Interview: Sex And The City Creator And Cast On The Show's Legacy
As you've no doubt noticed by now, Sex and the City 2 takes place largely in Abu Dhabi, where Carrie and the girls are spending a week at a swanky hotel, wearing ridiculously opulent clothing and generally enjoying the kind of vacation the rest of us could never dream of affording. There's a lot of fun to be had in watching that luxury, but the absence of New York City may be a bummer for longtime fans of the show, who came to see New York as the fifth lead character over six seasons.
Still, there's time in the film for a visit to one major Manhattan landmark-- the Bergdorf Goodman department store, located right across the street from the Plaza Hotel. The four ladies visit the registry counter at the beginning of the film, but in the spirit of Carrie Bradshaw and her footwear obsession, Warner Bros. scheduled the film's press conference in the upstairs shoe department. Surrounded by sparkly Loboutins and Manolos, the five lead actors-- Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis, Kim Cattrall and Chris Noth-- and the movie's writer/director Michael Patrick King gathered to answer questions about the messages and goals of the new movie, their experiences filming the Abu Dhabi scenes in Morocco, and how the gay community has embraced the series over the years.
I'll be honest-- I wasn't that crazy about the new movie, as you can tell reading my review. But I'm an unabashed fan of the show, and the press conference was kind of thrilling just for having all of those actors, whose characters I've followed for nearly a decade, right there with me next to the Jimmy Choos. And if I'm allowed to project a little, I think the actors wound up having more affection for the series than the new movies as well. The best moments of the press conference were when Chris Noth or Cynthia Nixon would make references back to the series, or everyone talked about the cultural impact of the characters. That section of the press conference is transcribed below, and if you've ever watched the show, you'll definitely want to check out what they all had to say. Sex and the City 2 is in theaters this weekend.
Why do you think that gay men identify with the show?
Michael Patrick King: I always said the reason that Sex and the City actually became present in people’s mind as it had is there was a voice that needed to be heard. And, at that time, it was the single girl as leper voice; the outsider, anyone who wasn’t married in their 30s, when society told them they should be married. So, I think anyone who’s ever been an outsider, whether it be due to your sexual orientation or your anything – your gender, your race, your anything – these four girls have moved through the world trying to claim themselves. If gay men, women, children, animals, like this movie, I think it’s because of the story about looking for love, maybe with someone else, but of course looking for a love of yourself in this great society that we have. I think that the villain, in any great story you need one, and I think ours is still society. I think society tells you to be some way and the individual always pushes through that bag, punches their way out.
Sarah Jessica Parker: I really think it’s this ability to articulate emotion, embarrassing and candid and intimate, and the humorous way of observing our emotional journeys, that a lot of my gay friends really, really love. And it’s taken maybe the straight community, the men, a little bit longer.
Cynthia Nixon: Right from the very beginning there was a very conscious decision made that we would never see these people’s parents, we would never see their siblings-- because they were each other’s family. And I think certainly for many gay people and for many non-gay people that’s reality now. Maybe you have a family that you come from that you love or maybe you have trouble with them, but that you come to New York and you create your own.
These characters have kind of defined being a fun and fearless woman. Can you talk about that experience in playing them?
Kristin Davis: We’re different in life, our characters are different, yet we’re very, very together. Sometimes the characters disagree – like Charlotte judges Carrie [in the movie] and I love that part of the story line because I think we do this in life. And then, luckily, she has enough time and honest conversation to realize, “That’s really unfair of me to judge my friend and try to put my own preconceived notions on my friend.” But I love the fact that what we’ve created all together and what Michael has created in the writing for us are these really powerful women who can each be powerful in their own right and still be together.
Kim Cattrall: I think the most powerful thing for me is that we have encouraged a lot of women to change the way they feel about being single, about having careers, all the story lines about getting married and then being deserted, being alone, being lonely. I think we’ve addressed them and encouraged them to come together, and I think that’s a very powerful thing. In this era of post-feminism I think that we’ve helped define what it is to be successful, smart, and also feminine.
Sarah Jessica Parker: I tend not to ponder too much what we may or may not have done because I like hearing from other people what they think. But I will say that in an era that there is this beacon which we seem to be moving toward where women are really unkind to one another and call each other kind of horrible names, and there’s a vernacular that our ears have adapted to which I find really objectionable. I really, really love how these women love each other, and I love how decent and honorable they are toward one another. I love how much they respect one another. I love that they were never made to be friends. Their DNA is so radically different from one to the next and they have found this incomparable friendship that is really, truly inspiring to me and it changes the way I think about my friendships constantly. It changes the way I look at friendships, the way I respond to friends’ choices, and that is in large part the writing. Well, it’s not even in large part, it is the writing. For me, when I look at a lot of what’s available on television and I see how women treat each other it’s stunning to me, it’s arresting, and I like that there is some place that we still like to illustrate that women would much rather be allies than adversaries.
Cynthia Nixon: There was a time when Charlotte and Miranda were having a big fight about Charlotte’s decision to stop working and to focus on having a child, and Miranda was very disapproving and Charlotte really called her on it. Charlotte said, “Isn’t that what the feminist movement is about? It’s not about you have to work or you have to stay home; it’s about choices.” And I think that, as Sarah said, these four women are so different from each other and they have such different points of view and they’ve made such different life choices, but they love each other and they’re not shy about offering their opinions to each other and their advice. And I think that that’s one of the things that I’m proudest of. I think we’re a feminist show, but being a feminist show doesn’t mean yeah you have to have a career, or you have to not be married, or you have to be married. That really, for these four women who are very close but very different, we see a whole range of what’s available out there and what direction you might want to take your life in.
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