When Sex and the City debuted on HBO in 1998, few television shows were shot in New York, and the majority were police dramas, which highlighted the rougher side of the city. The New York that Darren Star envisioned for Sex and the City, on the other hand, was inspired more by Woody Allen, and the city the director so beautifully depicted in his films Manhattan and Annie Hall. “They are the definition of great 1970s romantic comedies that took place in New York, and I wanted to carry that tradition a little bit into the series,” says Star. “I wanted to really capture the glamour and the fun and the excitement of New York.”
“New York added an enormous amount to the series,” says Michael Patrick King. “I think New York is America’s cosmopolitan city. So if you’re going into these girls’ lives, and they’re trying to grow up, what better place than the most grown-up city in the world?”
According to King, none of the four girls are from New York. Rather, they each moved to the city in pursuit of their dreams and made the city their own. “And it’s like a dream city because sometimes you feel like it’s focused on you, and you’re having the best time of your life. And then there are other times when you completely disappear, so it’s great for storytelling.”
“New York became the fifth woman of the story,” says Sarah Jessica Parker. “She really became this critical character, integral to the story.”
With that in mind, there was no question that the feature film would be both filmed and set in New York City.
Principal photography on Sex and the City began in New York City on September 19th, 2007, with Michael Patrick King, who also wrote the screenplay, at the helm. Though King had directed numerous episodes of the series, Sex and the City marks his feature film directorial debut.
“It was really fun as a filmmaker to be able to figure out how to tell a bigger story,” says King, who actually found aspects of directing a feature to be easier than the series. “When I was doing the series I would be doing one episode and thinking about seven other episodes. So the ability to just do one story day in and day out was amazing.”
For Sarah Jessica Parker, stepping in front of the cameras to once again star as Carrie Bradshaw felt very natural. “The first day was so familiar that I didn’t even think about it,” she says.
As a producer of the film, Parker was especially appreciative to see that so many of the crew from the series had returned for the film. In fact, eight crew members who had been with the show from the pilot until the last episode were back for the movie.
“Everybody had committed themselves to us in such incredible ways,” says Parker. “And sacrificed time with their children and family. Some of the best memories I ever had professionally were at two or three in the morning, on some crazy unknown street, and still laughing and enjoying each other’s company.”
“We are like a really intense family,” adds Kristin Davis, who plays Carrie’s Park Avenue girlfriend Charlotte. “We have some new additions, and a few people couldn’t join us, but largely most of us are together for the movie.”