Kyra Sedgwick tells us that she and her “The Closer” compatriots have yet to succumb to the feeling of the show’s days being numbered — despite the fact that they’re shooting their final season. “I think everyone is in a healthy state of denial. It’s a long year. It’s like a network year, and we’re not even half-way through shooting,” she says of the 21-episode season that premieres tonight (7/11) on TNT.
“Having to say goodbye — I think that’s going to be rough. I’m sure the last few episodes will have their share of boo-hoo moments, as well as picking fights,” adds the Emmy-winning actress, who celebrates her 23rd anniversary with husband Kevin Bacon this September. “I don’t know about anyone else, but with Kevin, I still have to pick fights — silly little fights when we have to spend time apart, I guess trying to make it easier to separate,” she admits. With her “The Closer” series family, “having spent seven years together, it’s going to be emotional. The quality of the time is really more than you spend with your real family. We’re going to miss each other terribly.”
This season’s “The Closer” will have Kyra’s inimitable interrogator extraordinaire, Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson, doing something breathtakingly ununusal among TV’s legions of audacious, rule-bending cops. She is going to have to face up to the consequences of her audacious, rule-bending actions.
Kyra says she agreed to do the extra episodes because creator James Duff “really wanted to end with an epic journey. I wanted to be supportive of that.” There will be cliff-hangers along the way — when the summer’s run of “The Closer” closes, and its winter run, culminating at last with the series finale next summer.
Expect Brenda to seriously break down along the way. Kyra has already shot the episode in which it happens, and says, “That was a rough one. That was a really rough one. That was one I carried around for a few weeks before we shot it. I was fortunate I had to weekend to relax afterward. That was something I was happy to let go once I did it.”
After decades of juggling motherhood and her career, “The Closer” star Kyra Sedgwick says she’s getting used to life as an empty nester with husband Kevin Bacon.
“You know, it’s been okay so far,” observes the actress, whose son, Travis, turns 22 this week, and whose daughter, Sosie, is 18 years old. “For one thing they come home a lot, on spring break and such, which is great. My son is actually done with college now so he’s around. They’re home, but they’re not really home. It’s a little confusing. But you know, once they actually leave, go away to school, it’s never quite the same. It’s a huge transition, to no longer be a day-to-day parent. That’s done forever.”
Kyra acknowledges, “It’s a loss, but you also get to figure out, I guess, what fulfills you as a solitary person, and in being in a marriage without the children there. It can be a time for growth, but that doesn’t mean it’s super easy.”
As for more romance? “Oh, for sure!” she answers with a laugh. “Absolutely.”
Right now, Kyra is six epsiodes into shooting the final 21 of her acclaimed show, which returns to the TNT lineup July 11 — with a promise, according to her, of this being the most dramatic season ever. The reason she agreed to additional episodes in the final year? Creator James Duff, she says, “really wanted to end with an epic journey. I wanted to be supportive of that.”
Kyra Sedgwick reports that she and hubby Kevin Bacon and their 21-year-old son and 18-year-old daughter will soon be taking off for a holiday vacation together in Belize — and she can hardly wait “to have our children in our clutches again for a week or so. Nothing feels better and safer to me than being surrounded by my husband and children,” says the Emmy-winning “The Closer” star, whose series returns with new episodes a week from tonight (12/6).
Kyra admits she’s still adjusting to having an empty nest at home in New York, now that daughter Sosie’s off at college. “My life is definitely changed — now I guess I’ll have the chance to see what that change means.”
One thing she already knows is that “It makes it easier to leave town, there’s no question. I won’t be torn for six months, feeling like, ‘Oh, I’m leaving my kids at home and I’m such a bad mother.’”
She’s speaking, of course, of her “Closer” production schedule, which keeps her in Los Angeles much of the year. Asked whether she can see the end on the horizon after six years of the acclaimed TNT drama, she answers, “I think the show continues to be amazing. I mean, we went up in viewership 20 per cent last year, which is unusual.” To say the least! Small wonder “The Closer”‘ is already picked up for next season.
