Prolific show creator Darren Star has been behind some of the biggest TV shows in the past few decades, including Melrose Place, Sex and the City and TV Land’s newer series Younger. But despite his successful track record, he doesn’t always get who he wants for every role. In a recent interview, the longtime TV man revealed that he actually had a very different actor in mind for Sex and the City’s Mr. Big before Chris Noth was eventually hired in the role. That actor would be none other than Alec Baldwin.
I was thinking of Alec Baldwin for Big initially [in Sex and the City]. I don’t really watch Law & Order, but I met with Chris Noth and thought he was perfect. I remember the first table read, how good he was. I’m not saying that Chris was Mr. Big, but he brought a lot of his own persona to the role….
Obviously, getting Alec Baldwin at the time would have been a steal. Fans now frequently identify the actor with NBC’s 30 Rock, but back in the late nineties, Alec Baldwin was a movie star (although he did narrate Thomas & Friends in his spare time). Getting him for an HBO series at the time would have been a big deal, but it doesn’t seem like that dream casting got into the later stages. Instead, Starr saw Chris Noth try out for the part and the rest was history.
The Sex and the City gig, in fact, likely helped Chris Noth to earn his current part in CBS' critically acclaimed drama The Good Wife, which will be ending its run this year.
There were other castings that didn’t wholly work out in the way Darren Starr expected. In fact, Darren Star told EW that John Corbett’s Aiden was written for Elementary’s Aidan Quinn.
We initially were thinking about Aidan Quinn for Aidan, but I think he wasn’t available. I loved John Corbett in Northern Exposure, and we were like, ‘Well, what’s John Corbett been up to?’ He just had the laconic, dudish vibe. But we kept ‘Aidan’ because we loved the name.
Obviously, at this point Big and Aidan are Chris Noth and John Corbett’s versions in all of our heads. But Sex and the City could have been totally different if the casting had worked out the way Darren Star originally intended. We're kind-of happy it didn't, because the show could have been very different with the originally intended actors. As it stood, Sex and the City was a huge hit, for its fashion, for its spunky female characters, and yes, for those characters' complicated relationships with men.