Mary McDonnell, Battlestar Galactica
In Part 1 of TV Guide's interview with Mary McDonnell, the accomplished actress teased the shocking wrap-up of Battlestar Galactica's third season (the finale airs Sunday at 10 pm/ET). Here, in Part 2, the topics are vipers, U.S. presidents, and whether a show such as BSG — and herself, in particular — can ever convert Emmy buzz into grabbable gold.
TV Guide: You seem to have a flair for playing women who persevere in the face of extraordinary personal hardships — Passion Fish,
Mary McDonnell, Battlestar Galactica
Don't let that soft voice fool you. Mary McDonnell is one iron maiden when it comes to leading the survivors of a decimated civilization as President Laura Roslin on Sci Fi Channel's Battlestar Galactica (Sundays at 10 pm/ET). As the season finale nears and Emmy buzz begins building, TV Guide welcomed the opportunity to speak with the accomplished actress. Here, in Part 1 of our Q&A, McDonnell previews the big trial and even bigger tribulations to come.
TV Guide: Is Roslin's motivation for trying Baltar (played by James Callis) vengeance or justice? Mary McDonnell: Oh, I think it's justice. I think there is a tremendous personal frustration with regard to the man himself because of what she's been through
Tricia Helfer and James Callis, Battlestar Galactica
Acting on Sci Fi Channel's Battlestar Galactica (Fridays at 9 pm/ET) can be torture. Case in point: Fan favorite James Callis is lying in a beautiful, zen-like chamber on the show's soundstage in Vancouver, but the visual serenity of the locale is repeatedly shattered by his head-splitting screams.
This week's episode finds Callis' character, Gaius Baltar, held prisoner by the Cylons, who suspect he has information about a virus that could kill them. When a full-body electroshock — administered by the ruthless Cylon ringleader D'Anna (Lucy Lawless) — doesn't elicit the desired confession, she chooses a wicked-looking item that pierces the eardrum. His screaming begins anew.
After three-plus hours of this sadism, lunch is called,
Question: Please, please, please give us a hint as to which actress was missing from the BSG set (Ask Ausiello 7/5). Even if it's just in asterisks! Seriously, I'll give you my firstborn for this information!
Answer: It wasn't Mary McDonnell. Or Katee Sackhoff.
Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell
Question: Did I see you at the Museum of Television and Radio on Friday for the Battlestar Galactica panel discussion? Curious on your thoughts on the trailer snippet for Season 3 (I'm still reeling) and desperate to know if the cast dropped into the reception upstairs.
Answer: Yes, that was me sitting in the second row trying mightily to suppress my inner geek — and failing miserably. What a fraktastic night! For those who missed out, 400 lucky fans were treated to a screening of the Season 2 finale, followed by a Matt Roush-moderated Q&A session with Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Jamie Bamber, and executive producers Ron Moore and David Eick. Highlights included Bamber joking about Apollo's weight gain, saying the new season starts with him on Jen
Zach Braff, Scrubs
Question: I know that you have finally given The Office the credit it is due, but there is still an argument that Scrubs should be paired with My Name Is Earl. Why does it have to be one or the other? I grew up with two full hours of NBC comedy hits on Thursday nights. Why can't NBC put together another Thursday-night powerhouse and have all three of the shows on Thursday?
Answer: You would think, wouldn't you? (And more than a few weighed in with this very thought.) So let this be my latest (by no means my first) cry for NBC to have some common sense and decency and put Scrubs back where it belongs, on Thursdays, if not to close this season out — that seems too much to ask — then to jumpstart next season. The idea of Scrubs leading into an Earl-Office combo, with some unknown comedy filling the first half hour, is my idea of comedy heaven. Unfortunately, NBC has always had a tin ear for this sort of thing, and even in the best of days (the Cheers/Seinfeld/Frasier eras), there was
Katee Sackhoff and Jamie Bamber, Battlestar Galactica
Question: Last week's Battlestar Galactica, "Downloaded," was the most perfect hour of television I have seen all year. If Tricia Helfer, Grace Park and Jim Callis don't get Emmy nods for that piece of perfection, then the whole race is a sham.
Answer: You'll get no argument here, Brian. And after watching an advance screener of the two-part season finale — airing March 3 and 10 — I'm going to add the incomparable Mary McDonnell to the Emmys' must-list. Oh, speaking of the big climax, it'll probably come as no surprise that it's fan-frakking-tastic. Before it's over, two major characters will get hitched, two closeknit characters will become estranged and another Cylon model will be revealed. But the big twist comes in the final 30 minutes of the second episode. All I'll say is it's a Galactica first and it's something you'll have to read to
OK, I know it's Dana Delany, but I think that given her obsessive collecting of files and other tin-foil-hat doings, we're not dealing with the compassionate Colleen McMurphy here. But before I'm proved right (with the hostage taking) and wrong (about the conspiracy-nut angle — she was actually correct about Adama having a Cylon onboard), we get to see poor Billy proposing to Dee, only to have his heart ripped out. It obviously tears her up inside, though, since she immediately dolls up and tells Apollo all about it over a romantic dinner on Cloud Nine.
Then everything goes Die Hard, with Delany's bitter widow, Sesha
Question: I'm sooo angry right now. Mariska Hargitay wasn't nominated for a Golden Globe. What gives?
Answer: Now, you know I love my Marish, but she won last year. The Golden Globes have always been about the next big thing, hence the first-time nods for such AA faves as Grey's Anatomy, Patrick Dempsey, Sandra Oh, Matthew Fox, Prison Break, Wentworth Miller, Everybody Hates Chris, My Name Is Earl and Steve Carell. It almost makes up for the absence of Veronica Mars, Lauren Graham, Kelly Bishop, Kristen Bell, Ellen Pompeo, Katherine Heigl, Battlestar Galactica and Mary McDonnell. (I said "almost.")
Question: Did you really eat Tofurkey for Thanksgiving? Are you a vegetarian?
Answer: I'm a fish-eating vegetarian, so technically that makes me, um, a hypocrite. And no, I didn't end up having Tofurkey. Sadly, I'm the only
hypocrite nonmeat-eater in my family, so it hardly seemed worth the trouble. Instead, I binged and purged on stuffing, mashed potatoes and broccoli, and then for dessert I opened my Battlestar Galactica Season One DVD and gobbled up the first 10 hours in one sitting. That's right, if you haven't figured it out by all the gratuitous frakking, BSG is my new unhealthy obsession. I'm mortified that I failed to include the show or Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell on our Dream Emmy ballot last June. Talk about a frakkin' inexcusable oversight. But if Season 2 is half as good as Season 1 (and I hear that it is), you can be sure those wrongs will be righted when bal