Q&A with Kyra Sedgwick
In The Closer, Kyra Sedgwick plays LAPD Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson to perfection—and has the Golden Globe to prove it! Kyra sits down with the Screening Room to chat about the new season and how she balances work and family.
Screening Room: Have any scoop you can share about the new season of The Closer?
Kyra Sedgwick: We always have a theme. And this year’s theme is change. Firstly, there’s a change in the squad. And you know, Brenda’s not a huge fan of change...most of us aren’t. And I think it’s challenging for her at every turn. So, the other obvious change is that she’s married, and that’ll be new and different and have its challenges. Chief Pope does a tour of duty with our squad, and he gets involved in one of Flynn and Provenza’s classic screwups in the process. It’s pretty funny. And you know, Fritz and Brenda [are struggling with] the decision about whether or not to have children.
Mary McDonnell’s coming in for a couple of episodes as an internal affairs officer who is my opposite in every way, and so that’s been amazing. She’s really, she’s a great actress, and it’s nice for Brenda to have an antagonist that’s a woman.
SR: One of the things we love about Brenda is that she’s a great combination of a professional woman who gets the job done and someone who shows her vulnerability.
KS: Yeah, me too. And that’s the reason why I love playing the part—her strength as well as her fragility. You know that she’s still very much a female, and a very emotional and vulnerable one at that, even though she’s fierce and can kick serious ass when need be.
SR: You seemed so genuinely shocked when you won the Golden Globe. What was that experience like?
KS: Well, it was super fun. It was a big surprise. I kept thinking, "I’ll be that person who gets nominated every year and never wins anything," which, by the way, would be fine because in some ways the consistent nominations are so nice. ... I can tell you that it’s a lot more fun to win than to lose.
SR: It was fun to see you get so excited about it, because a lot of people pretend that it’s not a big deal—but it’s a big deal!
KS: It’s definitely a big deal! It’s for sure a big deal, and it’s very lovely when it happens, and you know, it’s kind of a nice icing on the cake.
SR: So can we talk about your supporting cast? The ensemble of this show is so much fun to watch.
KS: Yeah, it’s a great. It’s really a remarkable group of people, and everyone brings something so special and unique to the table. I just am really lucky to have them. We throw the ball, and they always send something back. And, they’re also really fun, funny people to be around who are happy to be working and happy to have their jobs, and that’s really lovely.
SR: Is it grueling to shoot? It seems like an hour-long drama of this nature would be tough.
KS: It is. It’s really hard. There’s a lot of work involved, the hours are long, and I get tired. It’s exhausting. But whenever I can be in the middle of the really hard day and then there’s a really great scene to shoot, I just get up for it. You know? Because it’s acting. It’s what I love to do. And being creative keeps me alert and awake and alive, and I’m really grateful.
SR: It seems to us like you’ve done a really good job balancing you’re professional life and your personal life. Do you have any tricks for how to make that work?
KS: No. Definitely not. I think that making priorities and knowing what your priorities are will simplify to a certain extent how to make the list. Let’s put it that way. But that’s pretty much all it does, is simplify how to make the list. How to actually execute that list is challenging for every parent and wife and sister and brother that works. I think that when work is a priority—but it’s definitely below family—then somehow things do fall into place a little easier because you go, "Okay, if that’s first, then that needs to be tended to first." But it’s hard for me. I struggle with it all the time. You know, I should be learning lines and my mother calls. And what do you do? You pick up the phone or you let it go and you keep working on the lines? Now, when my daughter calls, that’s a priority and everything stops. But, you know, it’s challenging and I don’t know, I don’t have a lot of answers. I think it’s a learning experience a day at a time.
SR: A question we love to ask is what inspires you?
KS: Let’s see. I think what inspires me is when I see people who put something ahead of their own needs. I don’t really know how to better articulate that, but when they, you know, make a choice that’s not the easy choice, that’s not the selfish choice, that has to do with somebody else and putting aside their own needs.
SR: What's the best piece of advice you think you’ve gotten?
KS: In terms of taking care of yourself, I really think that it’s important to do one thing a day that’s nice for yourself. Whether it’s going down the street and getting frozen yogurt or an ice cream or something like that or taking a bath or doing something simple. I think that the one good thing that’s going on right now in terms of our fiscal struggles as a nation is that we’re getting back to doing simple things that don’t cost a lot of money. [Things] that really feed our soul. Whether it’s listening to a song you really love and singing, or bringing family together for a family meal because it’s cheaper than going out, or having your friends over and everyone brings something and you eat together as a group, as a community, as a family. I think we’re going to be forced to, as a nation, go back to the simple things that don’t cost a lot of money, that aren’t extravagant, but that ultimately will feed our soul more than buying a new pair of shoes.
SR: If you could have the perfect day off, what would you want to do?
KS: It definitely starts with that yoga class with my daughter and the walk to and from the yoga class so we can talk about what’s going on and catch up. And then definitely doing something together as a family. One of things we really do like to do is eat and make food together. ... That would be really nice. And, then maybe a date night with Kev.
SR: What kinds of meals do you make together?
KS: We like to make healthy tacos, or hot tacos, because it’s kind of fun and everyone can get involved in making small things and everyone can get what they want. Some people are meat eaters in the family, and some people are just a vegetarian, so they’ll just have the black beans and the other vegetables and a big salad. We haven’t had the four of us together for a family meal—because you know my son’s been in college—where we were home in, I don’t know, eight months or something, and God, my heart aches for it.
SR: I can’t even imagine what that transition must be like.
KS: It’s horrible. I mean, I’m so not looking forward to my daughter’s leaving the year after next. I’m already a wreck about it.
SR: We're curious, what's playing in your iPod?
KS: God, I’m so boring about this because I’m so stuck in the '80s rock and '70s.
SR: What’s wrong with that?
KS: Nothing, I guess!
SR: I think it’s totally making a comeback, you’re just ahead of your time.
KS: Yeah, right exactly. You know, old '80s rock. I’m a very big fan of that music
SR: Before we let you go, we'd love to know what you’re most grateful for?
KS: Oh my god. I mean my life, being alive, but I probably have to say my family, for sure.