The leaves are falling, and the turkey is practically in the oven. Yes, according to the calendar, it’s time to take stock and give thanks. So that’s precisely what we’re doing by talking to the actors and filmmakers that made 2008 a memorable year at the movies — a year filled with self-loathing kick-ass superheroes, Manolo-wearing women and the return of a very familiar man in a hat .
How does a TV series 10 years past its premiere and four years past its final episode become the film event of the year for virtually every woman in the country? Credit Sarah Jessica Parker and “Sex and the City” writer/director Michael Patrick King. After a series of false starts and an abandoned script meant to film immediately after the conclusion of the HBO series, “Sex and the City” returned triumphantly to the forefront of popular culture thanks to a film that broke box-office records right from the start: biggest romantic-comedy opening of all time, biggest R-rated opening of all time and biggest opening for any film starring a woman, to rattle off just a few of the impressive feats.
MTV News looked back with that very woman, Sarah Jessica Parker, for an exclusive conversation about the year that was 2008 and to get a sneak peak at the plans for a “Sex and the City” sequel .
MTV: The release and excitement surrounding “Sex and the City” felt more like an event on the scale of a superhero flick than a romantic comedy.
Sarah Jessica Parker: The one thing I regret is I never roamed around Manhattan and saw it [with the crowds]. I was too embarrassed about getting caught. I was afraid it would look like I was gloating. I do regret not seeing all those ladies — and some men — dressed up in their finery. But it was thrilling to hear about.
MTV: Do you feel that any of the characters didn’t get the attention in the story they deserved?
Parker: We always felt that we wanted to give all the women a story. You can imagine that, when you’re looking for financing, how not everybody wants to hear that. But these actresses are deserving. That also meant we had to fight for a movie that was over two hours. That was challenging. I would have wanted to see more of Jennifer Hudson. She was a real gift to us. Her age, her look, her energy was great. We did the best we could. I would have loved more of all the women.
MTV: Where do we stand on a sequel today?
Parker: We are talking about it. We’ve had very general conversations about the idea. That’s the big hurdle: the idea. The studio is very enthusiastic, which is lovely and seductive. We’re at the place where [writer/director] Michael [Patrick King] has a wealth of stories so now it’s, “We think we have this story and how do we put this together and are we completely sure that it’s the right thing to do?” That’s challenging. I would do these forever but is it right for the audience? Is this the story that we can tell well? These are the questions I have to ask myself or I’m not being fair to the franchise. That’s where we are.
MTV: So it sounds like you’re on the same page with Michael on a specific idea for the next film?
Parker: I’m always on the same page with Michael. The practical questions come into play with people’s schedules. And then the big question: Is it right? You can’t just take a poll of the ladies that stop me on the street. [Laughs.] It’s scary for me, because it’s asking for a lot of money from the studio. I just want to do right by everybody.
MTV: Would you shoot it next summer?
Parker: I think it’s a realistic timetable. That’s when we’d start shooting to be out in 2010. But that means we need to figure this out in the next couple of months.
MTV: Motherhood is clearly such an important part of your life. Have you considered whether Carrie should become a mother in these stories?
Parker: It doesn’t seem as if that’s going to be a choice she’ll make. I don’t know. Michael and I never talk about it. That doesn’t mean that won’t be part of the story. We just haven’t figured it out. It feels a little bit manipulative to toss that into the mix, because she seems so pointed in a different direction.
MTV: Have you and your husband ever discussed a timetable for when your son should be allowed to see “Sex and the City”?
Parker: It’s never even occurred to me to consider that. I guess I always assumed he’d never see it. The funny thing is when he says the title to me. Anytime I say I’m going to work he says, “Are you going to do ’Sex and the City’?” He sounds like a dead-end kid. I can’t imagine him ever seeing it, but I guess one day it won’t be terrifically horrible. Maybe he can show it to his wife on a date.
MTV: There were a lot of rumors recently that perhaps Miley Cyrus could play a young Carrie if anything comes of the new books Candace Bushnell is writing.
Parker: Oh really?! I hadn’t thought of that. I still just picture me shorter. [Candace] has probably thought a lot about Carrie’s teen years. I just haven’t, because we made the conscious choice to not think about a life prior to New York City. But I’d be curious to see who might be right if it turns into something for TV.
MTV: Does the fact that the show is watched by teens ever worry you, considering the subject matter?
Parker: I worry about that a lot. Really young women tell me they watch the show, and my response is always to gasp. Times have changed. I gather that “Gossip Girl” is pretty sophisticated, and that’s there for their viewing pleasure as well. Young women are a lot different than I was. I relished being sheltered. I can’t believe some of the subject matter doesn’t make them cringe or embarrass them.
MTV: When I was researching you, I found over 130,000 entries on Google about your mole and how it seemed to disappear over the summer.
Parker: If I knew it was famous I never would have had it removed. My health is terrific. I never thought anybody had any emotional attachment to that mole. I certainly didn’t. It was just one of those things where I had a couple weeks and I thought, “I can finally get that mole removed,” like many people do. It was an incredibly slow news week.
MTV: So your life isn’t different post-mole?
Parker: No, I forget about it. One woman said to me, “That’s your signature!” I said, “That’s my signature?! All these years of being worried about the work, I could have just counted on my mole?!”
Check out everything we’ve got on “Sex and the City.”
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