The latest “Closer” mini season begins with a crackling episode that throws a few curves, and sets the stage for her beguiling Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson Brenda to take a promotion that her husband (Jon Tenney) and colleagues believe she should want. But, “Everyone is projecting their dreams and aspirations on her, that’s what makes her feel alone this season,” the actress notes. “I think that she is sort of fighting against the promotion. It’s complicated for her.”
Kyra’s latest activities include the video she and Kevin made in support of gay marriage. “Love is so rare these days. To find someone you want to spend the rest of your life with is a rare and wonderful gift, to opposite it is so dead wrong to me,” she explains.
And they include her role as a reporter in the big-screen “Man on a Ledge” with Sam Worthington, Jamie Bell, Ed Harris and Elizabeth Banks, shooting in NYC. As for playing a character different from Brenda, she laughs. “She’s a hoot. I’ve really been enjoying it. I love Brenda, but I enjoy having an affair.”
So now it’s Courteney Cox and David Arquette.
The old wives’ tale goes that death comes in threes. But what can we say about the string of splits among couples of long standing in Hollywood? They’re not just changing partners, some of them seem to be changing personalities as well. Is it another sign of the end times coming?
Their shared screwball humor couldn’t keep Courteney and David together after 11 years of marriage – or David from his stunningly disappointing appearance on Howard Stern’s radio show this week, mouthing off about their lack of a sex life, and about his extra-marital “conquest.” This certainly doesn’t jibe with the thoughtful and dignified announcement of their split that stressed their ongoing commitment to their six-year-old daughter – or with David’s nice-guy image of the past. He described Courteney being tired of having to be his mother. That explains a lot.
Their political stands, social consciousness and artistic collaboration weren’t enough to keep intact couple of 23 years, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins. “Maybe you have a relationship to have children and you realize that it’s fulfilled after that,” Susan said of their split last year. She also said she never imagined the relationship would end. She has, of course, since been linked with “ping pong boy” – the co-owner of their Manhattan Spin ping pong club – 32-year-old Jonathan Bricklin, though both have given half-baked denials. (She’s seeing a lot of friends these days, etc.) As we await their reality show – really! – we can add that Robbins, too, has been seen with a younger date on his arm.
Bradley Whitford and Jane Kaczmarek, wed for 17 years, recently got their final divorce papers. He grew a mustache and moved to Texas for his “The Good Guys” show, while Jane is focusing on mothering their three children, and dating someone new.
Cameron Crowe and Heart’s Nancy Wilson split this summer after 24 years. Although their unions were shorter, the last few days have brought surprise celebrity splits by thought-to-be-happy couples Ben Harper and Laura Dern, and Christina Aguilera and Jordan Bratman
So now who do we look to as enduring show business couples?
Happily, there are still quite a few around – like Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara. Married since 1954, the comedy icons are still going strong with their new web series, “Stiller & Meara,” just launched. Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman have been husband and wife for 28 years, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson for 22; Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan, 22 years; John Travolta and Kelly Preston, 19 years; and Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, married 21 years. When Kyra said her heart still skips a beat whenever Kev walks into a room, romantics everywhere went “Aww.” Long may they swoon.
EMMY AFTERMATH: Kyra Sedgwick, savoring her Emmy win for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for “The Closer,” had husband Kevin Bacon close by her side throughout the evening, even standing off-stage, sipping champagne as he watched her field questions in the press room. The couple isn’t getting togetherness time on her series set this year, however. Kevin isn’t directing any episodes of “The Closer’s” Season 6 because he’s busy with his own projects, according to Kyra. And their daughter Sosie, 18, isn’t coming back to the show in her role as Kyra’s niece – she’s too busy with her freshman year of college getting underway. Son Travis, 21, also flew the nest awhile ago. So this year, unlike the past five years of her “The Closer” duty, Sedgwick isn’t facing mixed emotions about leaving the family in New York to shoot her series in L.A.
Now that she finally has her Emmy, what honor could come next? The actress has heard there’s “talk of a wax museum figure. That’s a little strong, I think.”
Seriously, she’s happy focusing on the show and her now-iconic character, deputy police chief Brenda Leigh Johnson. “I’m always pushing for the personal stories. As an actor, that’s why I’m doing the job,” she observes. “I was offered procedurals in the past. The personal aspect is what got me on board our show. I think that’s the key to success.”
