First, the confession: this writer is a Sex & the City fan. And yes, the chances that I am biased here are pretty big. But after almost four years covering the movie industry I'm nearly sure I can tell the difference between a hoax and a fun piece of comedy. Michael Patrick King and the girls – Sarah Jessica Parker (Carrie), Cynthia Nixon (Miranda), Kim Catrall (Samantha) & Kristin Davis (Charlotte) – returned wiser and with more zsa-zsa-zou. The jokes work wonderfully; Chris Noth is a delight, and even the newcomer Jennifer Hudson – as Carrie Bradshaw's assistant Louise – proves that a dreamgirl can work well with the fantastic four.
There are problems, of course. The two-hours-plus can be tiring even for aficionados and, okay, how long can you stand all that talk those girls indulge in about men and fashion? It doesn't really matter. The main achievement of SATC, the movie, is to mirror the best parts of the series - a certain kind of romanticism that touches the heart without concessions to bad taste and cheap sentimentalism. They go to Mexico, they get married and split, they enter dark places and drink – how démodé! –Cosmos. And they fall in love, again and again, with New York City.
Below is the first of a series of roundtable interviews that I got to do in NYC with the four ladies. Collider had a lucky table with a huge window over Central Park. Oh, and yes, I realized during the interviews that I really missed them! Too much information? Well, go watch the movie and you'll get what I'm talking about. SATC opens this Friday all over the country. And if you want to watch some movie clips from Sex and the City, click here.
Sarah Jessica Parker: Hello, hello!
Question: Would you please tell us about this amazing belt that you are wearing?
Sarah Jessica Parker: Sure (laugh). It is vintage Yves Saint-Laurent. And my shoes are Proenza Schooler.
Q: You look fabulous as always.
Sarah Jessica Parker: Thank you so much!
Q: Do you have a favorite shoe moment in the movie?
Sarah Jessica Parker: Well, I love what Manolo did, creating new shoes especially for us. They created something unique and we spent a lot of time talking to them, looking at fabrics, silhouettes and heels and it is a really beautiful shoe. I hope it comes across in the screen at this way. And there is this other shoe that I wear in the movie, this Dior Extreme that well…I like it! But I must say I would prefer to talk about the script than the shoes…(laugh)
Q: The story takes place four years after we lost all the girls. In what ways do you think your character has evolved?
Sarah Jessica Parker: She is experiencing a life in NYC that she never thought she would have. She is pursuing a growing-up relationship in her terms that she is feeling really good about it. I think her and Big are now a modern couple, not married, they haven’t really talked about having children yet. They seem very content with one another. They really like each other. She has enormous success in publishing and she is working in her fourth book. Her work is very fulfilling. She is just a grown-up woman now.
Q: What this movie is about then?
Sarah Jessica Parker: I think the movie is about what it means for a girl this moment, to suffer a lost, a disappointment. How do you cope with it? It is not like when you are in your 20’s and you can distract yourself, your friends can distract yourself.
Q: How do you feel about the addiction of an assistant?
Sarah Jessica Parker: I love her! I love Jennifer Hudson! She is so lovely on screen. She is so buoyant and youthful off screen as much as on. And she wanted do much to be there. It is funny how a 23 yo can come to a set and play a role that it is suited for a young girl and bring this amazing maternal quality to Carrie’s life and also reminds to Carrie’s character what she was 20 years ago and what the city of NY promised. And her song is sooooo good. You know, her song for the movie is really amazing.
Q: Was it a conscious decision to make the extra-character African-American?
Sarah Jessica Parker: Huh…I think it was really nice to address the fact that we never included women of color in our show. Which was always thought as one of our major shortcomings.
Q: Do you have someone like Louise in your personal life?
