Very public row may be Sex and the City’s per­fect finale

The cast of Sex and the City are play­ing true to their char­ac­ters in a war of words over a third film, writes Ciara O’Con­nor

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - - Analysis - ‘It’s SATC for the in­ter­net gen­er­a­tion’

BACK in 2004, we would sit in front of an ex­tremely cum­ber­some tele­vi­sion at the ap­pointed time to be pleas­antly scan­dalised by the ex­ploits of the Sex and the City girls. Last week, women ev­ery­where grabbed the pop­corn and watched as the cast went to war over the third film — or lack thereof. This time, the scandal played out on­line — and for real.

The can­cel­la­tion of the third and fi­nal film in the fran­chise has been fraught with drama, ac­cu­sa­tions and shade-throw­ing. Like any good the­atre, there was a vil­lain — Kim Cat­trall.

She has been ac­cused of mak­ing ‘de­mands’ — with al­le­ga­tions that she would only agree to terms if Warner Bros pro­duced other films she had in de­vel­op­ment. She has been painted as a diva and a ma­nip­u­la­tor. Twit­ter has ex­ploded with elab­o­rate the­o­ries of bitch-fight­ing and back­stab­bing.

Cat­trall has a sim­pler ac­count — she just didn’t want to do it. “The only ‘DE­MAND’ I ever made was that I didn’t want to do a 3rd film .... & that was back in 2016,” she tweeted last week.

For the other SATC girls it was a dis­as­ter of cat­a­strophic pro­por­tions.

“We had this beau­ti­ful, funny, heart­break­ing, joy­ful, very re­lat­able script and story,” said Sarah Jes­sica Parker. “It’s not just dis­ap­point­ing that we don’t get to tell the story and have that ex­pe­ri­ence, but more so for that au­di­ence that has been so vo­cal in want­ing a third movie.”

I’m sure they were vo­cal. But what we want isn’t al­ways what we need. We all want the sec­ond slice of cake, we all want the pint too many, but some­times what we need is some­one to say, ‘No. It’s time for home. You’ve had enough’.

I grew up on Sex and the City. The DVD box set was passed around my school friends with solemn rev­er­ence. Most of my early sex and re­la­tion­ship ed­u­ca­tion came from Car­rie and the girls — it’s a won­der I’ve made it this far. Per­haps it’s only now as I sit cross-legged on my bed typ­ing a self-in­volved think piece on my Mac­Book that I re­alise just how much of an in­flu­ence SATC has been. I am not ashamed to ad­mit I was thrilled about the nos­tal­gia trip when the films were an­nounced. I was wrong.

The last SATC film was an un­mit­i­gated dis­as­ter. It man­aged to of­fend every so­cial, sex­ual and eth­nic group in the world; the di­a­logue was clunky; the plot was dif­fi­cult to dis­cern; the char­ac­ters pro­foundly un­sym­pa­thetic. It was be­yond a par­ody of it­self.

The film was crit­i­cally panned — there could have been no clearer signs that they just needed to stop. As Chris Noth, the erst­while Mr Big, said at the time: “It’s over, the fran­chise is dead.”

Of course, no one ac­cused him of be­ing a back­stab­bing bitch, of ru­in­ing the fun for every­one. We tend to al­low men to make the best de­ci­sions for them­selves and their ca­reer with­out point­ing the fin­ger and call­ing them Ju­das.

We’re al­ways hear­ing about how women are ig­nored and steam­rollered in the work­place. Yet, here is a woman who is will­ing to say ‘No’ and we can’t wait to stick the knife in. Kim Cat­trall isn’t as­sertive, ca­reer-fo­cused, a tough ne­go­tia­tor. She’s a bitch.

Kim Cat­trall sees what Chris Noth sees — what all of us see: Sex and the City be­longs in 1998.

Cat­trall has pre­vi­ously said: “To have four women talk­ing about shop­ping trips and spend­ing $400 on shoes when peo­ple are hav­ing trou­ble put­ting food on the ta­ble? It doesn’t mean we don’t need that, but I think the pen­du­lum swung in a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion.”

To say the con­cept is not ex­actly in keep­ing with to­day’s state of af­fairs is some­thing of an un­der­state­ment. Sex and the City is the em­bod­i­ment of the kind of sex­ist tone-deaf clap­trap that needs to be buried with Hugh Hefner. It’s no sur­prise that key cast mem­bers want noth­ing to do with it any­more.

As Car­rie Brad­shaw, star­ing out of the win­dow in her un­der­wear, por­ten­tously mused: “Maybe the past is like an an­chor hold­ing us back. Maybe you have to let go of who you were to be­come who you will be.” Sarah Jes­sica Parker should take note.

Perez Hil­ton tweeted: “RT [retweet] if you think Sex and City should make a third movie and just kill off Kim Cat­trall’s char­ac­ter.” Kim Cat­trall retweeted.

In fact, she said in an in­ter­view: “An­other ac­tress should play it, maybe they could make it an African Amer­i­can Saman­tha Jones or a His­panic Saman­tha Jones.”

Alas for Kim Cat­trall, she is too smart for Sex and the City. She sees that mak­ing a film about a load of thin rich white women is at best ir­rev­er­ent and at worst of­fen­sive in 2017.

Since SATC2, Cat­trall has been pur­su­ing a very dif­fer­ent kind of ca­reer. She’s per­formed on­stage in Noel Cow­ard’s Pri­vate Lives, Ten­nessee Wil­liams’s Sweet Bird Of Youth and Shake­speare’s Antony And Cleopa­tra. She also fea­tured in Chan­nel 4’s crit­i­cally ac­claimed adap­ta­tion of Wil­liam Boyd’s Any Hu­man Heart. Sex and the City, it ain’t.

Quite un­der­stand­ably, she wants to pro­tect her­self and her cred­i­bil­ity. She has seen from oth­ers how frag­ile the po­si­tion of an ac­tress of a cer­tain age can be. SATC2 was uni­ver­sally panned. Go­ing back for more is surely ca­reer sui­cide.

“I’m at a point in my life where I am mak­ing de­ci­sions that make me happy and go­ing back­wards in life doesn’t make me happy,” Cat­trall said re­cently. The woman is 61 and has been in the act­ing busi­ness for 45 years. She’s surely earned the right. And how very Saman­tha Jones of her.

In fact, even in their ‘real life’ drama they are all still play­ing our old favourites — Saman­tha is do­ing ex­actly what she wants, Car­rie is play­ing the vic­tim, Char­lotte is post­ing pas­sive ag­gres­sive cutesy In­sta­grams, and Mi­randa is ris­ing above the non­sense. Even Stan­ford Blatch, the orig­i­nal gay best friend, stayed true to form with some shady sub­tweets about “toxic” Kim.

As I scrolled through Twit­ter, rev­el­ling in the drama and the he-said-she-said, I got to think­ing maybe this is re­ally the third Sex and the City?

Think about it. It’s the great­est third in­stal­ment we could have asked for. This is SATC for the in­ter­net gen­er­a­tion, played out over Twit­ter, In­sta­gram and tabloid web­sites. It’s a stroke of creative ge­nius, from the same peo­ple who trans­formed tele­vi­sion back in 1998. Maybe we’re all miss­ing the joke.

Af­ter all, if SATC was the rev­o­lu­tion­ary fe­male voice of the mil­len­nium, with its promis­cu­ity and drink­ing and shop­ping, what could be more rev­o­lu­tion­ary in 2017 than a woman say­ing ‘No, thank you. I don’t want to’. In­ten­tion­ally or oth­er­wise, Sex and the City has given us the ex­act con­clu­sion we needed.

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