That and its truly Outstanding star.
AND: It’s nice to see Aaron Paul acknowledged with an Emmy for his first rate supporting work on “Breaking Bad” – particularly knowing what a grinder the role of drug-selling Jesse has been for the actor. Playing Bryan Cranston’s hapless partner in crime, Paul’s been roughed up, knocked down, thrown through a screen door that didn’t quite go the way the stunt was planned and generally left bruised and scraped more times than he could probably count by now.
George Clooney proved again how utterly charming he is, Al Pacino quoted Michelangelo, and Kyra Sedgwick talked the fifth time being the charm backstage at the 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards.
Maybe it was that First Amendment question that got things rolling. George Clooney, honored with the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award for his fund-raising work including this year’s multi-network telethon for Haiti earthquake relief, was asked about the conflict between wanting to maintain some kind of privacy in his life and his belief in the First Amendment.
He said firmly that, as the son of a newsman, “I always felt that the inconveniences I have are worth it rather than infringing on anyone else’s rights.”
Alrighty then, open season!
Clooney quickly deflected a question about his date – girlfriend Elisabetta Canalis — noting that “She picked me up in Italy” and yes, she was around.
He said he’d spent part of his day shooting hoops: “John Krasinski came over to my house with a bunch of guys to play basketball. If you see him later, well, he’s limping.”
Illustrating anew that the stars’ biggest fans are other stars, Clooney confessed to a moment of that star-struck feeling when he found himself with Al Pacino and Tom Selleck in the green room, and “suddenly I’m 14 years old. It’s very funny.”
He also gave the telecast its first glowing review: “The show is really good tonight. Jimmy Fallon is just really killing it. He’s just really funny.”
George on Prop 8 being lifted: “I think it’s terrific. Now it’s unlifted again…These are things that take a long time to change…People will look back on this period of history and think of it as an archaic time.”
George on his “ER” leading lady, Julianna Margulies, presenting his award: “It’s pretty great. We’ve stayed in touch. We’re good friends.”
Clooney talked about the namesake of his award, Bob Hope, noting, “It wasn’t just the USO shows. That’s something everybody remembers him for 50 years. He was one of the great charitable actors. He did it all, always a great sense of humor. He was fun. He’d just show up and do something.” Asked what he learned from Hope, Clooney, who knew the iconic comedian personally as a young man, recalled that “What you learn from him was, he didn’t take himself seriously. I really appreciated that.” Clooney recalled that Hope’s wife Dolores sang with his aunt, Rosemary Clooney, on her “Salute” show, and “she was great. She’s 101 now and really doing great.”
Noting several times that he felt a little awkward to be getting an award for doing the right thing, Clooney insisted, “I don’t particularly do more than anybody else in the position I’m in.”
Well, not everyone organizes record-breaking, multi-network telethons full of A- List celebrities to help victims of the Haiti earthquake, the South Asia tsunami and Sept. 11 — raises hundreds of millions of dollars, and then follows up to ensure that the money is being used properly as Clooney does. But anyway, he went on, “If you have a tremendous amount of heat from the spotlight, you’re able to deflect some of it onto people who could really use it. My dad calls it a ‘Celebrity Credit Card’ that you can try to cash in other places.”
Al Pacino, who won Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for his portrayal of Dr. Jack Kevorkian in “You Don’t Know Jack,” admitted that he felt a bit out of place at the TV honors. “I’m just so used to movies,” he said, noting that he considered his HBO “You Don’t Know Jack” to be a movie, though it was shown on small screen.
“You’re a little lost. You’re in the midst of all these TV people and you feel a little like you don’t belong. You still feel like a movie person,” said Al.
Holding an Emmy had to have helped.
Pacino talked about the controversial medico known as Dr. Death for assisting suicides of terminally ill patients, saying he only got to know Kevorkian after making the movie, but “I’m so glad I got to know him. He’s got that kind of intelligence where you can ask him anything and he’ll come up with something different from what you expected.”
