written by Matt S (nerd & brother to a certain Nerd Fu founder)
“What would it take to kill Adama?”
This was the question asked of Edward James Olmos, expressing the amazing resilience of his character on Battlestar Galactica throughout the many seasons.
Being slightly older and knowing that Olmos has been acting for so long and creating such strong characters, I wondered the same thing about Olmos himself. Well, figuratively, and about his acting career.
The man was in Blade Runner, Miami Vice, American Me, Stand and Deliver, Hill Street Blues and West Wing. He had some time out of the main stream and not everything was a hit, but he never really stopped working. When he landed Battlestar he found a home and thinks it was an opportunity and a pleasure that he will never again experience. He and his older co-stars all felt that way, according to Olmos, but the “kids” as he called them didn’t seem to realize the gravity of it all at the time. As years pass and their careers wane we’ll see who else defies career death and who fades.
Olmos riled up the crowd with ease and straddled the line between soap box rants on Mexican representation in the entertainment industry, the responsibility of AI, and battlefield speeches including effective “So Say We All” shouts echoed by the crowd. He ended up reigning it in though to give some insight into his role in helping create the BG experience.
He said music is of key importance in crafting his roles in everything he does. When he played Adama he listened to the same music every day, seven days a week, for the entirety of filming the series. He impressed it upon the editors and directors and it became the influence for the music of the show.
“So Say We All” was in the script, according to Olmos, but not used quite in the way he ended up using it. It was his idea while filming the funeral scene early in the series to use it as a troop rallying cry to raise the morale of the group and fuel their human spirits.
“It set the whole tone of the show. ” he said, and I think it helped gather watcher interest as well, like we feel during real wartime when met with a common enemy.
Though not a fan of the final seasons, I admit that BG was a fantastic show and had a timeless strength to it, even bringing people to sci-fi that had never before watched.
To kill Adama, Olmos says it only takes “Ron Moore writing you off the show. ” As for Olmos’ career and the love for Battlestar, I think there’s a lot more life in them yet.