Talking with ’Sex and the City’ Cast & Director :: Dealing with Men, Staying Soul Mates
How do you bring a workhorse franchise whose last installment is nearing the half billion-dollar mark worldwide from merely gay-friendly to probably the queerest thing in this summer’s crop of blockbusters short of Jake Gyllenhaal’s extensions in Prince of Persia?
The answer might be, "Very carefully," but instead Sex and the City 2 throws caution to the wind and goes straight down the rabbit hole, opening with a good fifth of its two-and-a-half hour runtime devoted to what can only be called a gay fantasia on national themes.
"We’re like Sweeney Todd without his..." Sarah Jessica Parker announces, popping out from behind a wooden column in the shoe department of Bergdorf Goodman on a recent Saturday morning. She keeps things in a Broadway vein, but stops just short of saying razors. She looks behind her for her Sex and the City co-stars. Not finding them, she quickly pulls that trademarked SJP face: wide eyes and shrugged shoulders, before apologizing for the delay by adding, "We’re incomplete!"
On a camel... with Kim Cattrall
With that, she disappears, only to return with Cynthia Nixon, Kim Cattrall and Kristin Davis, along with the film’s openly gay helmer, Michael Patrick King, and resident Prince Charming, Chris Noth.
"There’s no need to stretch your necks," King tells the assembled press corps who are half-rising out of their banquet chairs for a glimpse of the feet of their idols rising up before them in tall director chairs. "I can tell you right now, they are wearing shoes. There is no shortage of shoes in this room."
Indeed, there is not. Shoes tower around the actors on sculptural, white pedestals displaying sparkling, red-bottomed high heels. It’s like Superman’s white, minimalist home planet with a lot more pumps. It’s also a triumph of consumerism and P.R. working in concert. One begins to wonder why the former administration didn’t have the same big idea for that press conference in the wake of 9/11 when Bush urged us all to get shopping again.
It’s a subject this cast knows a little about. In fact, one could say this isn’t their first time to the rodeo. King details a 2009 shoot in front of Bergdorf’s for the new film. "We had thousands and thousands of people watching," King says. "It’s like an interactive theater piece. The girls go to talk. Everybody shuts up. I say action. Then quiet, lines and then applause. I call that the celebrity petting zoo. Every now and then someone breaks through and we have to stop and get everybody back behind the barricades."
In the second act of the film, when the girls leave New York and go over the rainbow to land in the Middle East, things got a bit quieter. The production moved to Marrakech (standing in for the United Arab Emirate of Abu Dhabi), but the net effect was the same. "In the middle of the Sahara Desert," King explains, "there was not a sound, not a paparazzi, just the crew, the hot sand and the sun falling out of the sky. Quickly. And us. It was a completely different, bizarre and magical time. Different colors, different sounds, different smells. And we had a great crew: South Africans, Moroccans, Brits, Germans, everyone. It was an IHOP of a crew and we had big meals in tents."
Parker interrupts for the first of many times this morning. She’s also a producer on the film, so it comes with the territory, along with the anxiety. "I’m worried that it’s not sounding like the extraordinary experience that it was," she says. "It was laborious and it was Herculean, but it was one of the great experiences of my professional life. To live and work with this cast and that crew every single day, to see the sun rise and set over our locations in the most far-flung places, to lie in a bed all day with these women, exhausted and laughing, to be on a camel with Kim Cattrall..."
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Watch the trailer to Sex and the City 2:
Watch this sneak peak of Sex and the City 2: