Bringing Sex Back
Over the years, this hilarious, heartfelt sitcom became a pop culture phenomenon, winning multiple Emmys and Golden Globes. In 2004, the show's stars—Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis and Kim Cattrall—retired their Manolo Blahniks and said goodbye to their beloved characters.
Fans thought they'd heard the last from Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte, but after four years, two months and eight days, this fabulous foursome is back! The women are reprising their roles on the big screen in Sex and the City: The Movie.
For two years, Sarah Jessica—who plays Carrie—says she worked to bring the rest of the story to theatergoers. "I picked up the phone, and I just started revisiting the idea," she says. "It's a complicated process to put all of the people back together again and [get] all of the parts in place and the perfunctory business of getting a movie made—let alone one that has this particular history."
Sarah Jessica teamed up with writer and producer Michael Patrick King, the man who wrote Sex and the City's most pivotal episodes, to pitch their idea to film studios. "Michael Patrick and I, we were like a dog with a bone," she says. "We just kept persevering. We felt that the time was really right."
The film's star says she wanted to do this for the devoted fans who continue to watch the show in syndication. "They were so devout," Sarah Jessica says. "It's a rare opportunity when you can say an audience really dictates a project like this."
The audience may not have seen the final few minutes, but they did get a special surprise from Sarah Jessica herself before the lights dimmed! She came to Chicago to introduce the film and to ask the audience to take an oath of silence so none of the plot twists get out.
Watch Sarah Jessica surprise a theater full of Sex and the City fans.
"I am going to ask of you something that I will never request again, and that is that you keep a secret from your friends for the next 29 days," she said to the audience. "Repeat after me, 'I solemnly swear to not reveal any of the secrets I learn tonight in Sex and the City: The Movie.' ... You can brag, but you can't blog."
Though she's seen the movie in its entirety, Sarah Jessica says attending the first screening was an emotional experience. "You guys are the first to see it. It really is the culmination of an extraordinary past two years," she says. "We feel extremely privileged to have made this movie, and I'm extremely proud of it."
The ladies say keeping the film's plotlines under wraps has been a challenge since production began in the summer of 2007. During their four-month shoot in New York City, hundreds of fans flocked to the set every day to watch them film scenes. "There were fans on both sides of the street," Kristin says. "I felt like a Beatle." Some even brought pens and paper to write down the stars' dialogue!
When New Yorkers spotted Sarah Jessica wearing a wedding dress in one scene, the actresses worked overtime to keep the crowds guessing. "We would go around saying, 'This is some crazy dream sequence we're shooting today,'" Sarah Jessica says. "We kept repeating sort of this mantra to try to gaslight people a little bit."
Despite the madness and logistical complications, Sarah Jessica says she wouldn’t have had it any other way. "You can't really be anything other than thrilled that people still care," she says.
Hollywood stylist Patricia Fields, the woman responsible for the show's cutting-edge wardrobe, started planning the looks months before shooting began. In all, Patricia says there were 300 wardrobe changes throughout the film. Fashionista Carrie Bradshaw alone wore 81 different outfits!
One accessory used often in the film was the belt. "Belts were very, very important. The belt gives the shape, so I wrapped everybody in belts," Patricia says. "I think it's the new silhouette that we'll see in Sex and the City."
On the racks, Sarah Jessica says Patricia had everything from vintage items to fashions pulled straight off the runway. Some days, Sarah Jessica says people waited outside her trailer to take items from her wardrobe to photo shoots.
One of Sarah Jessica's dresses was whisked away to Mexico for a Vogue shoot. When they needed it back to finish filming a scene, an intern went the extra mile in the name of fashion. "We put an intern on a plane, sent her to the jungles of Mexico," Sarah Jessica says. "She waited in the jungle, got the dress, went back to the airport, had a cocktail and went back on a plane."
Cynthia was first diagnosed in 2006 while starring in the Broadway play The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. She says doctors discovered a lump when she went in for her routine mammogram. "I got a call from my gynecologist, and [he] said, 'Oh, you know, something here [is] not so good,'" she says. "It didn't make me very happy—kind of ruined my day a little bit."
Doctors removed the cancerous lump and one of Cynthia's lymph nodes during a lumpectomy. Then, she began seeing an oncologist and getting radiation. "Luckily, I didn't need to do chemo," she says.
For the past two years, Cynthia has been in full remission. "I seem to be doing fine," she says.
"Were you as shocked as we were?" Oprah asks.
"I was pretty shocked. I have to tell you," Cynthia says. "It kind of made my day."
Kristin was the first to find out about Cynthia's new love, but the rest of the cast heard the news from the media. "They were great, the things that they said to the press," Cynthia says.
