Kyra Sedgwick: A Closer Look

The actress-producer on collaborating with her husband, working on both coasts and the freedom of wearing an accent

Over the years, New York native Kyra Sedgwick has been many things: Tom Cruise's girlfriend in 1989's "Born on the Fourth of July," the indie producer-actress in films such as 2004's "Cavedweller" and 2005's "Loverboy," and the woman with the strongest Bacon Factor in the business -- she's been married to husband Kevin for more than 20 years (they met on 1988's "Lemon Sky"). But since 2005 she's been racking up accolades (a Golden Globe and three Emmy nominations) as the quixotic Georgian Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson on TNT's "The Closer." Between makeup applications and costume changes, Randee Dawn caught up with the actress, a recipient Monday of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, to discuss being Brenda and being Mrs. Bacon.

The Hollywood Reporter: Why did you develop your career largely in New York?

Kyra Sedgwick: Before I met Kev, whenever I would come to L.A., I had a hard time keeping any perspective on my life, on who I was, what I was. I judged myself only in terms of how others judged me in the business, and that was difficult on my soul, my ego, my everything. It was a fearful place for me. And when I met Kev, he definitely didn't want to move out here, either.

THR: Do you ever think how your careers might have been different if you'd relocated West?

Sedgwick: We both knew we were making a choice, and maybe a detrimental one to our careers by not settling in L.A. because a lot of work is being around, seeing and being seen. But we both just didn't feel at home here, and we made that choice. I've never regretted it, though I think both Kevin and I are aware that it might have been a good thing to be out here more. But now I've learned to embrace (L.A., where "The Closer" is shot) and so has Kev. It's much more like home now.

THR: You and Kevin have worked on a number of projects together. How do you turn on the professional relationship and turn off the personal one as necessary?

Sedgwick: It's really easy for us. I don't know why -- it just feels right. Every time he's directed me, every time we produce something together, it's just water off a duck's back, uncomplicated, not filled with a lot of sturm und drang. We think similarly. And when we don't, we respect each others' opinion.

THR: You'd think two actors would have a constant clash of egos.

Sedgwick: It's definitely a narcissistic business, that's for sure. But you know, I had brothers. I had to learn to share. We're just good partners in that way.

THR: You're in your fifth year as Brenda. What keeps you interested in her?

Sedgwick: My contract! I'm kidding (laughs). Really -- this is honestly one of the most creatively fulfilling jobs I've ever had. I just find her an endlessly fascinating character -- I love her contradictions. I love that she's in a job where she's qualified to be insightful about others, and be aware of what makes people tick, and she's a completely unexamined person herself.

THR: Are people who aren't familiar with your history surprised when that deep Atlanta accent you wear for Brenda doesn't come out of your mouth in real life?

Sedgwick: Yes! I have to practice to make it sound right. I have to stay diligent about it. But there's a certain freedom you have as an actor, having an accent. You can be really free because the character is far away from who you really are.

THR: You've produced on the show, and this year you're an executive producer. You've also produced several films. How does the process differ from TV to film?

Sedgwick: It's nice to not have to raise money (as a TV producer) which is challenging, especially right now. And every week you can always make it better. The turnover is faster, and sometimes you have to make bold choices and run with them. Sometimes it's interesting to note that just because you have more time (on a project), it doesn't mean things get better.

THR: At this stage in your career, do you have a preference for being behind the camera or in front of it?

Sedgwick: I don't like one more than the other. But producing is hard and multifaceted and uses parts of my brain that aren't very well-developed. My creative brain is very well developed but the whole fiscal budget, back-end, front-end, selling -- I find that baffling. Frankly, I hire well. I hire people who know that stuff better than I do. I know what I don't know, and I think that's an important thing to know in life -- so you can delegate.
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