After showing the pilot for Caprica at the Paley Festival on Monday night, Caprica and Battlestar Galactica creators Ron Moore and David Eick answered questions for the audience and moderator/devoted BSG lover Seth Green, joined by writer/producer Jane Espenson and Caprica actors Eric Stoltz, Esai Morales, Paula Malcomson, Alessandra Toreson, and Magda Apanowicz for a Q&A session that focused a lot more on That Other Show Moore and Eick Made than on Caprica.
Before the showing, however, Eick noted that they were so nervous before showing the BSG pilot that they employed some, um, libations. A little more comfortable now, he invited Moore to join him in the new tradition of christening the maiden voyage of Caprica by enjoying libations right there on stage, pulling out a flask full of tequila. And invoke the gods or the fates they did, swigging away. And letting Seth Green do so, as well.
Let us dispense with the comments about red-headed stepchild Caprica first, as it was less the focus of the discussion–look for a report on Battlestar-related content in a separate post.
- Speaking of red hair, Green asked Eric Stoltz if, as a redhead, he feels enormous pressure to change his hair color. While Stoltz did not really answer the question, he did note that Green is currently sporting a purple mohawk. Green claims this is just the latest in a long line of poorly considered hair decisions on his part.
- If Caprica hits it big, Stoltz may need a little training on dealing with fandom, as he didn’t really seem to get into the swing of charmingly answering questions until the very end.
- Paula Malcomson, on the other hand, was a hoot, spanking people both literally and figuratively. Possibly because Green at one point mistook her for someone on 24.
- After 90 minutes of the pilot and an hour of questions that had nothing to do with the show she was on, poor Apanowicz had to escape to the restroom in the middle of the Q&A. Since no one was asking anything about Caprica, she could have gone for an In and Out burger while she was at it. When she was (finally) asked about landing the role, however, she noted that she’d had infected wisdom teeth incisions at the time and that they cast her from her audition tape–and how grateful she was they’d trusted her from only that.
- When asked how she came to the pilot, Toreson talked about liking that Zoe was a strong, intelligent character, but then claimed that it was exciting to get this opportunity because there are so few roles for young female actors out there. It is possible the audience snickered at this claim. Perhaps she meant there are few roles for young female actors in which they play computer geniuses who become alleged terrorists over monotheism? Because she might be right about that.
- In response to the same question, Morales talked about how he was sure he wouldn’t get the role because he saw someone who looked more like Edward James Olmos than he does auditioning. Under pressure from Stoltz to reveal who that actor was (“Was it Danny Trejo? Was it Dabney Coleman?”), Morales went from refusing to answer to saying it was a successful actor to saying the actor’s first initial was A to saying it was A Martinez. Way to obfuscate there, buddy (thank goodness they went with Morales–especially since he has a killer Olmos impression).
- Malcomson originally auditioned for private school headmistress (counselor?) Sister Clarice, the role that eventually went to Polly Walker.
- Stoltz finally warmed up a bit during this question, teasing Morales and then telling his own tale of woe about filming in Provo, UT, (“Provo. Utah. It…was tough”) and getting and then ignoring the script, tossing it on his dresser. From which the maid stole it at the behest of a Battlestar fan. Which was when Stoltz realized he might have something big on his hands and he should maybe read the script. That he no longer had.
- Morales also thought the current BSG still had Dirk Benedict and had been running for 30 years.
- Given that Caprica opens 58 years before the robotcalypse that kicks off Battlestar Galactica, the actors “expect” to do 58 seasons.
- Jane Espenson was willing to use the term “soap opera” when referring to Caprica as more serialized than BSG.
- The actors were all full of praise for director Jeffrey Reiner, who set up enough cameras that acting felt like theater and who was more than willing to tell them when they were crap.
- Moore, Eick, and Espenson were insistent that they not focus much at all on telling Joseph Adama stories that allow BSG viewers to connect too many dots as to how little Willie grows up to be Admiral Adama.
- Along the same lines, they are trying really hard to resist the temptation to make cute litte references to Grandpa Agathon or a line of musicians named Thrace or to one of young William Adama’s teachers being named Roslin. One of the things they feel they have to do is “destroy Battlestar Galactica“–changing the look, the dynamics of relationships, the way the story unfolds–and making too many connections back (forward?) to BSG, no matter how winking, would undermine that. No flashforwards, no overt references–Caprica is its own show.
- They also know that means they’ll lose some fans in translation–but they think they’ll gain some, too.
Overall, they seemed excited and hopeful–a lot of the audience seemed to be, too. I’m off to see if Morales’ uttering his name summoned Dirk Benedict, and if he has anything discouraging to say about how Caprica won’t work because a teenage girl is meant to hand out babies instead of computer programs.