They say that any two people on earth can be connected through six degrees or less, which is especially true for anyone who didn’t bother to delete Tom from their MySpace friends.
However, the truly well-connected among us have social networks that transcend time, space, and the laws of nonfiction. If you thought Kevin Bacon worked in wide circles, check out how the following 11 figures can all be traced back to our First Lady, Michelle Obama.
Xena, Warrior Princess
Xena, a warrior princess in ancient Greece (and Rome, and Egypt, and Alexandria, and occasionally Valhalla), was played by Lucy Lawless, who was in Eurotrip with Fred Armisen, who played the owner of a jazz club in Anchorman, where we got to watch a flying burrito completely devastate Jack Black, who read a tribute to Teddy Roosevelt for the Obamas’ 2009 inauguration celebration.
Keyser Söze, king of the criminal underworld in The Usual Suspects, was played by Kevin Spacey (save your spoiler-related outrage – it came out 16 years ago), who was in L.A. Confidential with Danny DeVito, who was in the third Austin Powers movie with Beyoncé, whose song Move Your Body had Michelle doing the Dougie for Alice Deal Middle School a few weeks ago.
Jackie O was married to JFK, whose brother, Ted Kennedy, was a big fan of Portuguese water dogs and gave the Obamas their dog, Bo, from his own private litter.
This sure puts a nicer spin on the famous quote, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” The quote is often attributed to Harry S. Truman, but we did some research and Harry probably didn’t say those words. But, we think the quote is nice, so we’ll leave it.
In the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Darcy was played by Colin Firth, who, in addition to forever changing the way romantics look at swimming in a nasty pond, starred / dove into a lake in Love, Actually, which featured a minor role by Chiwetel Ejiofor, who was in American Gangster with Common, who gave a poetry reading at the White House not long ago. You *may* have heard about this.
When Victoria Woodhull became the first American woman to run for president in 1872, the man nominated for vice president on her ticket was none other than Frederick Douglass, an escaped-slave-turned-writer-and-advocate who once partied with Mark Twain, who wrote Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which was printed in 1996 with an introduction by Toni Morrison, who wrote Michelle’s favorite book, Song of Solomon.
The Smoke Monster
On the ABC smash hit Lost, we watched The Smoke Monster terrorize Evangeline Lilly, who was in Hurt Locker with Lord Volde—Ralph Fiennes, who was in Strange Days with Angela Basset, who provided the voice of Michelle Obama during an episode of The Simpsons.
In Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf was played to perfection by Ian McKellen, who had already won the hearts of nerds everywhere by playing Magneto in the X-Men series with Hugh Jackman, who starred in The Prestige (or was it The Illusionist??) with David Bowie, who wore the kind of spandex pants that cannot be unseen in Labyrinth, whose team of puppeteers included Kevin Clash, whose most famous contribution to Sesame Street was creating Elmo, who had Michelle as a guest host in 2009.
In Monty Python and the Holy Grail, King Arthur was played by Graham Chapman, who was in Monty Python’s Flying Circus with John Cleese and Michael Palin, who were in A Fish Called Wanda with Secret Service agent Harvey Manfred…jen…sen, a.k.a. Kevin Kline, who co-starred in Wild Wild West with Will Smith, who spent his Easter Sunday with the Obamas this year.
Lisbeth Salander, heroine of the Millennium series / character who finally convinced America that Swedes have other names besides “Inga,” was played by Noomi Rapace, who will be in the upcoming Sherlock Holmes movie starring Jude Law, who was in Road to Perdition with Tom Hanks, who went to the Lincoln Memorial and
jumped into the reflecting pool to hug his childhood sweetheartnarrated Lincoln Portrait in celebration of the 2009 presidential inauguration.
The Old Spice Guy
Isaiah Mustafa (real name: The Old Spice Guy) made a guest appearance on Chuck starring Zachary Levi, who was in Stuntmen with Carly Pope, who was in 10.5: Apocalypse with Beau Bridges, who was in Charlotte’s Web with Oprah Winfrey, who has interviewed the Obamas on her show. Are these connections way more obscure and convoluted than they need to be? Yes. Does the fact that you can use Oprah to connect to, say, ANYBODY in just one move make for much fun? Not really.
Emily Dickinson named her dog “Carlo” after a dog in Jane Eyre, whose 2006 BBC adaption starred Toby Stephens, who played the evil mastermind in James Bond: Die Another Day with Halle Berry, who was in Jungle Fever, which was directed by Spike Lee, who also wrote and directed Do the Right Thing, which is the movie Michelle and Barack went to see on their first date. Emily Dickinson to Spike Lee by way of James Bond? Yeah. That just happened.