Though she dated men most of her life, Cynthia says when she met her girlfriend, Christine, it didn't matter to her if she was male or female. She was in love.
"Love is love," Kristin says. "I think that's the important thing. There's something real and intangible and solid about it that you can't really dissect or analyze. That's how I feel when I'm around them. It's just undeniable."
Sarah Jessica says Cynthia's happiness is all that matters. "[Cynthia] is such a capable, smart-thinking person, and our greatest concern was that Cynthia be happy," she says. "No one is better equipped to answer questions, and no one knows how to be more circumspect and how to draw the line. We were merely to follow suit, and we were happy, very happy to do so."
"I'm limitless as far as age is concerned," she says. "As long as he has a driver's license...I don't want to pick him up."
At the beginning of their relationship, Kim says she thought the age difference would be an issue. "I thought, 'What can we possibly talk about?' But we talk about a lot of things," she says. "He's a professional chef, so it's not just good in some areas of the house...it's good in all areas of the house."
Despite reports to the contrary, Kim says they do not cook in the nude together. "He always puts a little oil in the pan, and that can hurt, you know," she says. "Not true, but it's all good."
After the show ended, Kristin says she "took a three-week nap"—emerging rested and wondering what was next for her. "We worked really hard, and we loved it, but it was a lot of work," she says. "So when the show ended and I turned 40, I thought, 'What do I really want to be doing?'"
Kristin says she decided to take the time to just breathe. "Our life is so fantastic, but it's kind of charged up, and there's all this energy at us and clothes and gossip and the craziness of our world," she says. "I wanted to try to give more and maybe expand a little bit and grow down into the earth ... take pleasure in the daily rituals. The small things."
After the show ended, Cynthia says she simply enjoyed being in love. Kristin says Cynthia was "radiating from New York City!"
Deciding on new projects was also difficult for some of the cast. "I think we all had had this extraordinary experience and didn't want to do anything that felt any less than that," Sarah Jessica says. "That standard was very high."
Michael, who also wrote the film, says he felt a bit of pressure as the release date approached. "I felt it when I was writing it. I felt it a lot because I really wanted the fans to be happy," he says. "It was a lot of responsibility, but look what I had to work with. Look around on that couch."
Oprah says Michael didn't disappoint. "It's exciting. It's thrilling. It's fun," she says. "It's everything you wanted it to be and then some."
Michael Patrick says the women have never been better, and Oprah agrees. "Every one of them just acted their little [butts] off," she says. "I don't know how anybody has a tush up here anymore."
When Chris was asked to be in the film, he says the decision was a no-brainer. "It's the best job on earth," he says. "You just knew you were going to do something special and it was going to be fun."
Living in New York City to work on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Chris says he's often recognized and causes quite a stir when Sex and the City tour buses pass him on the street. "What's great is I feel like we're all kind of a part of New York—we're part of its history now," he says.
Cynthia says Chris is silly like Big, and Kristin says he brings a Big-like alpha-male quality to the set. "Chris is very, very male in the best possible way," she says.
That's a result of filming Sex and the City and Law & Order at the same time, Chris jokes. "It was from penthouse to body bags. I would go to these wonderful sets and [have] this great time," he says. "But the environment was a little different when we were in the South Bronx or in a real prison."
Still, Sarah Jessica says there are some major differences between Chris and the character he plays. "The best quality about Chris that distinguishes him from Big is that he is not withholding," she says. "He is in the moment. He is desperate to learn. He's desperate to fight for the best work that can be done. He's strong, and he's collaborative."
Chris and Tara named their son after the warrior constellation, and Chris says he's already a fighter. When Tara found out she was pregnant, doctors couldn't initially find a heartbeat. "They basically said, 'You're not going to have this baby. You're going to have a miscarriage,'" Chris says. "She went home and talked to the baby all night long, and the next day, [there was a] heartbeat. They said, 'You're having that baby.' So he's a warrior the way I look at it."
If Chris needs any parenting advice, he can turn to Sarah Jessica and Cynthia, who both have 5-1/2-year-olds at home. "They should package that particular age because you cannot go through a day without learning something," Sarah Jessica says. "You have to deconstruct every single question that's asked. A single answer is not enough."
Sarah Jessica says there just isn't enough information you can give kids that age. "You realize how much you know and how little you know," she says. "Both are surprising."
"I'm telling you, this is more than a movie," Oprah says. "This is an event, and we owe it to ourselves, America, to make this an event for girlfriends to remember. ... Go for drinks. Have a designated driver. Make a night of it!"
Sarah Jessica is almost as excited as the fans. "Excited is like a flip-flop to a high heel...it doesn't even describe [it]!"