But now Parker is back in Europe — albeit in a decidedly different role.
In her new rom-com, All Roads Lead to Rome, Parker plays a divorced woman named Maggie who heads to Italy with her rebellious daughter, Summer (Rosie Day). During what is supposed to be a scenic Italian reset, the duo runs into Maggie’s former lover and life spirals hilariously from there.
It’s a fun watch, made all the more enjoyable by the sweet and, at times, brutally realistic relationship between Maggie and her ultra-Millennial “little” girl — a dynamic that resonates with Parker, who has a teenage son and twin daughters.
When we had the chance to chat with Parker about the new film and the relationship between its mother-daughter duo, we were curious to know what terrifies her most about raising young women. “Everything,” Parker confessed, laughing. “I think I fear more about two teenage girls than I am certainly experiencing with one teenage boy.”
Not that she thinks any of it should be a breeze.
“I don’t expect any of it to be completely easy, to be honest, and I don’t really think it should be. I think all these particular milestones or developmental stages are really complicated, and they should be because they’re huge!” she said.
When you put it that way, it’s easy to see what can be completely elusive in the midst of the beautiful chaos that is parenting — that children growing up have a lot to squeeze in their little years.
“They’re when people are learning and changing, and teenagers are desperate and should be shaken off being dependent, and trying to find an identity of their own and seeing how responsible and reliable they can be,” Parker said. “Responsible to themselves, for themselves, to their parents. Reliable upon themselves. Organized, thoughtful, decent, civilized people, right?”
Of course, most parents know that adopting such a laid-back attitude about teenage angst is easier said than done… even for Parker. “It’s tempting as a parent to constantly remind them — of which I do all the time; it’s incredibly annoying to my son — until I see him really master those skills, I keep telling him. But it’s my job. So I expect this to not be a completely joyful ride for him or for me.”
And although Parker still has a few years before her daughters cross the threshold into teenagehood, she’s pretty realistic about that chapter of their lives, too. “The reason I’m nervous about my two girls is that there’s just… there’s two of them,” she said. “It’s that simple.”
Amen to that, right? Fears and all, though, Parker seems perfectly at home in this new phase of her own life, one that inevitably includes coming to terms with the loss of firsts we all experience as we age. When it comes to pinpointing the hardest thing to reconcile about getting older, Parker realizes that — although she’s fairly certain it has little to do with vanity — she’s isn’t entirely sure.
“It’s a really good question, because there’s a part of me that thinks I didn’t recognize how much the advantage is of experience and years lived. I don’t know if it’s not having the kind of time I think I want to have, but I think that’s much more wrapped up in children and family,” she told us.
“Maybe I don’t think about it because I’m terrified to think about it, or my life is so busy that I don’t see the years slipping by at such an alarming rate or something,” she added, before dissolving in mid-epiphany laughter. “I’m not sure what’s wrong with me. I should pay much more attention to this.”
Or perhaps the rest of us should be thinking about it less. Parker’s attitude on parenting and aging is refreshingly in the moment. And real. She isn’t afraid to make mistakes. She’s “comfortable with regret.” You get the distinct impression that her life is much more about authenticity than perfection.
Happily for fans, all roads don’t end in Rome for Parker.Later this year, the actress is returning to HBO for a new series called Divorce. In it, Parker will play a woman named Frances who is trying to find her fresh start after splitting from her husband (Thomas Haden Church). “For me, it’s a woman at a different time in her life,” Parker said of the role. “But not because I played Carrie or not because she isdifferent, but rather I am very, very interested in the story of a marriage. I’m very interested in the portrait of a marriage — whether it works or not — and in this case, right now, it’s not. I’m very interested in a woman who has sacrificed an enormous amount to keep her family functioning, and really given up on her personal dreams. I’m really interested in a woman who is disappointed in her partner, in her husband who has grown weary in a marriage and is angry, because I think it’s so real for so many people.”
Don’t miss Parker in All Roads Lead to Rome, in theaters and On Demand tonight.