Yes, for a brief time on Monday of last week, I was one degree from Kevin Bacon. I got a chance to participate in a conference call Q&A with Kyra Sedgwick of The Closer on TNT. The interview lasted about 15 minutes. There were 11 of us on the call, so we ended up only getting a chance to ask one question each. Mine was the next to last question and was about the difficulties in maintaining her character’s accent.
The following is my best effort transcription of the call, but a professional transcriber I am not, nor would I want to be. I left out all the pleasantries, as everyone seemed to feel the need to thank her for doing the call or letting her know how much they appreciated her doing this, etc., and just typed out the questions and answers. Hope you enjoy!
Question: I had a chance to watch the season premiere and it was amazing. One thing that I find so incredible about the show is the pacing and the sort of frenetic um, pacing of the show and the interactions, sort of the spitfire dialog. Um, and I think a lot of that owes to the ensemble, so I was just curious to know, how, how you sort of engender that um, with your cast mates? How you sort of…?
Kyra Sedgwick: Well, I think that you know, think, you know, definitely happened really quickly. And, I think that you know that we like to keep a certain pace. I think Brenda, you know as a character, is someone who is, I’ve always felt like she is super, super smart and talks fast and talks faster than anybody else and is always one step ahead of everybody. And um, you know that’s, that’s, that’s something fun to play with.
Question: You know, every time I write about the show, one of the things I here a lot about is, how much people appreciate the sort of dynamic between, uh, Brenda and Fritz. That it’s not a lot of times in TV when it’s a relationship it’s, it’s very kind of mushy or very stereotypical. And, particular from guys, the reaction seems to be that, you know, they really um, see a lot of this in their own lives. You fall in love with somebody, you know it’s sometimes a little bit more complicated than you thought it was going to be.
Q: And, can you talk a little bit about the relationship, cause it is a little distinctive.
Kyra: Yah, I think it’s complicated because, you know, really her first, um, commitment is to her job. And, that’s really the thing she sort of loves, you know, or is you know, it’s always her first choice, you know, it’s not Fritz, it’s her job. So, I think that um, that it makes it interesting to watch that dynamic of him sort of, you know, pushing, pulling kind of dynamic that, um, how that manifests itself. Um, I think that he’s someone who’s very emotionally, um, you know, growing and always on an emotional journey that she, you know, is not really interested in, not interested in taking. She’s more interested in, uh, she’s not self-aware, she’s not aware of why she takes, how she takes, she’s incredibly intuitive about other people, but not about herself. Um, so I think it’s interesting to see that dynamic between the two of them. Where as he is very insightful and has a lot of self-knowledge, she does not.
Q: Now did you have any, uh, qualms about the relationship side of the show at all?
Kyra: Did I what?
Q: Did you have any qualms about the relationship side, cause sometimes it a tough dynamic to carry off?
Kyra: No, I think it’s been great. It’s been really fun to play. It’s been fun to play sort of a woman who’s almost in the male role.
Question: I remember talking to you Kyra and to others actresses last year about the uh, I don’t know, kind of the synergy, or whatever, with your show and Holly Hunter’s show and Glenn Close, it was like the year of the strong women on cable last summer and I was just thinking in the last week or so, how very well, uh, Mary McDonnell’s (I think he meant Mary McCormack of USA’s In Plain Sight) show is doing and Holly is coming back. What is it that cable viewers seem to like all of a sudden about, plainly put, seeing women kick ass on cable?
Kyra: I really don’t know. I think you know, I think that it might have been something that people might have always been ready for, but I think that because The Closer did so well, monetarily, for TNT that um, you know, there are people more willing to, you know, put these kind of shows, you know, put, put, um, shows with strong lead female characters in. Because, they see that it works and that people like to watch it.
Question: I wanted to ask, actually as a performer and also someone so entrenched in the, a success of this show, as each season, a begins anew, if the emotions change or the pressure at all alters as you go through?
Kyra: Um, you mean, um, in terms of the character, in terms of are we going to do well this summer?
Q: Well, just your, your anticipation, the audience’s reaction, because they are obviously so attached and each year that inherently brings some pressure.
Kyra: Well, I think that, my feeling is that, you know, we’ve never underestimated our ability, our audience’s ability to roll with what we, what, you know, change ups. We have, you know, one episode we’ll give them an incredibly dark, gritty, you know, sad, um, dark grisly show and then in the next show, we’ll give them slapstick comedy, with, you know, a coffin rolling down some steps and a body falling out. And, you know, it’s real slapstick and I think that they seem to like both equally well. So, it’s something that we don’t, we really trust that the audience will, will like what we give them and we never take their, underestimate their intelligence.
Question: I love seeing Jason O’Mara again, Bill Croelick, your energy with him in those scenes is almost borderline, there’s like sexual tension…
Kyra: Right, right.
Q: …you’re repulsed by him, but there is just something, he just gets you. He pushes your buttons. You know, he flusters you and I just wanted you to talk a bit about this actor and if we’re going to see him continuously through this season?
