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
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.