The Return of Sex and the City !


Every summer, there are countless blockbusters filled with action and explosions for the guys, but movies made specifically for women are so few and far between, that when a popular television show like HBO’s Sex and the City is turned into a movie, you can only imagine the frenzy it might cause among the estrogen set.

For the ladies who love the show and have been waiting patiently for the return of Carrie Bradshaw, her best friends Charlotte, Samantha and Miranda, and their respective love interests, they’re not likely to be disappointed with what the show’s writer and executive producer Michael Patrick King has produced for their first feature film, which has all of the things they loved about the show. spent a few hours talking to everyone involved a few weeks back, and first up, we have Sarah Jessica Parker, the star and executive producer of the series and movie, who talks about the decision to continue the series as a feature film, and when you’re done reading that, you can read our interviews with Parker’s long-time co-stars Cynthia Nixon, Kim Cattrall and Kristin Davis here. Assuming you were happy with where the show ended up, why did the creative team decide to make a film instead of simply doing another season of the show?
Parker: The seeds had been planted for the movie… Two years ago last month, in April 2006, I picked up the phone and started putting the pieces back together again, and in the latter part of the summer in 2006, we got Michael involved. The only reason we didn’t get him involved right away is that I knew that Michael wasn’t able to just visit and ponder an idea; that he would just go and write a script and it would be too reckless of me to suggest it without really knowing there was some reality to it. I don’t think that Michael and I wanted to come back in series form. Our personal lives were different. I have a son that, as I’ve said earlier today, he still really likes us and wants us around. Now is not the time for me to leave him and a movie is a finite period of time and so, lo and behold, two years later here we are.

CS: Logistically, how hard was it assembling the principal players from the show for the film?
Parker: That was not the biggest challenge of making this movie. (Laughs.) And I will tell you that the men were as complicated as the women, so just to break all myths and rumors. No, the logistics… It’s the perfunctory details that are far more difficult in producing a movie and this particular movie. It took us a really long time to get a green light. We had to find a home, and it was important to me that it remain in the Time Warner family and that it was someone that feels proprietary about this franchise the way Michael Patrick and I do, who wanted to tell the story we wanted to tell, which is not the conventional romantic comedy. You don’t do a second and most of a third act with bleakness, and securing sound stages and getting our crew back and figuring it all out with the shortest prep time. It was a ridiculously short prep time. That was the hard part. Michael Patrick I think started editing January 19 and he got on a plane to come here May 1. I think it is literally the shortest post in like cinema history. So, that has been the hardest part – all that stuff. The people? Not that complicated. I think that everybody just wanted to be there so much.

CS: Was it easy to get back into the Carrie mindset that first day on the set? Did you have any fears or concerns about where she was now four years after the last show?
Parker: I always just worry. It’s who I am. I always think that I’m going to be fired the first week of any job. Even in this movie. I didn’t think that I was going to be fired from this. I just thought I was disappointing Michael. I always just think that. It’s just the way I function at the top of every job. It’s not hard to play the first scene, which was seeing Chris (Noth), waving at him, walking across the street, kissing him, walking into an apartment building and all the first scenes of the movie. That was really what we shot first. For the first few days, it was myself and Chris and then it was Kristin and the last day of that week Kim and Cynthia joined us. So by the time it was the four women on Park Avenue on that perfect September day it was just unforgettable. The concerns I had weren’t really that week. That week was just lubricating the machine and getting it up and running. The harder stuff came, just the emotional stuff that Carrie had never experienced before, was just very painful. It was surprisingly upsetting, but it was the role of a lifetime. I wouldn’t have run from it. I ran toward it completely, but it was very sad to see that happen to her. I was so proud and shocked and relieved that a studio let us tell that story. But it wasn’t easy.

CS: Can you talk about working with Jennifer Hudson?
Parker: Oh, where to begin. J-Hud. First of all, I just think we were extraordinarily lucky that she was interested and beyond that just that there was this incredible enthusiasm. It’s fortuitous for a lot of reasons. The first is that it was so necessary to contrast where Carrie is now and when Louise arrives in Manhattan and she identifies New York with all the hope and all the promise and all the potential that this city is identified with and even the superficial and this desire for love in all its simplicity and it was so important that we have that 20-year-old perspective. It was also very important that we address the one short-coming on our show, which was we had no women of color and that always concerned me and I talked a lot about that with Michael Patrick. So, it was this wonderful confluence of things that came together, and we realized we wanted a 20-to-23-year-old, whatever that meant and we wanted a person of color and who else is there but Jennifer Hudson? (Laughs.) At that point, you’re like, well, you kind of dream big. You just go big. You just dream big, which is what we did with Mischa, too. We were like, “This is the longest shot in history.”

What was so exciting about what she did on-screen, which I think is so surprising. First of all, in “Dreamgirls” she didn’t get to play the beautiful one. That was literally not her part. And she’s so beautiful. She’s very beautiful and she’s really tall, but she brings a maternal quality. So how this 20-year-old person comes into Carrie’s life and reminds her and not in a regretful way, but also provides this maternal necessity so that when they are taken apart, it kills me. You know when she says: “St. Louise, you brought me back to life.” It’s like “Good God!” I could barely get the lines out of my mouth, but if someone else had been playing it maybe it would have been easier, but it wasn’t because it was her.

CS: Why was it important to keep the secrets under wraps?
Parker: Well, it’s not important, really, to keep it a secret. It’s not going to make somebody sit better. It’s not going to change the political climate right now. It’s not going to fix problems across the world. We just really wanted the people who cared, who invested the time and the interest in the past 10 years, who wanted this experience – because it was only through their enthusiasm that we could even make this movie – we wanted them to have the experience of not having it spoiled, plain and simple. When you see someone reading the same book, your first instinct is: “Don’t tell me the ending! What page are you on?” It’s not because you’re not going to make any money by knowing the ending. You just want literature. You want the ending the way you want it when you want it.

CS: Why do you think “Sex and the City” has resonated with so many people?
Parker: Ten years ago, this was a new voice. There are many books we could all look to and say, “Women have been intimate in books for a long time” but we had never seen it illustrated on television and we certainly never had the machine of HBO behind that voice. What I mean by that is, had we been on network television, we couldn’t have told those stories the way we did.

CS: People are going to want a sequel. Do you think you’ll be able to get all the pieces in place again?
Parker: I’m not trying to dodge the question. Getting to this point has been the sole professional focus of my life for the last two years. I never thought I would be sitting here talking to you on this day about this movie. I swear I’m not making this up that Michael and I talk at the end of each of these (interview) days and we cannot believe this is happening. We cannot believe this dream has come true. So, to think beyond this is greedy. It’s not up to us anyway. You will all have your opinions and your colleagues across the country will have their opinions and then there is the audience. This has been a dream. To ask for anything more is just vulgar, really.

Sex and the City opens nationwide on Friday, May 30. You can read our interviews with Cynthia Nixon, Kim Cattrall and Kristin Davis here.