Kyra Sedgwick spent seven seasons starring as LAPD Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson on the police drama The Closer, and tonight, she makes her multi-camera comedy debut on ABC’s Call Your Mother, playing Jean Raines, an empty-nester mom, who wonders how she ended up alone at home in Iowa, while her children live their best lives thousands of miles away in Los Angeles.
So, what’s a mother to do? She packs up and moves to California to reinsert herself back into the lives of her children – son Freddie (Joey Bragg) and daughter Jackie (Rachel Sennott) – who just might realize they actually need her more than they thought.
“I am having an incredibly great time,” Sedgwick told reporters during a junket for her new series. “You do spend the whole day laughing, you do spend the whole day aiming to be funny, and aiming to be real, but it’s dialed up to 11 or 12, which is also kind of great for me because I feel like I’m a very emotional person. Sometimes I freak people out because I am that way. It’s a good trait, I guess, to have.”
Of course, Jean decides to stay in L.A. by the end of the first episode, but she quickly discovers that her children have created new lives of their own: they have jobs and friends, so she needs to figure out where she goes from there.
“She realizes that she has to branch out a little bit,” Sedgwick continued. “It can’t just be about the kids. They don’t want to hang around that much. I think Jean is heads up enough to know that.”
During the chat, Sedgwick also talked about similarities between her real life as a mom and Jean’s life, whether or not hubby Kevin Bacon might drop in for a guest star role, and more.
Monsters & Critics: How are you finding working in this new format?
Kyra Sedgwick: I can’t wait for the time we can actually have the audience here because this whole thing is built with the idea that you run it in front of an audience, like a play. We still do run it like a play at the end of certain rehearsal days, but you don’t get that exciting feeling of the plan that we’re getting it and they’re getting it.
And, also, you don’t get that buzz from being in front of an audience. I have done theater and there’s nothing like it. And there’s nothing like making people laugh. It feels so vital, and it feels more vital now than ever, but it always feels vital. It feels like when people are laughing, they feel unguarded.
M&C: Tell us about your character Jean.
Kyra Sedgwick: I love her so much. I can relate to a lot of what she’s going through. There’s so many things about being a parent that really resonate with me.
No. 1: I honestly think if someone told me that you were actually going to have to be a mom for the rest of your life, not just the first 18 years of their life, but your whole life — that you would be thinking about them, and wondering about them, and worried about how they’re doing, and wanting to talk to them, and wanting to hang out with them your whole life, you might actually think twice about having children.
No. 2: You have the child and you are everything to this child and then if you do your job right, you get fired and they leave you. Seriously, I can remember [executive producer] Kari [Lizer] and I having this conversation. I feel fired and I have a good relationship with my kids. So, I can relate to wanting to be closer to them. You birthed them and, if you’re lucky, they turn out to be great people and you want to hang out with them, but they have other things to do for the most part.
M&C: In the first episode, Jean is discovering this new relationship she has with her kids as adults in the series, but she also finds herself in a new stage of her life, possibly with a new man. What does this look like for her?
Kyra Sedgwick: I know for me, again, as a mother, I am constantly having to redefine my relationship with my adult children. The stuff that I could say or could do when they were 8, 10, 12, 14, even 20, it is not stuff I can do now. Now, I need to zip my lip a lot and ask for them to ask me my advice or my thoughts whatever, my feedback of any kind frankly. Having to navigate that is interesting.
And as far as the relationship goes, I have been married forever, but for Jean, she’s been a widow for a really long time and that just seems the norm, okay, and doable. Like, “I’ve got the kids, so okay, I don’t need that other thing, or “they’re all consuming and I just want to be there for them.” Suddenly it’s like maybe there’s another version of that. All of those things are happening.
M&C: Is it possible Kevin will guest star?
Kyra Sedgwick: Probably not.
M&C: You mentioned your real-life children. Are they worried that things that happened in your home will wind up on the TV screen?
Kyra Sedgwick: What I will say about my kids is, as is their usual wont, they don’t watch our shows. Our kids have no interest in thinking of us as anything other than mom and dad. They probably won’t be watching. I don’t mean it in a bad way. It’s more, “I don’t want to see her pretending to have another child.”
They know I’m not the writer, so they’re probably not worried about it. They might see a few familiar things, actually, now that I think about it, but I bet they don’t watch.
Call Your Mom premieres tonight at 9:30 p.m. ET/8:30c on ABC.