Caprica star Esai Morales sees parallels with these great stories

Esai Morales, who will play Joseph Adama on SCI FI Channel's upcoming Battlestar Galactica prequel Caprica, described his character's storyline in part as Rich Man, Poor Man meets The Godfather meets Brave New World. In the show, Adama butts heads not only with Cylon creator Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz), but also with his own brother, Sam (Sasha Roiz).

SCI FI Wire spoke to Morales earlier this week at SCI FI Channel's upfront presentation to advertisers and the media in New York. Caprica will premiere on SCI FI Channel in 2010, but the uncut and unrated pilot will be available on DVD (via Universal Home Entertainment) and as a digital download (via Universal Cable Productions) on April 21. Following are edited excerpts from our exclusive conversation. (Possible spoilers ahead!)

You've amassed an array of SF and horror credits that includes Jericho, Doomsday Man, The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit, The Hunger, The Outer Limits, Tales From the Crypt and more. Are you a genre fan, is it where the work has been, or is it a bit of both?

Morales: It's a combination. I've not done too much horror. I've done some stuff, but I've yet to really sink my teeth, for lack of a better pun, into somewhat that would traditionally be sci-fi/horror. Caprica is more mainstream, in a sense, because it deals with terrestrial issues before they go into outer space. So I still feel well grounded, and I'm still looking forward to doing some fun stuff. I want to play a werewolf or a vampire. It's just fun. It's fun to get out there and push the limits of your imagination.

And Caprica?

Morales: And on this show, the great thing is that we're dealing with a planet that's very much like ours, that's like our nation, and it has a lot of issues that we're dealing with. Terrorism. What it is to be a human being.

You play Joseph Adama. To your thinking, who is he and what drives him?

Morales: I think he's the moral spine [of the story]. He's somebody who came from the wrong side of the tracks, ... or the galaxy, or solar system, so to speak. They're from a planet that's more oppressed. He and his brother came from Tauron and establish their roots here, but they're still a minority. There are still ethnic tensions. So I'm a [civil liberties] lawyer who's trying to work on the right side of the tracks, and my brother is a gangster. It's like a Rich Man, Poor Man issue meets The Godfather meets Brave New World.

The goal of any series is for it to run several years. How prepared are you to play Joseph Adama now and into the foreseeable future?

Morales: As long as it takes, as long as they keep writing good material. The thing about these guys [Battlestar executive producers Ronald D. Moore and David Eick], they know when to pull the plug, as you can see with Battlestar. They didn't squeeze it until it became bad. They kept the level of excellence there. And if that stops [on Caprica], they will pull the plug. They won't wait until someone does it for them. And I feel safe in those hands.