Just a Minute With Kyra Sedgwick

LOS ANGELES, (Reuters) - Kyra Sedgwick has enjoyed a long career in Hollywood since her first work in the mid-1980s in small roles on U.S. television and later in low-budget films such as 1990’s “Mr. & Mrs. Bridge.”

Kyra Sedgwick poses during a portrait session to promote her TNT television network drama series "The Closer" in Beverly Hills, California, June 23, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

For years, Sedgwick, 42, had seen her career overshadowed by husband Kevin Bacon, with whom she has two children. But in 2005, U.S. cable network TNT began airing “The Closer,” a crime drama starring Sedgwick as Brenda Leigh Johnson, an Atlanta cop who moves to Los Angeles to become deputy police chief.

Johnson has a thick southern accent (Sedgwick was born in New York) and the show was a departure for the actress whose roles mostly had been confined to small, low-budget dramas like 2002 Sundance Film Festival favorite “Personal Velocity.”

But “The Closer” became a breakout hit, with last season’s finale drawing 10 million viewers -- a large amount for a U.S. cable TV show. A new season begins on July 14 and Sedgwick talked with Reuters about the show, her role and her career.

Q: Brenda Leigh can be a tough cop but she also has this human side. We see her deal with her fiance and her family. Is that a key to the show’s success -- that not only is it a cop drama but it also lets you inside these people’s lives?

A: I think it’s the key to the success of the show and it’s certainly the only reason why I’m in it. To me, it’s much more a character-driven piece than a plot-driven piece. I think it’s what separates us and makes people always come back.

Q: The upcoming season is the show’s fourth. How do you think Brenda has changed or grown over the years?

A: One interesting thing about Brenda is she doesn’t grow and change that much. While she is brilliantly intuitive about other people, she is completely clueless about herself and is not interested in evolving as an emotional person at all. Her resistance to that is really interesting to watch.

Q: Is that what has been rewarding, creatively, that you’ve been able to take this character and dig into her and try to figure out what makes her tick, when in fact you really don’t know what makes her tick?

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A: Definitely. While I know how she reacts to things, I don’t necessarily know why she reacts. She has so many complications and conflicting parts and is such a mass of contradictions. There are so many things to play.

Q: You won a Golden Globe award for the role and you’ve called the show “a gift” many times. Why?

A: It really is the gift that keeps on giving. It’s been a surprise to live in a character this long and still be enjoying it. It was something I was never looking for and it was something I never expected. That’s why I think of it as a gift because I didn’t know it was coming.

The fact I get consistently nominated for stuff is fun and a real honor for me. That feels really good to go up there with people who are considered the very best at what they do and that feels really good and supportive for work that I would love to do and would do anyway.

Q: In Hollywood, we talk a lot about how difficult it is to get a female-driven movie made and wondering if you think that’s true and why?

A: I definitely think that’s true. For whatever reason, male-centric movies have made the big dollar amounts at (box offices).

Q: Does that same idea apply to TV?

A: I don’t think so. Right now, it’s really the place to be. Glenn Close, Mary Louise Parker. A lot of these shows are doing really well.

Q: Finally, you’re a producer on “The Closer,” which gives you some creative input beyond just acting, but have you ever wanted to direct?

A: Never. But, you know, never say never. I produce periodically. But I don’t think like a director. I don’t think of camera moves or cutting or editing or any of that.

(Editing by John O’Callaghan)

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