiz:
Well 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 a 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.

Question:
What do you find most challenging about your role?

Sasha Roiz:
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. 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.

Sasha Roiz:
But challenging, I don't know. I guess I never really saw it much as a - the challenge. It's funny. I just really so far it's just been really like pleasurable to portray it and, you know, be an occasional Tauron makes me kind of like, you know, that might be the challenging bit like whenever I have to start speaking in Tauron. But otherwise it's been a total joy to play.

Question:
There's such great chemistry between you and your cast mates. Was it instant or did it take a bit of time to develop?

Sasha Roiz:
Between - well I mean 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 - of course with the rest of the Adama family, with - certainly with Willy there's a chemistry.

And then, as we got to know each other we definitely developed a great sense of friendship amongst all of us. And it was great because when you're sequestered in another city for seven months, if you don't have that, it can be a real nightmare. But for us it was just a joy to get to know each other and spend time together. Even though a lot of our story lines didn't cross, we certainly had a lot of time together and the friendships developed.

Question:
You're a member of Twitter. Why is that such an important place for you to connect with fans of the show?

Sasha Roiz:
I think Twitter's just a fantastic vehicle for fans especially because - and for us who are on the other end of it because it's instant communication with people who otherwise don't really have access to you. And so even if it's short form communication, it's so immediate and it's - I think it's such a fulfilling way to communicate with friends or people you admire who's work you like. I think it's a very instant sense of gratification. And also for me it's a wonderful way to keep people abreast of the work I'm doing and Caprica and the events that are taking place. And it's an amazing instant tool for PR and for communication between fans and celebrities and friends and so on. So I think it's a wonderful tool.

Question:
The character of Sam has been really embraced by the gay community in a big way as a gay character. What does that mean to you as an actor that he's been embraced that way? And what have you heard from fans about Sam being gay?

Sasha Roiz:
I have, 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. I've done everything from the no hate campaign pictures to a few different projects on the side in my spare time to, you know, that's sort of like projects to raise awareness. 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.

Question:
In the second half of the season we're going to be seeing some more of Sam's back story. What will we learn?

Sasha Roiz:
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. And so you're going to see more of like what's turned him - sort of the tragedy that befell these kids and what led them to come to the - Caprica and under what circumstances and what duress and what ultimately led them to be the men they are today. 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.

Question:
Do you know how many episodes we'll see Larry pop up in?

Sasha Roiz:
I think there might be another what, three, another three episodes approximately because 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.

Question:
Sam is such a morally complex character, so how as an actor do you connect with some of the darker tasks he has to carry out and the things he has to do?

Sasha Roiz:
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.

Question:
I know Eric Stoltz directed an episode. Were you in that episode? And, if so, what was it like to work with him as a director?

Sasha Roiz:
Yes. 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 he understands the show as intimately as he does all of a sudden is directing you, it's - it really lends itself to some great work.

Question:
How do you view the level of irony in Caprica, especially concerning your character because he was involved in stealing the chip and then he and Joseph are looking it to sell the Cylons. I mean eventually it's going to come back around to where Sam's nephew will have to fight them.

Sasha Roiz:
Right. I mean, that's the wonderful thing for fans of Battlestar 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, 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 it's - 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

Question:
Sam has a pretty cool wardrobe. Do you have your eye on anything for when the season is over.

Sasha Roiz:
I miss fedoras, I'll tell you that much. It's kind of fun. I like the classic look that they built for us for sure. They did a decent job fitting the old with the new. I mean this is beautiful sort of retro feel yet in this incredibly advanced society. I kind of like - I just love the fact that Sam would at least where a tie. He almost looked like the most formal individual on the show considering his job title. And, you know, I just loved walking around in that leather jacket and that fedora. I mean it instantly evoked the character. So it was so - once the tattoos are on and that hat goes on it's like you instantly fall into the character.

Question:
I know that Sam is a really traditional kind of guy, not too into the technology. But since you mentioned Twitter if you, Sasha Roiz, had access to a holoband, would you use it and what would you use it to do?

