‘Call Your Mother’s Kyra Sedgwick on How Kevin Bacon Helped Inspire Her to Do a Comedy
Kyra Sedgwick wasn’t looking for a sitcom as her next TV project.
Yes, since her TNT drama The Closer wrapped in 2012, she’s admired Allison Janney’s work on Mom and guest starred on a dozen episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine as a rival to Andre Braugher’s Captain Holt. But the wheels didn’t start turning to look for a full-time comedy gig until she watched husband Kevin Bacon in the “Draft Dodger” episode of All in the Family on ABC’s Live in Front of a Studio Audience in December 2019. “He had the best time, and it was comedy that was funny but also really about something,” she recalls.
Then writer Kari Lizer (The New Adventures of Old Christine), whom Sedgwick had worked with on a failed HBO pilot in 2014, came to her with Call Your Mother. “This was really about something — about how hard it is to be a mom,” Sedgwick says.
In this case, Mom is Iowa-based Jean Raines, a loving widow and middle school teacher whose two children — 25-year-old Jackie (Rachel Sennott) and 23-year-old Freddie (Joey Bragg) — live in Los Angeles, leaving her nest very empty. She surprises them with a visit — and again when she decides to stay. Jean rents a guest house from handsome Aussie Danny (Patrick Brammall), “who happens to be in the middle of a divorce,” Lizer is quick to note.
Sedgwick called to fill us in.
What do you relate to most with Jean?
Kyra Sedgwick: My kids [Travis, 31, and Sosie, 28] are older now, but when they’re here for dinner or we’re spending a week together, you’re 100 percent back in as a mom and then you’re fired again [when they leave]. You’re constantly doing this dance of how much do I insinuate myself? How much unsolicited advice do I give?
Will Freddie and Jackie realize they actually do need their mom?
Yes. Jean is getting in their way, but they need her more than even she thought. Especially Jackie, so we do a deeper dive into the complexities of a mother-daughter relationship. It’s also a coming of age for my character. She starts having her own life.
Film (Singles, Something to Talk About) and TV have both been very good to you. Did you ever think you had to choose between them?
When I was asked to do The Closer, it wasn’t the cool thing to do, but a lot of the success of that show paved the way for women over 40 to get great roles on television. Wherever the part is, that’s where I’m going to go.
And comedy was always there with The Closer‘s Brenda Leigh Johnson, wasn’t it?
Very much so. I loved that we had these dramatic, intense episodes and then we’d have a slapstick Lucille Ball episode. It was fantastic. I was really grateful that I was able to work on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Sitcoms have a style of writing — it’s a music. And if you don’t hear that music, you’re in trouble. But if you do hear that music, you just want to play it all day long.
Might we see Kevin make an appearance on Call Your Mother?
You never know! He clearly could do this kind of comedy, and it’d sure be great to have him.
Call Your Mother, Series Premiere, Wednesday, January 13, 9:30/8:30c, ABC