Surprise DGA Nominee Kyra Sedgwick on Directing: ‘It Hasn’t Been Easy for Me’

After the “all-male lineup” of directing nominees at the Golden Globes — as presenter Natalie Portman put it so pointedly — the Directors Guild did offer a bit more inclusiveness when the organization unveiled its TV awards yesterday. While far from parity, women represented three of the five nominees for comedy, while the drama and movies/limited series races each included one woman.

Among them is Kyra Sedgwick, who earned a surprise nod for her debut effort, Lifetime’s “Story of a Girl,” alongside stalwarts Scott Frank (“Godless”), Barry Levinson (“The Wizard of Lies”), Jean-Marc Vallee (“Big Little Lies”), and George C. Wolfe (“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”).

“It’s a total shock — there was no expectation on my part,” Sedgwick told Variety. “I didn’t even think for a second that I would even be in the running. I can’t believe the company I’m in. It feels like a real vote of confidence, which is amazing.”

Sedgwick is the only female nominee in the group, which wasn’t lost on her (“I love to be the one female representing,” she said), especially given the well-documented lack of parity women directors experience.

“Listen, the numbers are terrible: We all know the statistics. They’re embarrassing,” she said. “We need to do better. Our work is fully commensurate to men. We’re just not being given the opportunity enough.”

Despite her fame in front of the camera, Sedgwick says it took her longer than she expected to be taken seriously as a helmer. “Because as we know it’s not easy for female directors. And it hasn’t been easy for me,” she said.

“I think it’s hard for people to see you in a new role, and especially in a role that is often dominated by men. It’s hard for people to hire a woman over a man. but I think that’s changing.”

Even with the success of that effort, she has yet to line up her next project, but hopes this recognition will help her land that next directing gig. “This is really going to help me,” she said. “It’s not like people have been beating down my door to hire for the next directing job, even though I’ve been beating down their door. But hopefully this will really make a a difference.” She had meeting on several projects she’s “dying to do,” as well as optioning her own projects and lining up episodic work. “I know that’s a great training ground,” she said.

But she hopes this nod will change the conversation for her. “It’s also given me a real boost of confidence: ‘Yes, you’re supposed to be doing this, keep going,'” she said. “That’s the message I get.”

And she’s enjoying the challenge of being behind the camera. “I think that as an actor, I’ve always understood the fact that I’m a small part of communicating what a writer is trying to say with a script,” she said. “And as a director, I am in service of that script in a much bigger way. I love the idea that I get to be in charge of what the audience sees at all times. There’s something about that that feels really good.”

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