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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.