Why President Lanford From Independence Day: Resurgence Looks So Familiar

It's been over 20 years since the original Independence Day was released, and in 2016, a sequel of sorts was made named Independence Day: Resurgence. It centers on a second alien invasion on Earth, and while some roles were reprised such as Vivica A. Fox as Jasmine Hiller, Judd Hirsch as Julius Levinson, Jeff Goldblum as David Levinson, and Bill Pullman as former President Whitmore, other actors joined the cast as well, such as Sela Ward, who plays President Lanford.

A female president is a great addition to the modernized Resurgence, but this isn't Ward's first major role. Ward has had a steady acting career since the 1980s, and has even won a handful of awards for her roles in TV series like Once and Again and Sisters. But sometimes, it's hard to pinpoint where an excellent actor or actress was last seen. Here's why Sela Ward might look familiar to you.

Sela Ward is known for her roles in crime TV

Ward has been a go-to actress of sorts for female leads in television shows. She has a substantial role in Sisters, which ran from the early to mid 1990s, and Once and Again, from 1999 to 2002, but Ward's most recent roles are between the years 2010 and 2019.

She's played the protagonist role of Detective Jo Danville for three seasons in the popular TV series, CSI:NY. Danville gives all suspects the benefit of the doubt by seeing them as "innocent until proven guilty". She's also starred in the comedy TV series Graves as Margaret Graves, the first wife of former President Richard Graves (Nick Nolte), the main character in the TV series. While the former president is grappling with this own regrets and actions, the First Lady has her own ambitions. 

Beyond roles in Graves and CSI: NY, she's taken on roles such as Dana Mosier in FBI, and Lily Manning in the popular and long-running show House.

Ward has also played major roles in crime/thriller movies

Ward's acting career isn't just in TV, though — she's also crossed over into movies and has done quite well for herself. For example, she plays the role of Susan Harding in the remake The Stepfather, which also stars well-known celebrities such as Dylan Walsh (Nip/Tuck), Penn Badgley (Gossip Girl), and Amber Heard (Aquaman). She plays the role of the classic single mother who meets the "perfect man" that turns out to be anything but that.

In 2014, she played the role of Sharon Schieber, the reporter in Gone Girl who gets the "exclusive dish" on Nick Dunne's (Ben Affleck) missing wife. Gone Girl is based off of the New York Times bestselling novel in 2012, so it was a good gig to land. The role of Schieber gave Ward the ability to show her "tough-as-nails" acting chops, while co-starring with some of the biggest actors and actresses in Hollywood. This includes Ben Affleck (Batman), Rosamond Pike (I Care A lot), Tyler Perry (A Madea Family Funeral), and Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother).

Ward also appeared in a well-known apocalyptic thriller

Five years before Ward was in The Stepfather reboot, she had a major role in one of the best apocalypse movies thus far; The Day After Tomorrow. Starring beside the likes of Dennis Quaid (Legion), a young Jake Gyllenaal (Nightcrawler), and Emmy Rossum (Shameless), she plays the role of Dr. Lucy Hall, the mother of Sam Hall (Gyllenhaal) and estranged wife of Jack Hall (Quaid). 

The Day After Tomorrow centers on the next modern Ice Age that is threatening the entire planet, and follows the Hall family, their friends, and co-workers as they try to outrun and outsmart the weather phenomenon. Lucy works as a physician at Langley Children's Hospital in Virginia, and quite possibly has some of the most heart-touching scenes in the movie. When the hospital is being evacuated, for instance, she risks her life to stay with her young cancer patient until he can safely be transferred by an ambulance.

Sela Ward has had a long and successful career since her debut in the 1980s, and hopefully, she won't stop anytime soon.