This spring Josh and I sat down with the cast of Sex and the City in a suite at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in New York for exclusive chats about the show’s gay fans, plotlines that never made it to the show, Sex-y fashion, and what it was like to return to their characters’ (high-heeled) shoes for Sex and the City: The Movie.
On The Show’s Gay Fans
Cynthia Nixon: In the first couple years of our show we didn’t have any female writers. Our two writers were gay men. There was a lot said about, “These aren’t really women—these are gay men disguised as women,” and that really bugged all of us. It was like, Why aren’t they really women? Because women aren’t having this much sex? That’s annoying.
It’s a very gay friendly show. Not only do we have gay characters, but one of the central themes is a very gay conceit, which is your family is not the family you came from. Your family [develops] when you come to a place you always wanted to be and you meet people who are like you, and you create your own family. You notice in the series that we almost never meet anybody’s family. Once we met Charlotte’s brother. We heard about Miranda’s father after he was dead. But we never meet anybody’s parents or family. And they really wanted to keep it about the family you create.
Sarah Jessica Parker: Because I’m from New York, and I was raised in the theater, the gay community was always part of culture to me. They were always some of the first audiences, always the first people at the preview of a Broadway show, so it wasn’t so shocking to me that they were some of the first, most committed audiences [of our show].
There was a particular attachment to this show, among even my gay friends. It’s less about the salty dialogue and the candid, forthright chat-chat. Your relationship with your gay friends is like your relationships with your straight women friends. It is that deep and that intense and they care about friendships in the same way; they talk and they share. That has been my relationship with gay men, and, of course, the majority of my friends are gay men. And it’s extremely comforting: They always make you feel good, they always make you feel at even your worst moments like a lady—like a girl—and they are never afraid to be honest. They loved the ridiculousness and the absurd and the dirty and costumes, but if there wasn’t an emotional connection to those friendships and what they meant—you know, the gay community can grow weary, and they can move on quickly. But I think that’s what it meant for [the gay community], that kind of connection.
Kim Cattrall: A lot of people ask me if they feel that I’m playing a gay man in New York, and if I am, I am having the most fabulous time as a gay man in New York. I don’t personally think that, but I think it’s a fun thought. I was very happy to be on the cover of The Advocate. I feel like I have arrived in some ways. But there has been a tremendous amount of support from the gay community, and I’m grateful for it.
Kristin Davis: We have been hugely supported by the gay community, absolutely, and we love that. I feel like we’ve got support from a lot of different groups, which I think was edifying to us. I think people in general identify with well-written characters.
But I think also for gay culture—men and women—we were not locked into anything particularly rigid—there’s Samantha and Charlotte and everything in between. It’s colorful and pretty to look at, and we’ve got crazy clothes, and it was risky in a way, and with sexuality, and I think that people felt free about that, and so of course the gay community would vibe with it. But also, when I go home to South Carolina, old women come up to me, and I say, “Really, you watch it? You don’t have heart palpitations?” So it’s been a really good cross section. But we love our gay fans, obviously.
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Kristin Davis: When we ended the show we thought we were going to do the movie. Then that movie didn’t happen. Did I hope we were going to do a movie? Of course, because I’m the hopeful one, and I always wanted to do the movie. But it did not seem like it was going to happen—they kept saying no, no, no, it’s too hard to get everybody back together with schedules and everybody was busy.
So then, when in fact Michael Patrick started writing, it was “fingers crossed.” Then finally we got the green light at New Line and it was going to work out and it was kind of a miracle, really. Then we were on the streets of New York and it was very surreal. There were 200 people there watching us and that was even stranger, but in a really good way. And obviously we shot for a long, long time—there were all those pictures in the press and it was fun and we were together again.
Kim Cattrall: [Doing the movie was] scary because the bar is high. I had a big birthday since the show ended and I thought, “What does that do to Samantha?” She has a big birthday, too. Fifty. It’s exciting to be playing somebody who’s that close to your age and be really honest about it. That’s what I liked about it. That was the exciting part. But the scary part was the expectation.
The schedule wasn’t as crazy [with the film]. There was one script. When we were doing the series we were doing two scripts at the same time, sometimes with two different directors, and it was fun but you always felt you were in the trenches, and there was very little time to say, “Honey I’ll be home and let’s do dinner.” It was like, “I’ll be home at four in the morning so I’m going to sleep in the guest room so I don’t disturb you.” And that’s changed in my life. I like the pace much better.
Cynthia Nixon: The part of shooting the series I loved the most was getting the scripts every couple weeks and seeing what happened. With the film it was going back to that world and my friends, real and imaginary, and seeing them working with them again with that kind of interaction and energy, and also being in that imaginary world that I think we all kind of missed.
