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Need To Know: Sasha Roiz

After attending Syfy Channel's Upfront presentation event last week at New York City's Museum of Modern Art, I sat down to talk with Sasha Roiz who plays Sam Adama, the gay gangster on the Syfy Channel's hit show, Caprica, which is ending the first half of its season this Friday. We chatted about representing the gay community in the sci-fi world, his torso, and, among other things, dating Cylons. Out: You shot the pilot episode of Caprica. Was Sam pegged to be a regular character from the very beginning? Sasha Roiz: If the show got picked up, they said he had potential to become a recurring character, and when the show did get picked u,p they offered me a regular role. I always felt there was a lot of potential with this character. Will Larry, your husband, play a larger role in upcoming episodes? I can't promise that there will be a lot of me and Larry. Homosexuality on Caprica is such a nonissue, it would require a specific focus. Clearly, if a character in my position or in my line of work on another show were gay, it would cause a great deal of controversy, but here it's not really an issue, so there's no need to really explore the background. We touched upon it and displayed that it's a healthy and normal environment, and you're going to see Larry as more of a support for Sam. There's going to be a storyline where Sam questions his loyalties to his relationships all around him, including Larry. Sam's profession would have to be straining for Larry -- Well, yeah, he's married to a mobster. How did the producers tell you that Sam was going to be a gay character? Did they tell you during the pilot or later? I sat down with Jane Espenson, our initial show runner, and this was after the show had been picked up, and she told me at lunch, "'By the way, Sam's gay." Which kind of threw me off because it was never mentioned before, and my impression of who this character was, the nature of his work, I couldnt really envision it, but when we spoke about it, it made more sense -- it added this great element to his character, the storyline, and to the world. So it's definitely something that I was excited about and welcomed. Have you spoken with Ron Moore (creator and executive producer of Caprica) about the character and the couple's relationship? I know he had a gay couple on his last show, Virtuality. I have, which ironically I was supposed to be tested for Virtuality, but they wanted to test me for this. I spoke more about it with Jane, and she said that Ron had always envisioned in his head that Sam would be gay. You've already shot the entire season. What can we expect from the second half? I can't talk about it to a great capacity, but you'll see that the stories are more intertwined. The storylines and various characters aren't so divided -- they really tie in and connect with one another. There will definitely be a major storyline involving the Adamas and the Greystones. It will be very unique. Have you experienced any fandom yet? New York was the first real taste of that, and it was really exciting. It was a whole other level of fandom. They're not just fans of you being on television -- they're fans of the show, so they want to know everything having to do with the show. They are so invested in it. It's just phenomenal. I loved the questions. I loved their investment -- it's really something else. God forbid, but if you and Larry were to break up, is there any chance you would date a Cylon? Date a Cylon? Oh, I doubt it. Way too much... technology for my taste. No, I don't think there would be much dating Cylons. I mean I think if Larry and I were to break up Sam would go on a bender or something like that. How long does it take to put on those tattoos? The full torso? It takes about three hours. Was it your choice or the writers' choice to have you shirtless many times throughout the show? It was definitely not my choice! I think there were some notes coming in from the top saying, "You know, he doesn't look so bad. Why don't we make him shirtless as well?" It was scripted that way, but the tattoos cost a fortune. Less is more -- so you show it a couple times, and then you have to be very selective about when you show it again. One final question: I feel Sam is one of the best representations of gays on television right now, and I was wondering how you felt to be part of television history to a certain degree. It is a true pleasure and really an honor to represent a gay demographic. Not only is Sam interesting in and of himself, away from his sexuality, but it's ironic that his relationship is one of the only stable relationships on the show. It's just been so well received, and the gay community has been so incredibly supportive. It's very rare for an actor to play a role where you affect people on a personal level, not just for entertainment. I've had a lot of people tell me that, and it's really touching, and it's a wonderful responsibility to carry. It's been great, a great experience. Caprica's Season Finale airs this Friday, March 26 at 9pm EST on the SyFy channel.Send a letter to the editor about this article.
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