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By Suzanne

Interview with Kyra Sedgwick and James Duff of "The Closer" on TNT 11/17/10.

TURNER ENTERTAINMENT
Moderator: Wendy Levison
November 17, 2010 11:40 am CT

Operator:    Good day and welcome to the Turner Entertainment conference call with Kyra Sedgwick and James Duff of The Closer. Todayís conference is being recorded.

At this time, I would like to turn the conference over to Ms. Wendy Levison, please go ahead.

Wendy Levison: Good afternoon. Thank you so much for joining with the conference call with Kyra Sedgwick and James Duff of The Closer. The Closer returns with all new episodes on Monday, December 6 at 9:   00/8:   00 Central on TNT.

The conference callís now is open for question. Please press star 1 to ask a question. Thank you.

Operator:    And as a reminder, it is star and one if you would like to ask a question. You may remove yourself from the question queue at any time by pressing the pound key. Once again, itís star and 1 to ask a question.

And it looks like our first question comes from the site of Jay Jacobs with PopEntertainment.com. Your line is open.

Jay Jacobs:    Thank you Kyra and James. Thanks for talking to us.

Kyra Sedgwick:    Hi.

James Duff:    Itís our pleasure.

Jay Jacobs:    I really enjoyed the first episode. I was just wondering there is so much political stuff going on in this ((inaudible)) this season and Brenda is so much not a political animal. Why do you think itís interesting to have her in these situations?

James Duff:    I think itís interesting because of the premise in your question. Sheís not a political animal and sheís having to navigate political waters. Itís a huge obstacle to her and I think it gives the character, I mean itís just something interesting to play in the characters dynamic. Donít you think Kyra?

Kyra Sedgwick:    Oh yes for sure. I mean I think that you know I think everyone projects their own dreams and aspirations on to her. I think that you know whether itís Mary McDonald or itís Fritz and I think that often happens in the world. And I think that you know she you know where Ė what she wants gets completely lost in the shuffle because sheís also a person who doesnít really know what she wants until actually the last you know I think.

And I canít remember which episode it is but thereís one in these final five when she finally gets clear about what it is that she wants. But I think that sheís easily malleable because thereís all these people with all these very strong opinions about what she should do. So I think that, I think that it makes her you know just a great stuff to play and great places for her to go.

James Duff:    And also weíre told throughout our lives that we should be ambitious, that we should want to climb the ladder. And not everybody actually does want to do that. And it seems like that itís a question of you know the pressures that society puts on us to excel and how they measure that ability to excel. Excel is oftentimes measured by the position in front of your name. Rather than how you were actually performing.

Iíve never been, by the way, I mean Iíve never been in an apolitical work place. Even when I was attending bar, Iím not kidding Ė people jacking for the shift and people having all kinds of good reasons why they couldnít work Monday. And also, even Acme rubber stamp company when I was going to college, even there. So I think people relate to politics in the work place.

Operator:    And it looks like our next question comes from the site of Richard Eldridge with Atlanta Magazine. Your line is open.

Richard Eldridge:    Hello James and Kyra. Thank you for doing this. I wanted to ask; I think the returning episode, Old Money on December 6, really sort of brilliantly illustrates my question about the tone of the show and how itís evolved. Weíve got, in a single episode, very, very strong dramatic elements.

Weíve got sexiness, and weíve got these laugh out loud funny moments. And I wanted to ask Ė and now weíve seen other crime shows on other networks sort of take on the same tone that youíve kind of carved out here. I wanted the both of you to talk a little bit about how that tone evolved on the show and how the actors and their chemistry in the ensemble affected that?

Kyra Sedgwick:    I think you should start with Ellen, James.

James Duff:    Okay, all right well you know. I mean the tone evolved, I mean after our first episode. Our second episode has her trying to get to a crime scene with a book of maps and being utterly lost. And then going to make an arrest and trying to make a statement by going off by herself and Gabrielle following and saying. ďAre you sure you can find the way?Ē

And this comes from my own observation with police officers who are at their darkest and funniest when theyíre standing 6 feet away from a dead body. And thatís human nature. You know thatís the humor of the hang man. And itís just a Ė you know we visit some very, very dark places in this show. And I just feel we need to bring a flash light with us. And that flash light is humor a little bit.