Sasha Roiz:
I'd be a goner. If I had a holoband I'd feel like sequester in my house from this day on. I'd probably just turn into a mess. They'd find me like sitting rotting away in my underwear somewhere. I don't know. It's too tempting. It's like the ultimate drug, right. You can just escape to wherever you want to escape. So, I think it's a very, very dangerous tool. So I could understand why it's become such an issue in that world because who doesn't want to escape? I mean that's really, when you look at society, that's all people do, you know, from drugs to television to everything we do is really just a form of escape. So this ultimate form of escape would just destroy society.

Question:
If you had Sam standing in front of you right now and you could tell him one thing, what would you tell him? What advice would you offer him? Would you compliment him? Would you kind of give him some help with suggestions?

Sasha Roiz:
I would be like dude, enough with the tattoos already, like take it easy. Enough. We get it. I don't know if I'd want to have Sam standing in front of me truthfully. Yes. I don't know if I'd want Sam in front of me. Sam's the kind of guy you want flanking you, like making sure that everything's okay. I don't think he's the guy you kind of want to sit facing across because I think then you're pretty much in trouble.

Question:
So you wouldn't hang out with him for a beer or something?

Sasha Roiz:
Yes. It'd be interesting but I don't - I wouldn't know what to say. It's just kind of imposing - imposing character. I'd just sit there quietly sipping my beer trying not to get hurt.

Question:
Back to the show, what was your favorite episode to shoot?

Sasha Roiz:
I think I really enjoyed the one with Paula back in the first half - in - the 104. I can't ever remember the titles. I'm sorry. But I think it was called Gravedancing. And then I enjoyed this - a couple - I mean I enjoyed this next half, I really enjoyed where we took things. And so every day was really exciting, because as opposed to the first half where we sort of let it breathe and kind of like uncorked the bottle and let the thing breathe and just kind of bring you into it, in the second half, it really just starts to spin and everybody's storyline starts to get, you know, it starts to accelerate in pace and action.

And there was so much to do and so much to take care of. So it's really hard for me to say because there - you'll see like there's so many great things that will transpire in the finale which is mind blowing. And so there's definitely a few coming up I think that have our back story which is really exciting. There's the finale which I loved what they did with that and a few episodes leading from - I guess I just really love the second half. But it starts kind of like in the third - I think there's one called Dirteaters. It's a background for Joseph and Sam. It was a very interesting episode and then it kind of spins from there. It really takes off for us especially, so I'm looking forward to it.

Question:
The portrayal of the Tauron seem to have a very heavy ethnic and Mafia-like slant. Why do you think the writers chose this for the background of the Adama family?

Sasha Roiz:
I can't speak for the writers. I think just based on my own intuition, I think it's probably lends itself really well to you have such a noble character like William Adama and then coming from such a background, I think it's a very interesting journey for that family and this particular character and his storyline. How did he go from such a dark and criminal past to becoming who he did and who he became rather. And so I think that's probably very interesting to watch, as opposed to somebody who was born into that.

Question:
What did you do to prepare yourself for the role?

Sasha Roiz:
You know what? I watched - I read a few books actually on a lot of the different ethnic mobs back in the early part of the 20th century from the Jewish mob to the Irish mob and the Italian mob and it was very interesting. And, it was very enlightening because you just see these people who - they didn't come over to enact violence, it was just sort of - they were left no choice because they were just simply not being accepted in the society. And so, with no hope and no options, they just created their own laws and their own systems of laws. And so that's, you know, I kind of look towards that as my inspiration for the background to the - to this family. And that was very helpful. That was very helpful.

Question:
How close is the Adama family to the Cylon story? Do you think their background is what gives the Adamas the strength to deal with what they're faced with? And also how does your character influence the boy that grows up to be Adama - Admiral Adama?

Sasha Roiz:
You know what? I don't really generally know how to answer that the - how does, like how does he influence it. Well no, because the thing is I think it's more interesting for audiences to tie the knots and see the connections because I can only imagine so many different people and so many different experiences will influence him. And, there'll be so much more life for him to live until we sort of discover him later on, and so many things and catastrophes that will befall this world and all the, you know, all the things that he will undergo. So I don't know how personally but I think that's - generally I leave it to the fans to kind of connect those dots.