Sarah Jessica Parker: I have a young assistant. She is very, very, veeeery young. She is with me for five years and she is still in her twenties. She is exceptional and brilliant. So much that she became an associated producer in the movie because people were so taken. I feel that kind of relation. She also came to NY with a dream. And a lot have to do with the idea of this city, what symbolizes for people. So, yeah, I really understand that. And I have given her purses! (laugh).
You became a Hollywood icon, you have a fashion lable, you are huge. Have you ever thought you would be that big?
Sarah Jessica Parker: Huh…I had opportunities…the industry changed so much! There was a time that people were endorsing products that were not part of their careers. I wouldn’t have known to dream of a clothing line or oh, one day I’ll have a fragrance. No. My dream was to be a working actress that would be working in theater. My dream was to live in 45th between 8th and 9th and I’m not kidding! (laugh). And always to work in the theater. Both my husband, and myself as you can imagine, feel very privileged.
What was your first reaction after you had the script of the movie in your hands and realized what has happened with Carrie and the girls?
Sarah Jessica Parker: I first kind of couldn’t believe what he done. And I really felt he wrote a role of a lifetime for me. Separately from the show, I felt that this script alone was really incredible. I was very excited to try to get it done. These were the last two years of my life! Putting this movie back together again. The only work theme in my brain during the entire past years has been Michael’s script. Before he wrote it, after he wrote it, while we were shooting it. Everything else was an enormous questions mark. Could we get it done? Oh, this movie has been resuscitated so many times! But the script? Oh, I was thrilled!
Q: How was your work as a producer?
Sarah Jessica Parker: Oh, man! What didn’t I do? I picked the phone on April 2006 and I started putting the pieces back together again and in the summer of 2006 I got Michael involved. I didn’t want to get him involved before that because it would be to reckless to ask him to revisit the idea if I was not completely sure about it. And for the next year I spent my time finding financing, getting actors back, getting the crew back, negotiating contracts, getting Pat Field back on, marketing product placement, going to foreign territories such as Brazil and Eastern Europe. I can’t believe we did it! (laugh). There were many times that Michael and I…you know…we put this project to sleep so many times that I’m still amazed that we did it!
Q: When you were shooting would be considered the public expectations of Carrie, her fashion style, her fabulousness?
Sarah Jessica Parker: Look, I don’t know…I am a mother most of my days. I leave the house, bring my son to school, get ourselves presentable by law and that’s it. There are occasions that I love to be fashionable and enjoy, you know? But the work day of a mother doesn’t include a hair making team or any consideration of your shoe. It is not the way I live my life. I am sure I am disappointment many days to people but not to my son. We can be covered in pain, I don’t care at all! (laugh).
Q: Pat Field, clothing, shoes, Stanford Blatch, Anthony Marentino…which was the gayest moment of all?
Sarah Jessica Parker: (Laughing really hard)…There were a lot in the wardrobe room! Lots of them! Pat and her associate Molly would say sometimes about our clothing: ‘the gays are gonna get it!” (laughing). Of course we didn’t make decisions basely only on that but it did bring some spirit to the process. We hope the gays are happy with the movie!
What about Mr. Big? Was your idea to bring Chris Noth to the show in the first place?
Sarah Jessica Parker: That was all the brains of Darren Star. Boy, was Darren right! He is just amazing to work with. I love him. I spent so much of my time on set with him. We just love each other. And I love to play opposite him. And the words are great.
Q: Was what your hardest scene in the movie?
Sarah Jessica Parker: The one that I fight with Big in the middle of the street. It was emotionally difficult and also complicated because of the amount of people walking by. It is like when you see a fight on the street and you are just there staring at the fighters. It is like ‘you are better than that but you still stop”. But then we just hear the ‘tititititititititititi’ and it was hard to concentrate. And it is such a sad scene. It was really hard. I felt the sadness intensely. And that scene is so wrong and so enraging. My voice is terrible; there is nothing nice about it. And I am so proud of it. Most studios don’t want to go there in romantic comedies. But we did it!
Look for interviews with the rest of the cast in the coming days.