Itís Ė and you know we also decided early on what we wanted was that, not only for there to be a mystery about you know a crime that you could follow but also a total mystery so that you never knew what you were going to get when you stepped inside The Closer. So that it was not so formulaic. We wanted to stay Ė we wanted to keep the formula from hardening, I guess is what I would say.

And then just to add to that, one other thing, is that most of the cast has a huge range. And I mean all of the cast is ranging but I mean some of the case like J.K. Simmons whose knows for his dramatic work got his start, his big break is playing Captain Hook in Peter Pan. And Corey Reynolds was nominated for an Oscar, I mean Oscar, I mean a Tony for Hairspray.

And you have all these actors with comic chops and you donít want to not use those. You donít want to narrow the range that your actors can play when they can do so much. And I think too and maybe Kyra would answer this, I think going in and doing a episode 8 like last year where she has to you know make a decision about taking this gang boy back home. I think doing an episode like that every week would be hard on the actors. I think the lighter episodes are necessary to help them not live in such dark places all day long.

Kyra Sedgwick:    Yes, I think so too. I think itís really good for the actors to be able to do that and it also feels very real and very right. I mean when you talk to Ė one of our writers is an ex-police detective for 25 years with that of the LAPD and he you know heís laughing all the time about the most horrific things that happen to him. So I think it wouldnít feel Ė it wouldnít have that you know reality to it if we didnít have the humor.

And I also, and also I guess it gives a good break for our audience too because we donít just want to be somber and gloom all the time. I mean you know and I do think that, I do think that Ė you know anyway Iím done.

James Duff:    Remember too there was a grave digger in Hamlet whoís really funny.

Kyra Sedgwick:    Yes, right.

James Duff:    And in Macbeth you have the porter whoís very funny. I mean thereís an element of that, that you have to keep that there to keep I think the audience. And you want valleys and troughs and as well as plateaus and hills. We probably over answered the question.

Kyra Sedgwick:    Itís okay.

James Duff:    All right.

Operator:    And it looks like our next question will come from the site of Liz Gordon with Yahoo. Your line is open.

Liz Gordon:    Oh hi guys. So itís sort of a follow-up then. What specifically is going on this season to keep things fresh and interesting you know for viewers whoíve been watching several seasons?

James Duff:    Hope is dangling onto his job by a thread. And major crimes is you know on the chopping block again because Ė and this is the way, I mean, this is not just the way the LAPD moves but one chief centralizes everything and the next chief decentralizes everything. And thatís kind of the human condition ((inaudible)) that you get the person in-charge wants to redo everything and the person, the next person whose in-charge comes in and redoes what they do and thatís what weíre facing.

We have a new chief and a new order is going to be put on top of things. So you have that and then her parents arrive with a big surprise.

Kyra Sedgwick:    Thatís fun.

James Duff:    And they arrive in episode 14 with a huge surprise and Ö

Kyra Sedgwick:    And our final two were just the darkest episodes of course because theyíre for Christmas which is lovely. And then thereís also a moment where Ö

James Duff:    But thereís also, our life is difficult.

Kyra Sedgwick:    Right, right, really?

James Duff:    Yes, yes. I mean thereís lightness. I mean if you remember the business of Taylor in a Santa suit.

Kyra Sedgwick:    Oh thatís right, youíre right. Itís very mixed but I mean the story is pretty dark.

James Duff:    The story is very dark.

Kyra Sedgwick:    The story is pretty Ė I mean like the murder is pretty dark. And then thereís a great moment where you know Gabriel goes over my head. I mean I think Ė you know what Iíve been saying to people James, you may not agree with this but to me sheís more like alone than ever this season. I think that was sort of an unintentional theme of this whole season and ((inaudible)) are the same way.

Again you know that thing of everyone projecting onto her what they think she should want and need and who she is. She almost you know. And then sheís always having to make Ė she continues to have to make these decisions that leave her very much alone.