Sarah Jessica Parker: It’s hard to imagine that final destination point
for these characters. The idea of not working with these people again
is too awful to ponder. But this was a remarkable process to get this
movie back up and running. It took about a year and a half for Michael
Patrick King and me to get it back up, so to have this experience is
Kristin Davis: What Michael Patrick King [the show’s head writer and frequent director] was so good at was if someone came in and was supposed to be one episode or two or whatever but it worked, Michael would just go with it, and that’s what happened with Mario [Cantone, who plays Charlotte’s gay best friend, Anthony]. I think Mario was just supposed to be my wedding person, for my first wedding, but how could we ever get rid of Mario? He just brought a breath of fresh air and life and was just a whirling dervish, and luckily, we got to keep him.
And that’s what happened with Kyle [McLachlan, who played her husband, Trey MacDougal]. Kyle was supposed to have a tiny arc, like four episodes or something. But we collectively fell in love with him. And Michael Patrick—that’s the genius of him, because he said, “Wow, this is really working and I can envision other things happening that I hadn’t already thought about.” He was open to that.
At one point during the show Miranda and Charlotte were supposed to get pregnant at the same time, and the idea was that we would be opposite pregnant women and mothers. I was excited, of course, because Charlotte was trying to get pregnant. I was like, “Oh thank God, it’s going to work!” But then Michael Patrick King called me one day and said, “I just don’t think it’s going to work out for Charlotte. I don’t have enough storyline for it. I feel like it’s going to be too much baby.” And I was like, “What about Charlotte?” And he said, “We can’t have everything work out for Charlotte just like that.”
So that was part of his genius—that he could actually roll with what was working and what was happening. Sometimes with a TV show they make a plan in the off-season and they don’t deviate and they don’t go with the flow of the chemistry. If Michael had been like that, Kyle would have been on for four episodes and left and we wouldn’t have been married—it would have been totally different.
Sarah Jessica Parker: Pat [Field] and I worked together in the past and I begged her to do the show, begged her to do the movie—she was booked on nine different jobs.
The last thing on my mind when I’m trying to get my kid out of the door
to get him to school on time is thinking about how I look. I like
clothes, but I guess because I’m a mother now it fits into my life
differently. I look forward to this because I get to dress up and leave
the house and somebody does my hair and makeup. It has a different
attachment for me now because now it’s like going to a spa. It’s this
luxury where I get dressed up, and something like this is a little
holiday for a few hours. [Fashion] just doesn’t fit into my life the
same way it used to because of time. I still love the clothes, but it
would be foolish of me to spend more time on that than I do on my son.
Kristin Davis: Fashion-wise, I was the neophyte. I would look at Vogue growing up, but I never wore that stuff. I thought I couldn’t wear it. It was unattainable and distant to me. I learned a lot about fashion from Pat [Field] and Sarah, and what I learned was not to be afraid. As we know, Pat is unafraid of anything. She would say to me “sexy secretary, sexy secretary” [about Charlotte’s wardrobe].
She also taught me that you can make [fashion] work for you. Part of the way to do that is to be not totally trend obsessed. Pat’s thing about trends is if you love it, wear it, and if you don’t, then don’t. Wear what you love, even if it’s from the 70s and it’s not particularly in, if you love it. She’s on her own wavelength. She kind of taught me that I could make things work for me and I should stick with what works for me and don’t be swayed by what might be in or out, and stick to what I feel good in and what works for me.
[Pat and Jessica] have this “high and low” thing. Everybody thought we were label obsessed [with the show], and certainly there were fantastic labels, but Pat would go down to Chinatown and get something and pair it with Chanel. That’s how she is, and that’s how Sarah is, and that’s why her Bitten line makes so much sense for her. It’s not about only having the most expensive, trend-oriented clothes, it’s about mixing it up and having fun with it.
Josh & Josh: Was there ever an outfit that Pat Fields ever approached you with and you were like, “Oh my God, I can’t wear that.”
Cynthia Nixon: Yes, there was an outfit set for the film and Pat loved it and I just would sort of go home and think about it and think, “Oh, I can’t do that.” It was jeans and white Chanel boots—wedges—and the top was silver glitter and there was a kind of leather taupe raincoat thing, and then a crazy scarf wrapped like Audrey Hepburn and sunglasses, and this is what I was supposed to go apartment shopping, you know? I was looking on the Lower East Side, not to ritzy, and I was supposed to be the rich lady looking there. But I was like, Michael Patrick is going to flip if he sees this [outfit]. I ended up in something a lot more normal.
Josh & Josh: If we were to look into your closet would I find Miranda clothes?
Cynthia Nixon: You would literally find Miranda clothes. I have a sheer black and white blouse that I wore to Charlotte’s house when Charlotte and Trey invited us all over to dinner and I was going to get laid, so I was eating quickly, and then Trey brought out the flat baby. Every time I wear it, I think, “That’s that blouse from Charlotte’s dinner party.”