Kyra: Um, no. I don’t think, I mean, you know, we’ll just get one shot of Jason this season. But uh, but I do really think they have a cool, great chemistry and I think that um, you know, his obsession with fire, sort of is, is tantamount to her obsession with uh, with um, you know, getting to the truth of, of situations. And, I think they both have a dislike of authority and their both sort of rebels in their own way. And, um I think that what is interesting about the Jason O’Mara character is she sees him as a predator, as well as, a victim. So, I think there’s that kind of, but there is, they have similarities. Um, in their, in their personalities that uh, that I think makes their chemistry very, you know, strong and exciting to watch.
Question: I was just wondering if you could um, tell us some things that, some storylines we need, without giving anything away, but what excites you about this season?
Kyra: Um, let’s see. She has to once again be confronted with, you know, the personal issues around her relationship and whether or not they’re actually going to get married and whether or not they’re actually going to make the leap into possibly having kids. Um, I uh, I, I look forward to, you know, this internal conflict within the squad that’s always interesting to me. You know, she is sort of a mother, you know, sort of a den mother to this group of people and, you know, as with all work situations, you know, conflicts ensue and things happen. She has to try and manage it. Um, parents will come back. That’ll be, it’s always fun and interesting to see her as, you know, the child she becomes when her parents are there. Um, and you know, let’s see what else? We have really great, again, just another batch of really amazing scripts. I don’t know how the writers do it.
Question: I was wondering what you have learned as an actor from being on The Closer?
Kyra: Um, I feel like I learn something every time I do the job. Um, but what’s been exciting about The Closer, is sticking with a character this long and um, and getting to go deeper and deeper and deeper and deeper into this person. Um, I um, what I’ve learned as an actor, I think is to really try and mix things up and to fly, you know, to, to shake yourself up when you’ve done the scene too many times and you feel like you haven’t culled every little nuance out of it. It’s just like, you know, trying to surprise myself. Um, and I’ve gotten a lot of, I think as an actor I’ve become more free, I think doing this role. I think, because it’s such high demand and such high output all the time that it, it demands a certain freedom, um and that has really helped me as an actor.
Question: I was really intrigued by the uh, your reporter character, Ricardo Ramos, and uh, I thought that he will be included in one of the other episodes as well. Is he going to be uh, will we see a lot more of him this season?
Kyra: Um, I know he’s in a few, but I don’t know how many. But, yah he’s going to continue to uh, to be another obstacle, um, to uh, you know, Brenda getting the job done. And, I think that will be fun and interesting. And, the whole issue of freedom of the press versus, you know, responsibility of the press, I think is something that comes to bare and be interesting for people to watch.
Question: I was wondering that uh, a lot of well-known film actresses are now taking on television roles. There’s yourself, Mary-Louis Parker, Minnie Driver, Holly Hunter, why do you think film actresses are making the move to television these days?
Kyra: Um, I think that, you know, we go where the good work is, but I also think that um, they’re writing, this kind of, you know, they’re willing, people are willing to spend money on these kinds of shows and willing to bank, you know, bank on these, you know, bank on these characters and these women, because The Closer has done well. And, I think that, you know, in Hollywood, you know, nothing like making money for people, for them wanting, you know, that what’s going to make them want to do more things like it, or at least have a sort of female character in the center of the piece. And, I think that um, it’s been great to be apart of that, you know, that revolution in a way. Or, that these moments, for, for um, for good actors, but I think it’s sort of like the timing, you know, of a, of these people also, I think that cable offers you a lot more freedom than, than network and you know, there’s a lot more that you can do and you can base things much more in reality and it doesn’t have to go through tons of standards and practices and I think that’s, you know, interesting for actors, as well as for um, women in general.
Question: I’d like to know uh, how difficult it is, or not, to uh, maintain the, Brenda’s Southern accent, while playing the character?
Kyra: You know um, I, I, it’s interesting because the accent has also afforded me an amount of freedom. There’s something about playing someone so different from you and also from a different place and you know, is from the South, certainly not where I’m from. But, but that also affords me a great deal of freedom. Um, I uh, um, you know, I have to be constantly vigilant about it. It is, I work with a dialect coach. She reads the script and breaks it down into sounds for me and you know, lists of words and she, I get sent that every week. So, that is something that um, I need to stay diligent about and exactly, you know, it’s not, it’s not as hard as learning the lines, but you know, it’s right up there.
Question: I just wondered, after four seasons of the show, what remains sort of the most rewarding part for you about portraying a part like Brenda and what do you still find most challenging about portraying her?
Kyra: Um, what I find most challenging is uh, the shear volume of words I have to learn. Um, you know, I’m not, I’m learning, I’ve got learning differences and I am not good at learning lines and it is something that, you know, probably takes me a lot longer than most people. Um, what I like most about doing the work is um, the other actors and uh, and the writing. I just think the writing is spectacular on the show.
Season four of The Closer premieres Monday, July 14th. The first episode kicks things off with a “Controlled Burn” and is very good. Look for a review in the near future.