Pacino lost weight to play Kevorkian, a notoriously finicky eater who has impassioned feelings against fat – yet is known to sneak sweets, according to Al. He joked, “Gaining weight is much easier. I wish I had to gain weight for a part. Losing weight requires exercise, and “I’m from the Oscar Wilde school…Whenever I get the urge to exercise, I lie down until it passes.”
He told press he considers it a plus to play a real-life character: “It’s great when you know somebody exists…It sort of frees you. As Michelangelo said: ‘Free me of myself, Lord, so I can please you.’ I had that with Frank Serpico when I played him. Actors like it, it’s very nourishing.”
Kyra Sedgwick, who took home her first Emmy (outstanding Lead Actress for “The Closer”) in five nominations, was asked whether she’d been afraid of turning into another Susan Lucci, notorious for always being nominated but never winning. “I love Susan Lucci,” she said. “I kind of think you think you haven’t got a chance in hell after five times, but it’s always such a gift to be invited to the party.”
Looking amazing in her purple Monique Lhuillier gown, Kyra added that she reached the point, “I started to placate myself” with remembering that a lot of great actors never won Emmys – Martin Sheen, for instance, never won for “The West Wing.” “I’d find solace in such things.”
With hubby Kevin Bacon in the press room nearby, sipping champagne while she fielded questions, Kyra was asked about competition between the famous couple.
“I think Kev’s won more….We don’t play the same roles…Of course there’s no rivalry.” She says they always joke around about whether there’s enough room for another award.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series winner Eric Stonestreet talked eloquently and movingly about reaction to his portrayal of a dad with a same-sex partner on “Modern Family.” “I can tell you what people say to me – I get amazing compliments from kids of same sex families.” He cited a “gentleman who was raised by two moms” who had recently adopted another daughter. He thanked Stonestreet, saying that now, if bullies ever taunt his sister, “she can say, ‘Look at Mitch and Cam – you like them.”
Mitch and Cam, of course, are the couple played by Jesse Tyler Ferguson and himself. Ferguson and cast mate Ty Burrell were also nominated in the same category, so one reporter wondered whether there’d be awkwardness on the set Monday.
“No, not at all, we had all joked around abut that before — if any one of us won whether it would be fun to punch each other in the stomach or walk out.” However, “This was a win for the show…We love our job, so it won’t be awkward at all.”
Stonestreet and “Modern Family” executive producer Steve Levitan – who came into the press room after the show won Outstanding Comedy Series honors – both stressed that the upcoming episode in which Cam and Mitch kiss was planned a long time ago. That is, before the controversy grew over their lack of physicality on the series. Although, as Stonestreet acknowledged, it’s going “to look like we caved to public pressure, it was planned before.”
Asked about where he found inspiration for his portrayal, Stonestreet pointed to his mom – “spell it right” – Jamey and her excitable, emotional, passionately caring ways. After he keeps it for a couple of weeks, he’s sending his Emmy to her and his father Vince to keep, he says.
He’s had a lot of women tell him that they identify with Cam.
“Nurse Jackie’s” Edie Falco came right out and said what a lot of people were thinking about her winning as Outsanding Actress in a Comedy – over a group of funny ladies that included Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Lea Michele, Toni Collette, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Said Falco: “Tina Fey, for heaven’s sake. It’s ridiculous!” She also said, “The women I was up against are hysterically funny, talented comedians. I’m not playing coy here. I’m just dumbfounded by the events of the evening.” She added, “But I’m happy to be here nonetheless.”
As for what she planned to do to celebrate? “I hadn’t planned on celebrating. I’d planned on going home and ordering room service,” Falco said. But she was glad to make a change in her plans.
For those die-hards who care about the coarsening of public discourse in America today, Betty White’s “What the hell are you looking at” during the opening number of the Emmy show this year no doubt felt like a let down. Et tu, Betty? Later, after his “The Pacific” won the Emmy for Outstanding Miniseries, Tom Hanks dropped the F-bomb backstage. At least he apologized right away. He got carried away when a reporter mentioned how HBO and his Playtone production company continue to be winners, and Tom answered with “$#%-in’ A!”
