She’s hip. She’s happening. She’s our generation’s Hollywood -œit- girl – check that, woman. We sat down with the fashion forward and incredibly smart and talented Sarah Jessica Parker prior to the highly anticipated release of Sex and the City: The Movie to dish about the role of a lifetime, success, and a belt that was nicknamed -œRoger.-
Get Carried away
Warning: Spoiler in the first question
SheKnows: Was it easy to get back into the Carrie Bradshaw 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?
Sarah Jessica 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 (Michael Patrick King, director/writer/producer). I always just think that. It’s just the way I function at the top of every job.
The first scene up 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. And 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 like….it was just unforgettable.
So, 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.
SheKnows: Why do you think “Sex and the City” resonates so well with people?
SJP: 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. Because HBO was so under the radar they did things differently. Who ever put up a billboard in Times Square for a television series? Or cultivated groups of women across the countries in bars and restaurants and invited them to screenings of the TV show and then sat around and listened to what they were saying and worked it into the zeitgeist? Who ever marketed a show that way? We had premieres in New York for a TV series. They seized on something because they were clever people…Women seeing women being necessary to each other at that time that place – this was a different time, this was ten years ago. September 11th hadn’t happened, lots of us were much younger…
SheKnows: Why did the team decide to make a film instead of simply doing another season of the show?
SJP: 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 of 2006, we got Michael involved and 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, low and behold, two years later here we are.
The ‘Sex’ men were divos
SheKnows: Logistically, how hard was it assembling the principal cast from the show for the film?
SJP: That was not the biggest challenge of making this movie. (Laughs) I will tell you that the men were as complicated as the women, so just break all myths and rumors. No, the logistics…It’s the perfunctory details that are far more difficult in producing a movie – this particular movie. It took us a really long time to get a green light. We had to find a home. It was important to me that it remain in the Time Warner family – 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 Jan. 19 and he got on a plane to come here May 1. I think it is literally the shortest post in 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.
SheKnows: People are going to want a sequel. Do you think you’ll be able to get all the pieces in place again?
SJP: 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, you know. 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.
SheKnows: Let’s talk briefly about the costumes and specifically that belt. (studded belt worn in the film)
SJP: Pat Field had a few associates on the movie because the job was a massive undertaking. There was a gentleman named Danny and he’s from Florida. He has an old vintage warehouse and that belt had been at the first fitting in July. I walked in and we started messing around and there were literally hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of racks. That belt was there and we just started working it and I kept reaching for that belt. I reached for that belt so many times that I named it Roger. We would just be asking “Where’s Roger? Give me Roger, Roger this, Roger that.” It’s just an old belt from the 70s, the belt has no label, there’s no designer attached. It’s now in my personal possession I’m happy to report. (smiles)
SheKnows: Why was it important to keep secrets of the storyline under wraps?
SJP: Well, it’s not important, really, to keep it a secret. It’s not going to make somebody sick better. It’s not going to change the political climate right now. It’s not going to fix problems across the world.
SheKnows: It might affect how many people go see the movie though.
SJP: We weren’t even thinking about that. We just really wanted the people who cared, who invested the time and the interest in the past ten 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.
SheKnows: If you could tell your younger self what was ahead of you in the future, what advice would you have given?
SJP: I honestly wouldn’t want to know. I wouldn’t want the advice because I don’t think this is where I expected to find myself. And I don’t think a person can really plan a career in the entertainment industry because I think there are too many elements that are out of a person’s control. I personally savor every disappointment and every regret and every small triumph which no one else may have known about. And if I had been told that this would be my life, I wouldn’t have been prepared because I wouldn’t have done any of the work. This is my 35th year as an actress. So, I’ve been working a long time and I’m glad that I didn’t have extraordinary success younger. I wouldn’t want the tip to make that be the case.