I think we're all we're seeing right now is sort of just the outset of this whole Cylon creation and the effect that it's going to have in our world. So right now, Joseph and I have no idea what it's capable of. I mean we're really quite naive. Only Daniel Graystone really knows the capabilities. And even he will be left, you know, surprised by some of the things that happened. But - so, I mean Sam specifically is completely old school. I mean you can see it in the car he drives and the way he lives, like he's very like technologically inept. So a Cylon to him is far more than he can understand. But he certainly can understand how to use these things to benefit him or benefit the things he believes in. You know, so that's the thing. That's where the tug of war comes in is like how can I use this to benefit, you know, what I believe in and that's where - that's sort of where, you know, where his relationship to the Cylon begins and ends.

Question:
How much of you do we see in Sam? What do you guys have in common? You're probably not a hit man but in terms of your personality what part of you is in there?

Sasha Roiz:
I think that's true of any character we play. There's definitely for most actors, I mean you bring a lot of yourself to it sometimes even, you know what, sometimes even before you realize it. Sometimes other people realize it before you do. I certainly think that when they cast me, they probably saw what they were imagining for Sam before I even knew it because for instance there were surprises that I wasn't aware of until after the pilot. Like for instance, Sam's sexuality and certain storylines that I was completely unaware of because he comes across so brutal in the pilot and then you see this other side of him, this whole family side and this relationship that he has.

And so I think the fact that they've made him so dynamic allows me to really kind of fit in to this character a lot easier than it if was a more one dimensional sort of character that sometimes you get on television. So yes, there's many aspects of me in there. I don't want to say which ones, but definitely, there's so many shapes to the character and the more there are, the easier it is for me to bring in elements of my personality. We all have that. We all have everything from black to white and everything in between. And so I'm able to bring different elements of myself to the character at all times. I - like for instance, the most immediate times were like my family was an immigrant family so I understand some of that. It's not to the same degree obviously, but I understand some of those issues. I understand the family unit. I have a very strong tight knit family. And then there's certainly other sides because we all have a darker side to ourselves and so you bring some of that in as well.

Question:
I was going to ask, how much input do you have into Sam, into his reactions or, I mean is this a show where you just showed up and stick to the script?

Sasha Roiz:
No, not at all. They've been wonderful about that. No they were great about that because it's the first year of the show and they left it up to us in many ways to bring in sort of the final details. And things that didn't work for us, you know, they were very accommodating to fix them. And I think ultimately their trust was laid on us as the characters and the actors to make the final choice as to how our characters would react in any given situation. So like the final sort of breath was ours. And they were very great about that. They were very helpful in allowing us to just find it ourselves. And I think it shows. It's an, you know, I think beautifully acted show and I think it's an incredibly talented cast. So I think they just trusted in us to finalize the characters.

Question:
As much as we all enjoyed the first half of the season there was some criticism of the pacing and there were sort of all these subplots running around that maybe didn't come together. And the producers kind of pretty much owned up to that. So, are we going to see something a little different? Is this the show that's going to continue to ask us for patience or are we going to see, you know, the coalition now?

Sasha Roiz:
No. I think we best do it. We've asked you for enough of your patience for this point. At this point if you can kind of sit back and make some popcorn and just kind of enjoy it because it's going to accelerate very quickly. We're going to get into some very complex storylines very quickly that are going to spin out of control and everyone's - every character's going to go scrambling trying to survive what's about to happen.

But everybody's in peril and everybody's got a remarkable storyline. And like I said, there's going to be a lot more action and I think you're going to be on the edge of your seats like trying to figure out who's going to survive and who's going to fall. Because the one great thing they do in the show is they kind of leave you guessing as to the ultimate survival of the characters. We know there's going to be a catastrophe so you never know who's going to be safe and I think that's a wonderful element. But like I said, the pace is definitely, definitely going to pick up so you can just sit back and enjoy it.

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