Hanks also talked about the fact he was sorry there were only two nominees in the category, since there are certain stories that so well suited to the form. He hopes “The Pacific” serves as a model. As for what will come next from the firm that has gifted the public with a phenomenal string of artistically, intellectually and emotionally satisfying productions (“From the Earth to the Moon,” “John Adams,” “Band of Brothers” to name three), Hanks said they’re still three or four years away from unveiling any new projects.
When it comes to the night’s most overtly competitive personality, honors have to go to “Top Chef’s” Padma Lakshmi. She made it clear that she’d had enough of “Amazing Race” winning “Outstanding Reality – Competition” honors year after year. “I was really mean to the host on the red carpet. I think I hit him twice with my purse,” she said. “I said, ‘You’re going down.’” And so they did – and “Top Chef” got the Emmy.
“It’s always nice to see someone who is getting old with you,” said Anthony Edwards, asked about his former “ER” cast mate George Clooney being honored the same night that Edwards’ “Temple Grandin” won seven out of 15 Emmy nominations, becoming one of the huge winners of this year’s awards.
Edwards is one of the executive producers of the telefilm that won Emmys for Made for Television Movie, Outstanding Lead Actress for Claire Danes, Outstanding Director for Mick Jackson, and Supporting Actor and Actress Emmys for David Strathairn and Julia Ormond. Getting the bio-pic made was a ten-year effort. “I was very involved from an early part of the journey…Trying to sell a movie about a woman who is autistic and designs slaughterhouses – it’s not the easiest sell,” Edwards admitted.
Clearly, however, it was worth it. Grandin herself was in the press room, and pointed out that the telefilm has a lot to say about autism and clearing up misconceptions about the nature of the malady. She noted that autistics range from “Silicon Valley geniuses” to severely afflicted persons who can’t even speak.
She also said she had faith in Emily Gerson Saines, the lead Exec producer and driving force behind the film of “Temple Grandin.” Saines’ own son is autistic, and she founded the Autism Coalition for Research and Education that’s now a part of Autism Speaks.
Said Grandin, “I knew a mom would get it right.”
Asked what made this win special, Claire Danes declared, “I don’t think I’ve ever worked harder on a performance. It was epic in its scope. And I don’t think I’ve ever been as inspired by any part I’ve played.” She feels that Grandin and the film of her story “encourage positive change in the world. That’s wonderful. I don’t expect to have another opportunity like this.”
Danes admitted that her shimmery golden Armani Prive gown was “not as uncomfortable as it could be.” She wasn’t complaining. After all, “It’s a party dress and we’re gonna party!”
Emmy nominations ballots are due in today (6/21), and “The Closer” star Kyra Sedgwick’s name is certainly among those being bandied about by awards pundits. For instance, ABC News’ website prominently featured Reuters scribe Janelle Tipton’s commentary calling it “a crime” that Sedgwick hasn’t won an Emmy for her portrayal of Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson as yet — despite having been nominated each of the seasons the hit TNT series has been on.
“I love that, that’s so nice,” responds a smiling Kyra. “It’s really amazing to get nominated — and the fact the show has had consistent nominations is really, really great acknowledgement for all the hard work, and we’re so appreciative of that. But I have to admit, it would be nice to hear my name called.”
A factor in her favor is that Season 5 of “The Closer” was “really an emotional season, starting with the death of Brenda’s cat – this creature that she didn’t want, that showed up on her doorstep, that she took in begrudgingly, but then connected to despite herself. There was her Dad having a heart attack, her relationship with her niece, Charlie, the death of the boy in the second to last episode, ‘Maternal Instincts.’ Every time she let someone into her heart, something happened and it’s devastating.”
Now Kyra is six episodes into shooting of Season 6, which debuts July 12.
Leaving her family – husband Kevin Bacon and their son and daughter – behind in New York while she was shooting the series in L.A. filled her with mixed emotions in the past. “But it’s easier this year because my daughter – our last kid – has graduated from high school. Everyone is off to fly the nest and as horrific as that makes me feel – it makes me want to cry just saying it out loud – my people on the East Coast don’t need me so much.”
Being college bound, daughter Sosie won’t be returning to “The Closer” this season to reprise her role as Kyra’s wayward niece. And Kevin, who has directed episodes of the show in the past, is sitting out this season because “he’s busy with a lot of his own things going on,” says Kyra.