Esai Morales On 'Caprica'
Esai Morales plays an attorney with the ties to the underworld on SyFy’s cult hit Caprica, the prequel to Battlestar Galactica. “What I realized about this is that the show is very analogous to our lifestyle here [on Earth],” he told Uinterview in an exclusive interview. “So I didn’t have to go out and study life in other worlds as much as its home as far as the arc is concerned.”
Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY., Morales began early with his dreams of becoming an actor, enrolling in the School of Performing Arts in Manhattan. He began his career by performing in theater first and eventually made his debut in the 1983 film Bad Boys. Describing himself as an “actorvist,” Morales has starred in many movies that have been reflections of his own social and politics casuse, including movies such as The Disappearance of Garcia Lorca based on the Spanish Civil War and The Burning Season, based on the fight to protect rainforests.
Morales finds himself connecting bits of Caprica with what he sees in thw orld today. “I think what I’ve always felt about our media and our technology – it outpaces our spirituality, our connectivity,” he told Uinterview. “We’re being outpaced.”
- Q: Eric Stoltz, who stars on Caprica with you, when he had first received the script for the show, had it stolen out of his hotel room and that was when he really realized how fanatical the fans of the Battlestar series are. When did it dawn on you how fanatical people are about this franchise? - Uinterview
- A: Well, it’s interesting because I’d heard about it. When I mentioned that there was a prequel to Battlestar – a quarter to half the people I told, their ears were perked up. 'That’s a big show, you know.' And I thought, especially, when we went to [the comic convention] Comic Con, we were one of the biggest halls there with like 5,000 people, and it was filled up for the presentation of Caprica. The attention put on it was pretty heavy.
- Q: Were you a fan of Galactica? - Uinterview
- A: I wasn’t aware of it no, but I knew about the 70s show. And then I asked if I should go out and study it, and they said, 'No, no, no, it’s not necessary.' Subsequently, I’ve become much more familiar with it. But if you give me too much information, it loses its mystery.
- Q: Did you prepare for the role in a certain way to try to get into the character? - Uinterview
- A: Every role you do you approach in your own way and different roles require different preparation. What I realized about this is that the show’s very analogous to our lifestyle here, so I didn’t have to go out and study life in other worlds as much as it’s home as far as the arc is concerned. So emotionally every character I play, I’m doing parts of myself. Which parts precisely depend on the requirements of the role. I don’t really know how to answer that without giving too much away.
- Q: I’m sure people won’t mind that, if you give a little bit away. [laughs] - Uinterview
- A: I know, I know. I have to be careful now. Because of the fervid nature of the fans, the avid nature, I have to be very careful of what I say. Choose my words carefully.
- Q: So much of this show is resonant with what’s happening today. For example, the society that’s depicted in the show seems to be obsessed with technology and success. What do you think the parallels are between the show and today? - Uinterview
- A: I think what I’ve always felt about our media and our technology – it outpaces our spirituality, our connectivity. We’re being outpaced. It’s like giving a loaded gun to a child who at five years old, you may or may not know what they have or how permanent the damage they can cause can be. I don’t want to explain too much of it, but I see this as a way to look at ourselves and what makes us human. Why do we get up? Why do we love? I have so many different directions I could go in my head, but to answer your question, I think it’s a perfect mirror of how, if we’re not careful, the ghost could be destroyed by the machine.
- Q: There are parallels with today also in terms of terrorism. Obviously, that’s a big strand that goes through the series as well. What do you think about that? - Uinterview
- A: It’s just that things are not as they seem, in the real world and on the show. I don’t think the show can afford to mirror the real world exactly, I think it does it in broad strokes. It gets quite detailed for a weekly television show. It’s quite an undertaking, but if it gets too deep we’ll lose some of the audience. We have to deal with these on an unemotional level because the great shows tell these stories on a gut level and make us identify in these characters and beware in our lives. I don’t even think we have to try. If you watch it and you connect with it, then it resonates. If you stick with the show, it will stick with you.
- Q: What can we expect in future episodes? - Uinterview
- A: You have to give it a chance. I do believe that the first act of what we’ve done with the cast and the crew as writers and people who are behind the scenes they were literally finding themselves. And by the second half, it comes together. The show is finding itself through characters living and eventually making adjustments to those things and that takes the season to happen.
- Q: Do you have any experiences that sort of sum up your experiences of working on the show? - Erik Meers
- A: Our director, what he does is, he’ll let you bring your best shot to the table and he’ll go, “That stinks,” and it makes you find things that you weren’t aware of and that’s what I think he captures – great performances. You don’t plan for that. The general feeling is that we really love our jobs, and we want to make special moments happen.
- Q: Are you almost done with shooting? - Erik Meers
- A: I’m done completely. I think the show is wrapped shooting. We’re in the post-production process, just have to do some ADR, which is looping, some additional dialogue. I’ll do that tomorrow and in the remainder of the episodes and hope the audience enjoys this ride as much as we did making it.
- Q: You are also an activist. You worked on a project to promote something called the Department of Peace. Tell us about that. - Erik Meers
- A: That’s beautiful. We have a Department of War, we have a Department of Defense, of so-called Defense. How about a Department dedicated to conflict resolution and communication efficiency? That instead of focusing so much on capitalizing mankind’s inhumanity, which is what I think the present Powers That Be do.
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