If you've been paying attention, you know Kyra Sedgwick's love for all things film and television have kept her very busy since she stopped playing one of our all-time favorite TV characters, Brenda Lee Johnson on The Closer.
Whether she's been taking smaller roles on comedies like Brooklyn Nine-Nine or enlisting her family for her directorial debut with Lifetime's Story of a Girl, Sedgwick never disappoints and always makes a statement.
Playing the lead on ABC's new drama, Ten Days in the Valley, will be no different. Sedgwick embraces the character of Jane Sadler, a woman who not only writes mysteries of her own, but finds herself at the very heart of one, as well.
Sedgwick will be in front of the camera as Sadler and behind as one of the executive producers of Ten Days in the Valley, drawn to the series by the script and character of Jane Sadler. "I was very surprised by her," Sedgwick said, "She definitely kept me guessing and interested."
"I love the kind of things that I felt like the show might grapple with, which is this archetypal mother/child relationship and the guilt that is inherent in that that seems to be universal for mothers. Most mothers feel that way. At least American mothers," Sedgwick shared her interest in the subject matter.
"I was interested in a woman who in some ways is a truth seeker and a truth teller and yet is in her personal life now," she said while continuing her interest in powerful women who are in businesses dominated by men.
Very high on her list of reasons to become involved with the program was the number of women involved. "Tassie Cameron is a woman. She's the showrunner, and the women at Sky Dance, which is the studio, the TV side, is all women," Sedgwick continued.
"I really feel strongly that you can't just sit around and complain about the fact that women don't have the opportunities. If you're a powerful person in Hollywood that can actually help and support that, you should. That was also a really big part of why I was interested."
Sedgwick's character, Jane Sadler, seems like a departure from characters viewers are used to seeing her play. Sedgwick agrees.
"Yeah. I think it is hard because I think that she's really a bundle of contradictions, and I really don't think we know so much about her. I think she's someone who holds her truth really close to the vest and is not interested in sharing with people who she is, what she is, what her motivations are.
"I think she's incredibly private and wanting to keep a lot of secrets. She's ambitious. She loves fiercely, and she's juggling a lot of balls," Sedgwick explains.
"Work-wise and being a working mother, but she's also very much juggling a lot of balls because she's telling half-truths or even quarter truths a lot of the time. You know when you lie, how much harder it is when you lie. "
While the central mystery of the first chapter of the story of Ten Days in the Valley will be wrapped up by the end of Season 1, there is more story to tell. "I'm not sure what it is, honestly. We don't know yet," Sedgwick admits, "but we'll figure something out."
That might even include directing in the second season, something she would definitely be on board with.
At the time we talked, Sedgwick had just celebrated another birthday, and I had to ask what she thought about roles for "older" women on television given this year's Emmy nominations and a television canvas that has brought about some of the best roles for women in quite some time. To what does she attribute the trend and does she see it continuing?
"I attribute it to The Closer," Sedgwick laughed. "Just kidding, but only sort of. The Closer was a really big part of this. You've got to make money. This is show business. We made a lot of money for Turner. We made a lot of money for Warner Brothers. Jeff Bewkes came up to me at a few events and was like, 'You know, you're basically keeping us afloat.'
"I really think that great parts for women are getting written because of shows like The Closer and shows like Weeds and shows that were in the beginning at the cutting edge of that and they made money.
"People went, 'Wow. Maybe not so much in the movies yet,' and we're still sort of clawing our way in on that one, but on TV, women are interested. People are interested in watching complex characters who are women. I think they'd be interested in any venue, but that's what's happening now.
"They're successful. If they weren't successful, I don't think anyone would be saying, 'We really need to write complex parts for women,' you know? It's a business. Making money for people. I think it's great, and I also think that really great writers are going to television. That's really good."
If television has become a very successful platform for women, writers are moving to television, it's generally thought 2017 is a terrible year for movies, but Wonder Woman is one of the biggest success stories, let's talk about women, I posed to Sedgwick.
Hey, it's not often you get to talk about women with the likes of Kyra Sedgwick, right?
"Yeah, right on. Let's talk about women. Look, here's the thing. We're making shitty movies, and I think that's why people aren't going to the movies. There are a lot of stupid movies that are getting made," Sedgwick supposed. "I think people have fallen out of going to the movies.
"The Big Sick is huge," she continued. "That's a human story with great characters. That movie has made a ton of money. My hope for that and the fact that it came out in the summer is the power, the beauty, the studios and the financiers will go, 'Okay. Let's take five million of what we were going to take. Let's take five million out of that $350 million movie that we were going to make and go make eight small movies.'
"Pick a certain chunk of money, make eight movies, and see how they do out in the world. My hope is that better stuff will come out, but I also feel, sadly, like we have become a culture that does their shopping at home online.
Sedgwick continued, "I think it's sad because to me, after having just directed a movie, I can tell you that when people sit in a movie together and watch the movie I did, Story of a Girl, which is very much a family story and a women's story, they are having a communal experience that's deeper and more profound than what they would have at home in their living room with their devices around them.
"The audience is breathing together, laughing together and crying together. They are one organism. There's something very holy about that happening. It also deepens the experience, I think, for people. Now that would have to be a great movie.
"Also, I think that people coming together in a common space is important because that there are not many places where we come together as equals. I like the idea that I like taking the subway, and I like going to the movies. You know what I mean? I think it's part of being human and having human connections.
Sedgwick is particularly fond of The Big Sick because it evokes, while in the theater, a feeling you haven't had since childhood. "When you really liked going to the movies. Yeah, just a human story. No bells or whistles. It's like Story of a Girl.
"Just a human story about real people that you can really relate to, and you look at that person and go, 'God. I know how that feels.' You feel more human because you see yourself reflected back to you. It's the reason I became an actor, to exercise people's compassion.
"I just think that it has more ability to get into your heart when you're in a dark room, in a dark space without any distractions together with other people. I don't know. I'm just totally into it and it makes me really sad."
While our interview took off onto a bit of a tangent, I apologized and hoped she didn't mind the detour. Gracious as always, Sedgwick has just the right thing to say, "I'm always happy to talk about women and what's going on in the world right now. I'd much rather talk about that."
If you think tuning in to watch one of the women most tuned into the entertainment world and most concerned about bringing a positive, joyful experience to you whether she's involved or not is your thing, then watch Ten Days in the Valley tonight on ABC at 10/9c.
To miss even a minute of something involving or recommended by Kyra Sedgwick would be a tragedy.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA), enjoys mentoring writers, wine, and passionately discussing the nuances of television. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.