Close Encounters of the Celebrity Kind...
Sweet, Savvy, Sexy, (Fill in your Own Spectactular Adjective) Sarah Jessica Parker
from the 3-8-06 issue of Windy City Times
by Richard Knight, Jr.
Movie Star-TV Star-Wife-Mother-Gay Icon Sarah Jessica Paker and clockwise from top left: with husband Matthew Broderick in
2003, her Sex and the City co-stars, in 1993's Hocus Pocus with Kathy Najimy, Thora Birch and Bette Midler, with Failure to Launch
co-star Matthew McConaughey, meeting her intimidating future mother in-law Diane Keaton and family in The Family Stone
When I talked with Sarah Jessica Parker her latest romantic comedy, Failure to Launch, hadn’t been screened for the Chicago movie
critics so I was a tad nervous as I approached our interview. What would we talk about? But there’s a reason why Parker, who’s a
delight in the delightful Failure to Launch in which she costars with Matthew McConaughey, was the secret weapon that made “Sex in
the City” such a gigantic hit. Her enormous audience rapport was immediately evident the moment we started talking. We spoke
the afternoon of New York’s recent tremendous snowstorm. Highlights from our wide ranging conversation:
WCT: And we’re off and running! Hi from Chicago where it’s snowing today.
SJP: It is here, too. The city is now disappearing before our eyes.
WCT: So that’s our first thing in common.
WCT: Okay, let’s jump right to the movie. You’ve made so many great romantic comedies – like a zillion? What stands out about
Failure to Launch? What separates it from the herd?
SJP: Well, it’s not so much what separated it from the herd but rather where it came in my life at the time. I was just getting ready
to start The Family Stone and I knew I was going to do Spinning Into Butter after Failure to Launch and it seemed like a great Chapter
Two of my trilogy that I’ve spent the last year doing. I loved that there was this big, lush romantic comedy that was for adult actors
and those are few and far between really. That and it was a very decadent, generous schedule and there were a lot of ingredients
that I really liked.
WCT: So what’s to resist right? Okay for the 25th time today – what was it like working with the Sexiest Man Alive?
SJP: Well, first of all at the time we were shooting he had not quite been appointed that yet but we didn’t need a magazine to tell
us that, now did we?
WCT: Well my husband and I think that you’re married to the cutest man alive.
SJP (melts) Ooooh, thank you, I agree! I concur; I agree!
WCT: So now you’ve got the cutest AND the sexiest!
SJP: That’s right, I agree – I’ve had ‘em all!
WCT: So was he great to work with?
SJP: Yeah, he was really fun. He was really easy – loved the camera, the camera loved him, he’s very comfortable and it was very
pleasant. Very easy-breezy.
WCT: Did you know him before you started shooting?
SJP: I knew a little bit because he did “Sex and the City” for a couple of days once.
WCT: Oh, I guess I missed those episodes.
SJP: Yeah, when Carrie goes to California she’s supposed to interview him or have a meeting with him or something. I can’t
remember the circumstances but he had been very generous and very brave because he played kind of a cliché of an over indulged
movie star and it’s a pretty hilarious performance. So I met him on that – it was a couple of days work, I think. So I knew him a
little tiny bit.
WCT: And then, you worked with Kathy Bates. I kinda worship her in every single thing that she does. How was that?
SJP: It was great – I mean I barely had any time with her at all but it was wonderful to be around her. You know, she’s the real
WCT: Is this a great date movie? You have to help me because you know they haven’t screened it for us in Chicago yet.
SJP: I think it is – it’s going to appeal to a lot of people. It’s not a chick movie; it’s not a guy’s movie. It’s a wonderfully silly
romantic comedy that’s got something in it for everybody.
WCT: I hear it’s kind of a guy date movie.
SJP: Yeah, I think it will appeal to a lot of guys. I think men really like Matthew McConaughey but so do women.
WCT: And gay men as well.
SJP: Exactly. Exactly.
WCT: You worked with Thomas Bezucha, the director-writer of Big Eden, my favorite “gay” movie and I loved The Family Stone so
much so I’m going to jump a little bit if that’s okay.
SJP: That’s fine, of course.
WCT: You know in light of the fact that you’re a renowned friend of the gay community was it hard to do that scene at the dinner
table where you had to face down Diane Keaton and Craig T. Nelson with those questions about nature versus nurture about their
SJP: It was as an actor but I’ll tell you what and I hope this is received in the spirit in which it’s meant to be. I think if my character
Meredith had been anybody else with better people skills she could have asked those questions and it wouldn’t have been so
provocative because I’ve been around thinking, civilized, decent, tolerate, loving people who talk about nature versus nurture and
what does that mean and what is it like to be two men raising a son or a daughter and what are your concerns and environment and
I think it’s a really interesting conversation. It’s just that she doesn’t know how to ask questions.
WCT: And you can see clearly that she doesn’t feel that way – you’re right, she doesn’t seem to have the language to express it.
