A Golden Globe winner for her role as hard-as-nails deputy police chief Brenda Johnson on TNT’s The Closer, Kyra Sedgwick can throw a fierce lesbian vibe on-screen — we’ll never forget her pairings with Helen Mirren and Julianna Margulies. Plus, she sleeps with Kevin Bacon and takes their kids to trans shows. Yet, somehow, she still isn’t sure why she’s considered such a “friend of the gays.”
By Brandon Voss
The Advocate: What goes through your mind
when you see your face on the huge billboard ads for The Closer like
the one in Times Square?
Kyra Sedgwick: I try not to look too hard because it just makes me nuts. I’m not so crazy about the picture — I liked other ones a little bit better. But the concept of having that big poster up there is strangely not strange, and strangely not normal.
Brenda has struck a chord with so many viewers, but why do
you think she’s been so embraced by the gay community specifically?
I guess because she’s feminine and girly and yet very strong and empowering. I think it might have more to do with the history of my work, though. I don’t know if it was kissing Helen Mirren [in the 1996 TV movie Losing Chase] or just something intrinsic. I have a lesbian friend who says “You’re a friend of the gays,” so I’ve always just considered myself a friend of the gays.
Who is the most important gay person in your life?
One of my best friends, Valerie, is a really amazing woman who has had to overcome a lot of obstacles, so she’s one of my big heroes in every way. We see each other every weekend when I’m in L.A., and we go out to dinner and talk and talk and talk. She gives great advice and guidance in the most loving way. We’ve been friends since I was 15, so it’s a long relationship.
You have two children, Travis and Sosie, with husband Kevin.
Have you ever thought about what you might say if they told you they were gay?
Just the other day I was talking to someone about how we had taken our kids to Cape Cod — I guess Sosie was about 10 — and took them to a tranny show in Provincetown. My kids have been exposed to every different type of sexuality ever since they were little, because I have a lot of homosexual friends and there are members of my family that are too. It’s never been something that they’ve been shielded against at all. It’s the stupid classic thing — I just want them to be happy and find that significant other, whatever sex they happen to be, because I think it’s hard to go through life alone. However, I do think that it’s harder to be gay. I don’t even think twice about it, but a lot of my gay friends have to be downright frightened to walk the streets and use public displays of affection and openly live together. There’s a lot of hatred and ignorance out there.
You tackled gay hate crimes in season 1 of The Closer, but
isn’t Brenda due for a lesbian subplot?
Right on! I’m all for it.
Do you think she’s ever experimented?
I think most of us have, so probably. I think she was young, though. I’ve had a lot of friends who have had women make passes at them, but that has never happened to me. And let me tell you, I’m a little hurt by that! [Laughs] I mean, guys don’t flirt with me, girls don’t flirt with me. What’s up with that?
Wait, I read that a woman asked you to dinner when you were
at a lesbian bar doing research for 2000’s What’s Cooking? with
costar Julianna Margulies?
That’s absolutely right. [Laughs] I totally forgot that. I said I was flattered, which I was, but I’m very married and very heterosexual. But I can certainly see why women would fall in love with women for sure. Girl-crushes happen all the time.
So you’ve had dalliances with Mirren, Margulies, and even
Paulina Porizkova in your short-lived TV series Talk to Me. With
which female celebrity would you like to have an on-screen affair next?
Jodie Foster. She totally does it for me. I think she’s so amazing. And Salma Hayek. That would be really hot.
I wasn’t aware until just recently that you’re a second
cousin of Edie Sedgwick. What did you think of Factory Girl?
I know, nobody thinks of [the connection] — it’s kind of great. I’d never met Edie, but my mother knew her. She died when I was about 6 or 7. But I thought the movie was fantastic, and I thought Sienna Miller did a great job.
Would you have liked to have played Edie at some point?
I don’t think it would’ve gone down well with my family. It would’ve gone down really bad, actually.
Which Kevin Bacon role do you wish you could’ve played?
That’s a really funny question, and the answer is actually a gay character — his character [prostitute Willie O’Keefe] in JFK. I would’ve loved to play a woman version of that character.
Did Kevin consult you before deciding to do that full-frontal
nude scene in Wild Things?
No, he didn’t consult me, goddamn it! Hey, if it’s needed and it works, go for it. And it seemed to make quite a splash, so that’s the good news.
Would you bare all for a role?
Uh, maybe. Remember that scene with Julianne Moore in Short Cuts? There’s something totally disarming about seeing a woman totally naked, and I think it could be great. I’ve definitely done sex scenes, but I don’t think you’ve ever actually seen my chocha.
The Advocate, July 2007 issue.