James Duff:    In her antagonism with Pope early on left her alone. I mean because she normally could count on him. And also her antagonism with Fritz about this issues both the men in her life having huge opinions on what she should do. And this goes back to always playing Ė one thing that weíve always tried to do is play the pressures of being a woman in the workplace, a woman in power in the workplace. And itís not so simple. I mean we say itís all very simple but itís not. Thereís still so much that has to change that hasnít changed.

Kyra Sedgwick:    Yes.

James Duff:    Great. Again weíre probably Ė I try to live it myself. All right.

Operator:    And weíll move next to the site of Curt Wagner with RedEye. Your line is open.

Curt Wagner:    Hi guys, nice to talk to you both again. I was wondering, you may have sort of given this away but I was just wondering Ė I was very happy that Brenda did not get the big promotion last season. But now weíre faced with another one. And I was wondering what Ė does Brenda really want to be promoted because I would think that what she does best, she would not be able to do.

Kyra Sedgwick:    Yes I think that she really spent most of the season trying to figure out what it is that she wanted especially with the influence of all these people in her life that she respected and if not loved telling her that she should want this thing. And I think that ultimately where she comes to in the last five episodes, in one of the last five episodes is what she really wants.

And I think thatís great because I think thatís really hard for Brenda to know what she wants. I think she spends most of her life knowing what, why everyone is the way they are and what makes them tick and you know how and what motivates them, what is really their driving force in their life. And I donít think that she really knows sheís not a self-aware person. So I think itís sort of a wonderful moment when she finally realizes what it is that she wants and what she doesnít want.

Curt Wagner:    All right and I was wondering if Ė oh go ahead.

James Duff:    I agree with that.

Curt Wagner:    And I was wondering if weíre ever going to see that lunch with her and Captain Raydor.

Kyra Sedgwick:    Yes right good point. Are we?

James Duff:    Yes we will see definitely see that lunch one day. Not in these back five but definitely you will see. You know Oscar Wilde had a great quote and Iíll just mention this, itís sort of Iíll hint at this and see. He said, ďWoman only call each other sister after calling each other a lot of other things first.Ē And thatís the take where weíre sort of maneuvering I guess a little bit with Raydor to make her and Brenda surprisingly close in some ways. Although they still have a ways to go. I would say great ways to go. But theyíre moving in that direction.

Kyra Sedgwick:    Yes.

Operator:    And weíll move next to the site of Earl Dittman with Wireless Magazine.

Earl Dittman:    How are you all this morning?

James Duff:    Fine.

Kyra Sedgwick:    Fine.

Earl Dittman:    That was part of my question. It seems like that, part of my question, is that it seems like Captain Raydor would be great allies if they got past a certain point. And are they too much alike to get along sometimes, Kyra?

James Duff:    I think they are a little bit.

Kyra Sedgwick:    I think so. I mean I think that you know I mean Ė well I donít know how alike they are actually. I think that they Ė no I actually think theyíre very different and I think that sort of what Ė with the greatest obstacle in their relationship and I think that because she Ė I mean thatís a really hard question.

I mean in some ways they are very similar but in some ways they are very different. I think that she is much more of a political animal and she is much more of a by the rules kind of person. And I think that she, well, actually now Iím going to ((inaudible)). Yes that actually, she thinks that theyíre very different but then ultimately Ė I mean I guess in that final scene before she actually goes for her meeting with the mayor, it really becomes clear that Raydor only took the IA job because she wanted, she felt it important for a woman to be in a uniform and it was the fastest way to move up in rank.

And so it wasnít that it was her passion to you know interrogate and to put you know put police officers in a bad spot but she, but it was the job that could get her you know up the fastest. And I think that in that way they are different because I donít think that you know I donít think that Brenda is about you know getting more or getting higher in rank and she has no ambitions in that area.

I think that in some ways she sort of thatís the worded desire of you know she never really did get to do what she wanted to do and in some ways Brenda is going to do what she wants to do. So I think probably by the end of this season, we learn that there are more alike than they appear. Right, James?

