Whatever Happened to “Animal Mother”?

Animal Mother

I’m in a Joss Whedon phase since last year and last week I finally got a chance to watch his movie Serenity, a sequel to his early terminated series Firefly which I haven’t watched yet.

I’m not going to review the movie here, I just wanted to write about something that surprised me.

I don’t think that anyone who has ever seen Full Metal Jacket is likely to forget   Animal Mother (Adam Baldwin). It’s a controversial character and an iconic one at the same time.

Adam Baldwin

Even those only slightly familiar with Whedon’s work, be it Buffy, Angel or The Cabin in the Woods, know that he loves to cite, quote and allude. When I watched Serenity one of the crew looked uncannily familiar but I couldn’t say at first why. Only after half an hour it dawned on me “That’s Animal Mother” – and sure it was, or rather it’s Adam Baldwin, starring as Jayne Cobb. 18 older but still very recognizable. Cobb doesn’t only look like Animal Mother, he also talks like him.

It’s so typical for Whedon to take a character like this and to use him in a series like Firefly which is some sort of sci-fi/western blend. Just one of the many reasons why I’ve come to love what he does.

10 thoughts on “Whatever Happened to “Animal Mother”?

  1. I think that any similarities between Animal Mother and Jayne Cobb are purely because:

    a) He’s a Baldwin


    b) he’s an, at best, c grade actor


    • He definitely is a c grade actor but he isn’t just “a Baldwin”, it’s Adam Bladwin in both films and knowing Whedon it’s no coincidence but whether he aimed for parody or homage… not sure.

  2. Ivor Janci says:

    Just to clarify, Adam Baldwin is not “a Baldwin”, which most people would think means Alec, Stephen, Daniel, and William. Though he seems to be typecast as a tough guy, he’s a delightful character (as evident by his role in the late Chuck TV series) actor.

    • I agree, I said that in reply, not just “a Baldwin” but Adam Baldwin and not even related to the others. I’ve only seen him in Full Metal Jacket and Serenity and if he’s playing different roles otherwise, it confirms my assumption that Whedon didn’t just cast Adam Baldwin but Adam Baldwin as Animal Mother. And maybe not a c grade actor, then. Thanks for clarifying.

  3. the war movie buff says:

    I looked at his page on IMDB and this dude has been in a lot of stuff. However, I think he will probably have Animal Mother engraved on his tombstone, because nothing else he has done stands out. Certainly Serenity and Firefly have their followings, but they are cultish. However, you have to give him credit for making the most of an opportunity. On the other hand, its the character not the actor in FMJ. I bet he didn’t get paid much for that role.

    By the way, that is one loathsome character.

  4. Part of Whedon’s genius is that he takes actors who did not stand out in other movies and shows, and writes to their strengths, giving them an opportunity to shine. Baldwin was so much fun to watch as Jayne, but has been bland in almost everything else he did (haven’t seen Chuck). On a related note, I thought Firefly was much better than Serenity.

    • I agree, one of the reasosn why I like him. I’m very glad to hear it as I haven’t seen Firefly yet. I wasn’t too keen on Serenizy. Of all the Whedon scripts/movies/productions I liked it the least. I’ve never seen Adam Baldwon in anyothing elese either but he’s good as Jayne Cobb.

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