In a way, that’s when my heart went out to her.
SJP: If Claire Danes’ character had asked those questions it would’ve been perfectly acceptable. It’s just that she had already dug
this ridiculously deep hole for herself and she doesn’t have the people skills nor does she have the ability to feel the room. You
WCT: Yeah, yeah.
SJP: But I do think that’s an interesting conversation to have. I’ve had it many, many times with people but she doesn’t know how
to extricate herself when things look no longer appealing.
WCT: So you know, “Entourage” has been called the straight version of “Sex in the City,” “The L Word” is the lesbian version of
“Sex in the City,” “Queer as Folk” is the gay version, okay, when you gonna strap back on those Manolo Blahnik’s?
SJP (she’s laughing hard)
WCT: What happened to our “Sex in the City” movie?
SJP: I know, I know. Oh, I really did want to make that movie.
WCT (commiserating): Ooooh, this sounds like it’s going to be bad.
SJP: It was a beautiful, funny script that Michael Patrick had written and you know, three of us wanted to do it and you have to
respect people for not wanting to and for moving on. It was a hard pill to swallow. But it feels like the moment has passed for it.
The momentum was so critical to make that movie then and when we heard we couldn’t make it; that Kim didn’t want to, the sets
were struck and they were sold or put in a dumpster and it’s all gone.
WCT (sighing) Okay, okay, I guess I’ll move on, too.
SJP: But it will live forever in DVDs.
WCT: And I need to go check out those Matthew McConaughey episodes.
SJP: That’s right!
WCT: You worked with gay icon Bette Midler on two movies – Hocus Pocus and The First Wives Club – any chance that she’s going to
pop up in Slammer, the movie musical set in the women’s prison you’re doing that I’m dying for!?
SJP: Hmmm, we’ll see. I’m not sure what’s happening with Slammer and when and if we’re going to get going on it but God,
wouldn't she be fantastic? (turns into a fan for a moment) I LOVE her so much. She’s a friend now which is really nice. A real
friend which is fantastic.
WCT: I just imagine the two of you doing duets together because you have such a great voice, too.
SJP: I wish I could – I’m going to hold on to that idea. She sang at a friend’s birthday party and she’s in as good a voice as she’s
ever been in her life.
WCT: Let’s get back to the new movie for a second. What’s in it for my gay friends?
SJP (laughs): Tell them that Matthew McConaughey takes his shirt off and swims around in the ocean. Tell all your gay friends
that. That’s what I’m telling all my straight friends.
WCT: Okay, that will work. But what about you, are we going to love you in this movie?
SJP: You’re going to freak out when you see me – I am so fantastic in this movie! I’m just kidding – I don’t know if you’re going to
love me in this movie but if you don’t love me, you’ll love Matthew.
WCT: But she’s different from Meredith in The Family Stone? I ask that because you know it wasn’t easy to dislike a Sarah Jessica
SJP: (My character) Paula really enjoys her life, she’s not particularly concerned what other people think of her. She’s very
comfortable, kinda delighted by romance and silliness. She’s a nice one again.
WCT: Is the character sort of like you?
SJP: Not at all like me, actually. When you see it...she’s very different than I am. She’s a much lighter touch than me.
WCT: Okay. So tell me about this next film, the third part of the Sarah Jessica Parker trilogy, Spinning Into Butter. It’s a dramatic
piece, isn’t it?
SJP: Yes, it’s based on the play that was on Broadway about five years ago that Rebecca Gilman wrote and she’s adapted it for the
WCT: Oh, right, right!
SJP: And she’s a Chicagoan.
WCT: Of course, yes. Why don’t you come here and do a play at Steppenwolf or Looking Glass?
SJP: I would love to but I probably wouldn’t have the nerve.
WCT: So you’re shooting Spinning Into Butter now?
SJP: No, I’m taking some time off until September when we start and taking care of my son.
WCT: How old is he?
SJP: James is three and some months.
WCT: Oh my God, how do you do it?
SJP: Probably like every other working mother, probably very badly but I try.
WCT: So when James is grown and you and Matthew have reached your emeritus years, which I know are many, many, many moons
down the road – are you going to do a club act like Steve and Eydie and call it “When Sari Met Mattie?”
SJP (she’s laughing hard) Oh God, that’s hilarious! Gosh, I don’t know, we’ll have to see what our mature years bring. We’ll have
to see if anybody’s interested.
WCT: Well you’re both from the stage, you have so many things that you could do together.
SJP: Oh God, I don’t know, we’ll see 20 years from now who’s interested in us.
WCT: So in the meantime, when are you two going to do something other than the club act?
SJP: You know, we have no plans to do anything in the near future but you will be the first to know.
WCT: Call me immediately!
SJP: I will call you immediately. Thank you so much, be well.
WCT: I adore you Sarah Jessica Parker. I think you’re going to do okay.