Mary McDonnell Talks ‘Battlestar’ Finale
March 23, 2009
Article taken from Page Six
By now we’ve all seen how “Battlestar Galactica” ends — what did you think? Like, love or loathe? Personally, I found the two hours to be a triumph as far as series’ finales go. Sure, there were about 8 million endings, but with so many loose threads to be tied up, what could they do beyond killing everyone and calling it a day?
And while I am still unclear on exactly what Starbuck was — angel? — the resolution for President Roslin was crystal clear, and beautiful. After checking out the super-sized saga, I chatted with star Mary McDonnell, who was also reeling from having seen the finale for the first time at Sci-Fi’s super secret screening last Monday.
Beware: If you haven’t seen the episode, this interview will ruin some of the biggest shocks the finale served up!
PopWrap: What an amazing finale. The scene with Roslin and Adama in the raptor was simply heartbreaking. I know that was also the last scene you and Edward James Olmos filmed — did that make it harder?
Mary McDonnell: Oh yes. It was so much more difficult because what would happen is we’d be in the middle of a take and I’d feel Eddie’s tears on my hand, which would make me start to cry. But I can’t cry because I’m, you know, supposed to be dead. So we’d have to cut, dry everyone’s eyes and try it again. In all, I think we had to film that scene seven times because it was so emotional.
PW: What did you think of the finale?
Mary: I think they did a great job! I need to rewatch it a few times to really get the scope of it, but I was astonished. I think the ideas and themes that Ron [Moore, creator] was able to bring together in the opera house was incredible! That sequence — where it’s cutting between the ship and the opera house — that wove itself into the dreams we all shared was such a brilliant piece of editing.
PW: Do you have a favorite moment from the finale?
Mary: I absolutely loved the idea that Earth was so much more than we thought it could be. And also the idea of dreams informing reality more than we’re willing to admit. You know, I think what the show ultimately was asking was for us all to be more mindful.
PW: How so?
Mary: It’s like the Buddhist say, you might be talking to Buddha and not know it. We never know all the facts and the more we’re mindful of how we deal with people, the more opportunity we have to evolve.
PW: The final reveal — that the whole show took place thousands of years in the past blew me away!
Mary: Wasn’t that wild! I love that, it was amazing.
PW: It clearly affected you as a person, yes?
Mary: Oh yes. Towards the end of the season, if I was filming a scene where Roslin was moving a lot, I had to go to the chiropractor. I couldn’t have played her in this way for a long time — nobody could or should. But the physiology teaches you so much about that person. I really appreciated the kind of world that brought me to as an actor.
PW: How much of Roslin’s arc did you know coming in?
Mary: From my very first lunch with Ron after I was offered the part, he told me. I asked when would she stop having cancer and he told me she never would. She would go into remission but the disease would come and go. That it will be a journey but always an issue for her.
PW: That’s got to be a bit intimidating, knowing that lies ahead.
Mary: It was very intimidating. But what I loved was that I was constantly surprised. When it reentered, how it reentered, when it went away, how it went away.
PW: Is it hard to look at new projects coming off an experience like “Battlestar Galactica?”
Mary: Definitely. I loved playing an on-going character and living in her. I really loved this more than I ever dreamt I would. I want to be careful because this was an extraordinary experience and it’s going to take a minute to process. I felt this way after “Dances with Wolves” too. I want to make sure that whatever I do next is as connected to the world as “BSG” was. That was what was so extraordinary about this material, the relevancy made it well worth doing at all times. And so, you felt like a foot soldier and that was a fantastic feeling!