Welcome to Mary McDonnell Vault, your online resource dedicated to actress Mary McDonnell. You better know Mary for her role as Captain Sharon Raydor for the TNT crime series The Closer & Major Crimes. But she also did others like Battlestar Galactica, Independence Day, Donnie Darko, Dances with Wolves, Sneakers and many others. Site is comprehensive of a big photogallery with events, photoshoots, magazines, stills, a media archive dedicated to all fans fanarts on Mary, an extensive press library to collect all the articles and interviews on her and a video gallery section for recorded interviews, sneak peeks and trailers of her projects. We claim no rights to know her personally and it's absolutely respectful of her privacy and paparazzi-free!!!
MCM Comic Con: Live Stage Panel
November 24, 2018
Admin Note: because of the high demand for a video of the live panel of Mary at MCM in Birmingham on Saturday, I thought this transcript could be helpful to you. So helped by my friend Silvia, we filled this resume for you to read and know what it was about. There is no video, it’s just a collection of my notes and her memories.
Mary enters and describes how she expected it to be in a tiny room instead of a podium in the middle of the convention hall. She greets people sitting in the audience and, after saying that British people are very funny, the questions start.
Question about how she deals with having to play a character that sometimes doesn’t reflect her political or moral views and how she prepares for it.
Mary uses Laura Roslin as an example and talks about having to understand Laura’s point of view and the reason why she makes the decisions she does. She says she needs to figure out the motivation that pushes a character to do certain things in order to play it properly even when their decision brings her out of her political and moral comfort zone. Laura’s motivation was the salvation of humanity.
Question about watching the original Battlestar Galactica series.
Mary tells a short story about how Mr. Moore asked her to be in BSG. She asked him if she’d have to watch the original series but, as her character wasn’t in it, he said no, but Richard Hatch (who played Apollo in the original show) was very upset and made her promise to watch it one day. Mary says she will honor that promise.
Question about imagining how big of a following the series (Battlestar Galactica) would have gotten.
Mary says that she had no idea it would be so huge, because she had never been a sci-fi fan and, at that time, communication between actors and fans wasn’t really a thing. She had no idea of the intelligence and passion the audience could have, but she knew something great was going to come out of the show when she read the pilot script.
Question about reprising her role as president, just not in fiction, but of United States of America.
Mary replies very honestly about the current situation in her country being unfortunate – to be polite. She believes she doesn’t have the knowledge of history and politics to play such an important role. She would probably consider it only if God himself would say the following line to her, “If you agree to be president I’d get rid of him now!”
Question about the podcast. (ladybampodcast.com)
Mary asks for a round of applause for Mina Sharpe , the person that brought up the idea of continuing with the podcast after the end of Major Crimes. Mary announces her next guest on the episode that will air on December 11th, and it’s none other than Lt. Andy Flynn, Tony Denison.
Question about on what she’s working on at the moment.
Mary explains she has not yet found the right thing to star in and is still looking, but she’s developing a couple of things as a producer. They are projects which she’s not yet ready to talk about.
Also she repeats that her every single contract she’ll sign for work will include a clause that states her characters cannot die on screen anymore.
Question about a possible remake of Battlestar Galactica and whether she would reprise her role as President or want to play another character.
Mary says she could not pass on being the President of the universe again, so she would maybe beg them to do flashbacks or explore the time on New Caprica.
Question about being interested in playing any other role in BSG.
Mary says she would love to play Starbuck and then she jokes that she woud love to spend half a day as one of Six reincarnations, because she, quote, “looks good in red”. She’d like to play a cylon for the ever changing outfits.
Question about knowing who the final five were during filming.
No one knew who they were. The only sure thing was that Laura was going to die and Mary had known that since before she took on the role. During a preliminary meeting with creators and producers that she requested before accepting the job, she was told that Laura would eventually die but not until the very end of the show, after the fleet finally managed to find Earth.
Question about tv shows or program she watches and would love to be on.
Mary says she loves British shows , especially Broadchurch. She also likes political shows, even if it’s not something she would go for helself, i.e. Madam Secretary. She really loves The Crown.
Question about being worried when cast for a TV show if it’ll go on for a long time or being typecast.
Mary says she’s not worried. As an actor as as a mother, it’s always been a question of whether she could work on a project for a number of years and, in the case of Battlestar Galactica, still raise her teenage son while commuting between Vancouver and LA. She will accept a job only if she thinks she can tell the story the right way. As for being typecast, she really doesn’t mind if it happens as long as the writing is good and powerful.
Question about Dr. Virginia Dixon in Grey’s Anatomy and whether she would like to reprise the role.
Mary is very clear about loving that character and, if asked, she would love to reprise the role but would only do so if Dr. Dixon was really needed in the story.
Question about how her trademark listed on IMDB (not wikipedia) is her ‘deep smooth voice’.
Mary laughs out loud at this. She had no idea her voice sounds like that to people, but she acknowledges that when she’s out an about, she can easily disguise herself, but the moment she starts talking, people immediately recognize her and that’s why she uses accents, tones ans pitches so she doesn’t get recognized. She also jokes that Wikipedia says she worked at a theater in Connecticut for 20 years but it actually was 3 months.
Question about how she finds working with a green screen or, in a more general sense, things that are not there in the room while the scene is playing out.
Mary talks about working with James and Tricia and how she had to pretend not to see Tricia in most scenes. She adds that regardless from what any actor says, it’s not easy working with a green screen, although she didn’t need to in the series. She remembers Katee Sackhoff struggling with some scenes.
Question about whether she thinks that Sharon and Andy (Major Crimes) deserved better.
Mary says that it would have been nice to have had something more to see, but at the same time she felt that what happened to Sharon was part of a process. She is aware of how upsetting what happened at the end of the show was and still is for fans.
When the girl asking the question tells her how nervous she is, Mary tells her the story of how in the movies Sneakers, she played opposite Robert Redford and confesses how nervous she was at the table read when she had to tell her forever crush, “We’re not getting back together” and ended up mumbling.
Question about advice regarding getting children into acting.
Mary talks about her experience with child actors, such as Sarah Jessica Parker and Alyssa Milano, and makes a point on being sure that the child is really willing to enter this business because acting puts a tremendous pressure on everyone and in some cases auditioning and being rejected, especially when very young, may be a problem.
Question about what appeals her the most: TV, movies or theatre.
Mary absolutely loves television. She reveals she has stage fright even after working in theatre for decades, but in front of a camera she’s fearless. She says TV is her baby and she loves the process it takes to build a show up with writers day by day.
Question about a character from a play or a book she would like to portrait.
For a long time Mary wanted to play Amanda Wingfield, from “The Glass Menagerie”, and she hasn’t given up on that thought yet. She also adds that she does not have the kind of brain that singles out one character and says she should play it.
— After the last question, Mary thanks people at the panel because she feels uplifted by the British spirit and cheekiness and says she really needed it.