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Kyra Sedgwick Talks About "Personal Velocity" and Her Husband, Kevin Bacon
by Rebecca Murray and Fred Topel

Kyra Sedgwick and Leo Fitzpatrick in "Personal Velocity"
Photo©United Artists - All Rights Reserved.

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"Personal Velocity" is based on writer/director Rebecca Miller's book of short stories. The film takes an intense look at three women who are each struggling to make sense of their lives.

The film stars Fairuza Balk as Paula, a troubled 21 year-old who has a near-death experience, Parker Posey as Greta, a woman with an unexciting husband and fidelity issues, and Kyra Sedgwick as Delia, an attractive woman stuck in an abusive marriage. As the film unfolds, the three women find themselves forced to make life-changing decisions.

In this interview, the talented Kyra Sedgwick discusses her role in the film, the challenges of being an actress, and her lasting marriage to fellow actor, Kevin Bacon.


Did you have your choice of the three main roles in “Personal Velocity?”
No. [Rebecca Miller] asked me to do Delia, but I'm really glad she did.

Do you know why she asked you to do Delia?
She's really smart (laughing). I don't know why but I'm so thankful.

It seems like your character really lost her power when she was married to this horrible man for 12 years. What empowers you as a woman?
I think that certainly my choices empower me. I certainly think that my family [empowers me], very much so, and my friends. I think, like Delia, thinking that you are capable sexually is helpful. I definitely think that's a powerful thing. I think that not taking too much s**t and really making your boundaries clear - that empowers me.

How did you feel when the big focus of your character was your 'rear?'
Well, you know, I've worked long and hard on my ass. I have a kind of a flat ass but I've worked long and hard on giving it a little shape.

Why is important to do small films?
I think it's important to do great work. I think it's important to do great parts, and this is a great part. Whether it be in a small movie or a big movie, I would always be attracted to this role. I think it's important to do smaller films because I think that's where a lot of new things are happening. Hollywood movies are run on fear and they don't want to make bold choices. They, generally, speaking want to keep things status quo. That's not really interesting for me. Some of the best roles are for women in these independent, smaller movies. Also everyone's hearts are in the right place when you do a small movie. You're not doing it for the money; you're not doing it for the possibility of an Oscar nomination. You are doing it because you love the material. You are also slogging through together. There's no dressing room and it's a communal feeling of working hard for something that you really care about. That's a really good feeling.

Was there ever a time when acting got so tough you wanted to quit?
Yeah, there were a lot of times like that. Honestly, after “Something to Talk About” and “Phenomenon,” I haven't gotten a studio movie. I can't get hired in a studio movie. Everything is so uphill. I often go, “Why am I doing this?” I often feel that way but I do come back to it.

I do know that I have to work hard for every single thing that I get, really hard, and that's okay. But sometimes it gets exhausting and sometimes you're like, “Maybe I should do something where I get a lot of nice kudos.” My mother is a family therapist and almost every day someone called her, wrote her a note, or saw her on the street and said, “God, you changed my life. Thank you.” She goes, “See? It's such a nice feeling. Why don't you get out of that stupid business you're in?” I'm like, “Yeah, that would be nice.” I do it because I want to exercise people's compassion and I do it because I really believe that for some reason what I do is important and meaningful. But there are other venues for that that aren't so hard.

It's not always thankless. Let's face it - it's not always thankless. I've gotten a lot of really great recognition and I've worked with amazing people. It makes it all worth it when you are doing a great part and you are really living it, making it real, and then it lives for people on the screen. It lives for the battered wife who goes and sees “Personal Velocity” for whatever reason and goes, “Oh yeah, that's really what it's like for me.” It's a struggle but someone has got to do it. I have to believe that there are other things I can do. I don't just do it because I have to.

You are lucky to have one of the good Hollywood relationships. Can you talk about how Kevin Bacon proposed?
He put a ring in the toe of a stocking. On Christmas Eve, we opened our stockings and it was there at the bottom of the toe. Then he got down on his knees and he was shaking. He said, “Will you marry me?” I thought, “What took you so long? We've been going out for 10 months already.” (laughing) He said I took a long time to say yes but it couldn't have been more than 20 seconds.

I think we have a very real marriage. After 14 years, it better be a real marriage, you know? We do have a great time together. We are really lucky. I was very young when we got married and I don't know why it worked out like it did or how I was smart enough to know that this was the right guy, but somehow I got lucky.

Do you two have any plans to work together again?
Yes, I have something else that I produced and he directed. We have something else that we're trying to get off the ground that we have a script for. I optioned a book and we got the script written, and he wants to direct it. It's a very dark movie so we'll see if it gets made.

Do you talk about the business all the time?
No, we don't. We do talk about it but we don't spend… Most of the time we talk about the kids and what's going on other than that. We do spend time talking about it and we puzzle through it together. We ride the roller coasters together - the high highs and the low lows.

When the 'Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon' thing came out, did that affect your life?
No, not at all.

And then there was the commercial with Kevin.
Right. You know what? That was good. If it only went through this month, we'd get another big check (laughing).

He was like, “Honey, should I do this? My God, this is so slimy; I'm selling out,” and I thought, “Why the hell shouldn't you make some money off that f****ing game? You didn't ask to be a part of this thing.” But it's funny and I thought that commercial was funny.

"Personal Velocity" Production Photos

"Personal Velocity" Trailer, Credits and Websites

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