Friday, July 27, 2012

Mary McDonnell Has a Type (Of Character. Stop Being Dirty.)

Dan Ingram of Fear the Cacti and Crossover Appeal is now a regular contributor! You can read his previous posts herehere, and here.

There’s a saying that in literature there are only a certain number of stories you can tell, everything else is in how you tell that story. It’s something like that. I’m a “writer” at the moment. Once someone pays me to do this shit, I’ll look into it more.

I’m a continuity nerd. I’m the kid that noticed the strange flip-flopping of Marty McFly’s jacket in Back to the Future. Or that in the end of Across the Universe the cops standing outside the recording studio inexplicably have batons in one shot, then don’t in another. 

Apparently these cops were also magicians.

There’s something else that I’ve noticed though, and it’s the striking similarity some actors have to characters that they played in other films or TV shows. Like freakishly similar.

Take for instance:

Married to Lonestar.

Versus:

Best President in the history of everything.

Let’s ignore the fact that I somehow managed to find two pictures of Mary McDonnell with two strapping young white males standing immediately to her left. The latter being more strapping than the first because I wanted to look like Jamie Bamber the instant I saw him on this show.

The similarities of McDonnell’s characters, in this case First Lady and President of the Colonies respectively, are pretty apparent right off the bat. Political office, both science fiction franchises, and both are against alien forces that seemingly overwhelm the human population.

Diving deeper, you’ve got to admit that she looks strikingly similar in both pictures. Maybe that’s just a good color for Ms. McDonnell. I mean she’s an older lady I wouldn’t mind having a shot with. And you can’t do THAT much to change your appearance from film to film. I mean, Bill Pullman looks almost identical in every film he makes.

But it’s the characters themselves that seem to be tied on a much deeper level. In Independence Day, she’s a stubborn President’s wife that refuses to listen to her husband despite the impending danger. She stands up to her man basically.

Now, in BSG, she’s a member of the Presidential cabinet that has just found out she’s dying of cancer. When she’s sworn into office, she stands her ground against Commander Adama and tells him basically that even though they’re at war, the government will still exist and will stand up to the military. Again, she stands up to her man.

In both instances, she is a powerful, strong woman that has her own thoughts and will not be overrun by the main man in her life. 

She wears the much more stylish pants of the relationship.

Coincidence? Maybe. Probably. Or just casting a very specific type of actress for a very specific type of role.

There’s one other thing: she dies in both Independence Day and BSG. With her lover by her side. In a way that the doctors try to stop but can’t.

Did the Twilight Zone music just start playing in your mind? Because it should have.

Like I said above, there’s probably a reason that McDonnell ended up as this role in both franchises. Ron Moore has openly said that the roles of Roslin and Adama were specifically written for the actors that portrayed them. So maybe he saw Independence Day and then when writing BSG, Moore couldn’t get the image of her character out of his head.

It is weird that McDonnell could draw some sort of weird continuity line between Roslin and First Lady Whitmore. Somehow they’re genealogically connected and their fashion sense survived the Colonists from BSG integrating into Earth’s primitive culture. Maybe that’s just wishful thinking.

Then again maybe I have another celebrity crush. That list seems to grow by the day. 

Though her “husband” will always be the owner of my first "broner". Ed. I wish I'd never heard that word.

Dan Ingram works in television and has his Master's in Screenwriting from New York Film Academy. He likes his ladies aged like a fine wine.

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