On one fine Sunday morning, esteemed members of the press corps were led through Bergdorf Goodman's, winding our way past posters featuring Sarah Jessica Parker posed on sand dunes and men with ear pieces to assemble in the infamous shoe department for a gathering of the most glam women (and one hot Mr. Big) in show biz. The folks behind Sex and the City 2 have been prepping to unleash this fashionable juggernaut on the masses since, well, Sex and the City made bank in 2008. Stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis, Chris Noth, and writer/director Michael Patrick King gathered among the Louboutins to chat about their globetrotting creation.
So, about Abu Dhabi...
Our four heroines find themselves on a massively luxurious trip to the Middle East, specifically Abu Dhabi, but it was actually filmed on location in Morocco. Patrick King noted that "Morocco has a great history of tradition of filmmaking. They did Ben Hur; they did Lawrence in Arabia [there]. We actually shot on the Lawrence of Arabia dunes." (Which brought to mind a particularly choice turn of phrase from Samantha, rhyming Arabia with "my labia.") The perks of filming far away from SaTC's home base were many, including the lack of what Patrick King called "the celebrity petting zoo."
In Morocco, there was "not a sound, not a paparazzi, just the crew, the hot sun, and the sun falling out of the sky quickly, and us. It was a completely different bizarre and magical time." SJP added, "It was laborious and it was Herculean, but it was one of the great experiences of my professional life." And yes, it is a global phenomenon. Kim Cattrall told the audience that Moroccans "didn't know our names in particular but kept calling us by our character's names and we would actually turn and say hello."
This one's for you, fans.
The economy sucks, so while we're toiling away to make a few extra bucks, why not enjoy living vicariously for two and a half hours with the ladies you've grown to love? Writer/director Michael Patrick King told us, "When I would see the audience showing up dressed and having cocktails before in groups and going out, and I saw some people taking pictures of themselves in the theater seats, I thought, this is an interactive party. This is no longer a movie." (Any New Yorker who's seen those Sex and the City tour buses can attest to that!) "I think it was our job to give everybody the vacation that maybe they can't afford now and they can go with their girlfriends to the night out and go on vacation with their other girlfriends, which are these four ladies."
Family isn't always just made up of blood relatives.
Everyone can agree that the four women at the core of the series and movies are totally different in almost every day, from their fashion sense to their priorities to their sex lives. As Cynthia Nixon pointed out, rarely are the families of the foursome seen on the show. "Maybe you have a family you come from that you love or maybe you have trouble with them, but that, come to New York and you create your own," she said. Sarah Jessica Parker added, "I love how they respect one another, I love that they were never made to be friends. Their DNA is so radically different from one to the next, and they have found this incomparable friendship that is really, truly inspiring to me, and it changes the way I think about my friendships constantly."
They're not afraid of the F word.
Yeah, they're not afraid of that F word, but they're also proud to call themselves feminists and to have challenged the status quo, on TV and off. Cattrall told the audience, "I think the most powerful thing for me is we have encouraged a lot of women to change the way they feel about being single, about having cancer, all the story lines about getting married and then being deserted, being alone, being lonely – I think we've addressed them and encouraged them to come together and I think that's a very powerful thing." SJP added, "I look at a lot of what's available on television and I see how women treat each other, it's stunning to me. It's arresting, and I like that there is someplace that we still like to illustrate that women would much rather be allies than adversaries." And it's not just about being single ladies who don't need a ring on it, as Nixon points out. "I think we're a feminist show but being a feminist show doesn't mean yeah, you have to have a career, or you have to not be married... Really, for these four women who are very close but very different, we see a whole range of what's available out there and what direction you might want to take your life in."
Everyone learns a little something in the end... Maybe.
As for what men could learn from the movie, Chris Noth searched for words. "What will they learn? Uh... Possibly nothing." After being jokingly reprimanded by the rest of the cast, he added, "I'm always a little suspicious about learning from an entertaining and fun movie, but possibly maybe to trust themselves and... God, I don't know what the hell. I don't know what they'll learn! I really don't!" But to end on a more positive note, SJP said, "A couple people I've spoken to, they're straight men, and they might think this whole franchise is anathema, but they love that really the men, there is not a villainous move by men in this movie. Any consequence is on the part of us and the choices we're making and that some momentary reckless behavior or cavalier attitude about cultural standards, it's all us. And we come home, frankly, a little wiser."