I ran into Edward James Olmos at the Television Critics Association party for CBS, The CW and Showtime. Olmos will be appearing on Dexter this season. By the end of our conversation, a crowd had gathered to hear Olmos’ thoughts on the science of living forever. I had his full attention though, and he even addressed me by name at a few points.
CraveOnline: Who are you going to be playing on Dexter?
Edward James Olmos: I’m playing a professor of theology and it’s quite interesting. I really do practice what I teach so it becomes a really interesting understanding.
CraveOnline: What kind of theology is it and how does it apply to Dexter?
Edward James Olmos: Most of the work that I’ve done is ancient, so it’s the roots. We ponder a lot of the roots of the basics about existence.
CraveOnline: Is Dexter a show you followed for the past five seasons?
Edward James Olmos: No, no. As a matter of fact, I just caught up to it. They were very kind, they gave me all the episodes so I went through the entire five years.
CraveOnline: How did the role come to you in the first place?
Edward James Olmos: They asked me if I would partake.
CraveOnline: Were you looking for another series?
Edward James Olmos: No, I wasn’t looking. I really appreciated the writing. It’s very well written.
CraveOnline: Is this professor of theology an equal match for Dexter?
Edward James Olmos: No, he outdoes him in almost every way. It’s really very dark. You mix religion and homicidal tendencies, you’re going to get into a dark space, the darkest of the five years.
CraveOnline: How does Dexter cross his path?
Edward James Olmos: Well, you have to see the show because everything’s a spoiler. I never talked about Battlestar either because there was no way to talk about it. Every time you’d talk about it, people would ask me very pertinent questions. I’d try to make you understand and I’m stuck, because you really don’t want to know. What you want to do is experience it and that’s really the best way to see Dexter, as an experience.
CraveOnline: When you talk about playing a dark role, is that something that sticks with you?
Edward James Olmos: I separate them. I’ve been doing this a long time.
CraveOnline: Was there ever a time where you had to learn how to keep things separate?
Edward James Olmos: Yeah, basically at the beginning you try to understand what you’re doing. That’s why I got into it, because I was trying to understand what I was doing as a human being. Then you get to learn how to do it. After 46 years, you kinda get it.
CraveOnline: Did you happen to hear that the movie Bad Teacher has a bit where she shows Stand and Deliver to her class?
Edward James Olmos: Yeah, they asked me if they could use it.
CraveOnline: What kind of legacy has that film had?
Edward James Olmos: A pretty strong one with respect to what that person did to so many people. He really helped a lot of kids. We average about 200,000 people you will touch. You touch millions because you’re putting out information and people are receiving it, but the average person, whatever they’re doing will touch about 200,000 people in their lives. Multiply that by the last 10 years he touched 250 students per year that he taught Calculus to. I don’t know if you ever took Calculus, but it’s very hard. I went to Math Analysis. I never took Calculus.
CraveOnline: I was always good at math in high school so I tried Calculus in college. That stumped me.
Edward James Olmos: It wouldn’t have stumped you and stopped you had you had him. That’s the truth. That’s the difference.
CraveOnline: What is the status of the Battlestar Galactica graphic novel you’re developing?
Edward James Olmos: Oh, God willing, we have to work on it a little more. Right now I’m working with Bob Layton. Bob Layton is the man who did the Iron Man re-imagining that is used today. That’s Bob Layton. He’s written with my son a piece of work that we’ll be doing. We’ve been working on a very strong graphic novel on the conquest of the Americas. It’s really, really powerful. You’ll enjoy it. You probably don’t read comic books, Fred.
CraveOnline: I’m afraid not as much anymore.
Edward James Olmos: They’re beautiful. The things that are coming out now are just so good. The stuff you can get for your iPad is amazing.
Crave Online: Will your comic be available digitally also?
Edward James Olmos: Yeah. Oh yeah.
CraveOnline: Do you have any collaboration with Ron Moore on that?
Edward James Olmos: No, I’m working with Marc Guggenheim on the Conquest with Robert M. Young who’s writing it. I’m working with Ron Moore on another piece that will be quite interesting if we pull it off. It’s a series also.
CraveOnline: The last thing I’d want to ask you about is Blade Runner keeps coming out in different versions. What is your relationship with that film in the year 2011?
Edward James Olmos: Pretty strong. I think it’s stronger now than it was when it came out in 1982. Blade Runner really has found itself. It took many years for the public, well the United States of America, to find it. When it came out, it was not received in the accolades it was received in London and in England. They gave it all the highest awards possible. The United States never gave it any critical acclaim ever. It started maybe about 10 years ago, started gaining a really strong sense of understanding. Now it’s probably hailed as I think the best sci-fi movie ever made, to date. It reads truer now. I think they were a little further ahead of what’s going to be happening in 2019. I think if we’d said 2039 we may have been closer, not to the cultural dynamic because I think we were right on there, but flying cars. We’re close, but not quite there yet. I think we’ll get there.
CraveOnline: I can’t imagine licensing average consumers to fly a car.
Edward James Olmos: I think it’s going to be happening. The speed we’re traveling now in development, it’s really changed guys. I don’t know if you’re reading very much of those guys who are working in medicine and rejuvinational situations that are happening on the planet. It’s changing so fast. If you’re not ready for it, you won’t understand this statement: You will live to be 1,000. And, the question that will be asked of you in your lifetime is: How long do you want to live? Ponder on that for a little bit, Fred.
CraveOnline: You know what? I’ve thought about that since Highlander.
Edward James Olmos: Well… Most people don’t realize that it’s true. All you have to do is go on Can We Live Forever? Nova, which was done on Nova almost a year ago. The LA Times apparently went on it two days ago. My son says, “Get a load of this?” On the cover of the LA Times there’s a story about rejuvinational medicine. In Harvard University, they’ve reversed aging. I’ll say it again, Fred. They HAVE reversed aging, on mice. They took an old mouse and they made it young. The first time in the history of the planet.
CraveOnline: I think living to 90 or 100 is good enough for me.
Edward James Olmos: Is it? Not me. I’m in for the long haul. I want to be around for 500 or 600 years at least.