James Duff:    Yes, and I was going to say, they come from different countries, ((inaudible)). And friendship seems unlikely between and IA Captain and a Homicide Deputy Chief. I mean itís just very unlikely in the real world. And just the panic used to the word friend when she introduces Captain Raydor to her parents.

Kyra Sedgwick:    Right, right, right.

James Duff:    Creates a moment of stunned reactions from her squad. Sheís trying to introduce Sharon Raydor to her Mom and Dad and she pops out with the word friend. And everybody is stunned by that. And itís Ė so itís more of a ((inaudible)) I think you have to establish first. And theyíre establishing Ė and youíre right. You know they would make formidable allies but how often do we see that in life where two people who would make formidable allies are at terrible odds and canít manage. You donít know whether they would make better friends or better enemies.

Operator:    And weíll move next to the site of Ö

Kyra Sedgwick:    ((Inaudible)) 1 oíclock. Can we just make this the last question?

Wendy Levison::    Yes absolutely thanks.

Kyra Sedgwick:    Sorry I worked around that rule.

Wendy Levison::    Yes absolutely.

Kyra Sedgwick:    Okay.

Operator:    And our last question comes from the site of David Martindale with Hearst Newspapers. Your line is open.

David Martindale:    Okay thank you. Hi I enjoyed the return episode. Got to love Tony Denison.

Kyra Sedgwick:    Really.

David Martindale:    Yes. This isnít a question but if I woke up in a hospital bed, I would love to have Brenda pressed up against me and dotting on like that. Question for Kyra, I interviewed James MacArthur years ago. He was Danno in the original Hawaii Five-O of course. And he told me about this great story about being pulled over for speeding and the punch line is basically the cop giving him back his license and saying just a warning Danno professional courtesy slow down.

Now Iím sure that youíre an excellent driver but when you hear that story that I just repeated given the respect that real life police have for the show, can you relate, like been there, done that in any context or is the opposite true? Maybe youíve got a ticket that you now think you should have gotten a free pass?

Kyra Sedgwick:    No but I definitely get, it is nice to get the respect from you know our fellow officers or you know officers that are actually in the field. Like I definitely think that we really do try very hard to just stay real, and true and current. But sometimes, I actually got a ticket for walking after you know off lease after a certain time and I really had hope that it was going to end up by being somebody who was a fan of The Closer but she hadnít a clue as to who I was or cared either way and gave me the ticket anyway. So I hope to cash in on that someday but it hasnít happened yet.

David Martindale:    Okay.

James Duff:    Other members of the cast have. I know Raymond was pulled over on a motorcycle and he took off his helmet and the cop just went up, started jumping up and down, he was so excited to meet him and gave him a warning. And Ė but on the other hand, Jon Tenney who plays an FBI agent has gotten three speeding tickets.

Kyra Sedgwick:    Well he needs to stop driving so fast. And then he threw out a banana out of his car and had to do service on the side of the highway.

James Duff:    A banana peel and we actually used that in the show. And he said I was driving a hybrid. And I canít help but wonder if the ((inaudible)) antagonism between the police and the FBI shows us in Jonís traffic record.

Kyra Sedgwick:    Oh.

David Martindale:    Maybe on to something. Well thank you so much. Itís a pleasure.

Kyra Sedgwick:    Thank you.

Wendy Levison::    Okay, weíre going to go ahead and let Kyra go. Thank you very much.

Kyra Sedgwick:    All right, thanks you guys.

James Duff:    Bye Kyra.

Kyra Sedgwick:    Bye James.

James Duff:    Iíll talk to you later. Hello? Okay. I think I can go too.

Operator:    And at this time Iíd like to turn the call back over to Wendy Levison: for any closing remarks.

Wendy Levison::    Thank you so much for joining todayís call. As a reminder The Closer returns on Monday, December 6 at 9:   00/8:   00 Central of TNT. A transcript of this call will be available in 24 hours. Please check with your respective TNT publicist. Thank you, Kyra and James, and thank you all for participating.

James Duff:    Bye everybody.

Operator:    And this does conclude todayís teleconference. Thank you for your participation. You may disconnect at anytime and have a wonderful day.

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