As a young Eastern European woman who conceals her Jewish heritage in order to be accepted in the genteel, Gentile world of 1940s Manhattan, Miss Rose White‘s Kyra Sedgwick comes up with a near-ideal accent: New York interrupted by brief, embarrassed flickers of Noo Yawk. ”I didn’t have to take any lessons,” says Sedgwick, a Manhattanite who grew up accent-free. ”My mother was a speech teacher, and she was always pounding into me not to use the dental T’s and D’s that people think of as a New York sound.”
As career assistance goes, Sedgwick could have gotten worse: With roles as a turn-of-the-century innocent in Ah, Wilderness! on Broadway, a 1930s Kan-san teenager in Mr. and Mrs. Bridge, and a small-town girlfriend to Tom Cruise in Born on the Fourth of July, the 26-year-old actress has won a reputation for emotionally vivid work in period pieces. But Sedgwick insists that Miss Rose White marks a departure. ”I’ve played so many characters whose hearts are on their sleeves. Whereas this one — well, I called her ‘anal Rose’. Control permeates her voice, her clothes — even her hair is sort of repressed.”
Sedgwick finally moves into the present with this summer’s Singles, an ensemble comedy-drama about the complexities of unmarried life circa 1992. Until then, Sedgwick will attend to the complexities of extremely married life: She and her husband, actor Kevin Bacon (Footloose), have a 3-year-old son, Travis, and an infant daughter, Sosie. ”Kevin and I have a deal that we’ll never work at the same time,” says Sedgwick. ”It’s tricky. Great things come along and you have to grab them while you can. Really,” she adds as 5- week-old Sosie gurgles delightedly, ”I’m ready to go back to work now. I’m not tired at all!” Now that’s acting.