Sex And The City: The Movie - Kristin Davis interview
Compiled by Jack Foley
KRISTIN Davis was delighted to be back in Sex & The City once more and to be working alongside three actresses who she considers close friends. This time, though, the level of interest in the project has sky-rocketed compared to when they first started in 1997. She tells us why…
Q: Did you have any trepidation going back to doing this? Did you think it would work?
Kristin Davis: Yes.
Kristin Davis: Because I trust Michael Patrick King [writer and director]. As time went on we got a little more anxious because of the level of attention that we did not expect at all – like things have shifted in our culture since we ended our show.
Q: In what way?
Kristin Davis: Well, previous to showing up and having hundreds of people standing there with their video cameras rolling – previous to that day – I was just so happy that we got to go back and work together. I tend not to think about the finished product. I’m not the star and I don’t need to think about that [laughs]. But I don’t think: “Oh my God, what’s going to happen if we don’t make $300 million?” My mind does not go there.
Q: The show hit the zeitgeist at exactly the right moment all around the world. It’s now four years on…
Kristin Davis: [Interrupting] I understand what you’re saying, but personally, I don’t worry about these things.
Q: How was it working together again?
Kristin Davis: Cynthia [Nixon] said that it’s like almost if you went back to high school yet not. There’s an intense familiarity and we are in many ways like sisters. We finish each other’s sentences and really, even when the show ended, we were not separated from each other. People kept saying: “How is it to be back together?” But we weren’t separated – well we seemed so for the public because obviously we’re living our normal lives, but we weren’t actually. So, it wasn’t that strange re-acquaintance thing because we weren’t unacquainted. It’s strange because we were just ourselves due to the lack of work, and the personal time and we had to go back and be our characters. It was very surreal.
Q: Who would be the geek in the group?
Kristin Davis: That’s obvious. I would be [laughs]. But Cynthia meant that there are visual clues to do with the past – like how our hair is, shooting on the street and the clothes – yet we’re now and we’re us still, but we’ve been thrown back a little, just in terms of the situation.
Q: What does your character need, what’s her journey?
Kristin Davis: She needs to be a good mother. I have my adopted daughter. Charlotte worked really hard for a long time to have a child. She’s an over achiever so number one in her mind would be to be a good mother and friend and good wife too. But I don’t want to give too much away. My fear is that there are no surprises left. People are going to pay to see it and I hope there will be something that will be a surprise.
Q: Are you in a different place in your life now than you were doing the series?
Kristin Davis: I feel good. I don’t feel in a very different place but I’ve had time to do different things, like going to Africa, doing charity work, seeing other parts of the world. That’s been fantastic.
Q: How has NY changed in the four years the show has been off the air?
Kristin Davis: There’s the insanity of the video and the stalker-razzi. When we started we had this small group of paparazzi and we knew their names and it was kind of relaxed. It seems strange to say, now, because at the time we didn’t think they were relaxed. But now we know they were. When we went back to work and there was this cacophony and insanity and it was shocking. We did the pilot in ’97 and we wrapped in 2004. Things had started to escalate by then. When Sarah was pregnant and they started trailing her 24/7 it was frightening and scary and strange, like: “What’s going on?” Now that’s common.That’s normal.
My first day was with Chris North and there were maybe 10 cameras on us all day all the time. When we were acting and when we weren’t. Even while we were filming the scene. That’s weird and hard and strange. I was like: “They’re getting the dialogue.” You want the scene to be a surprise when an audience sees it. We’d have the paparazzi but not the video before. So it’s escalated in a way that there’s no place else for it to go. We always had fans and tourists. Before we’d be in Time Square and shooting and a double decker bus would come by and we’d wave, and we’re happy to do that, but that weird having five video cameras in your face all the time – that’s new.
Q: Why was the show as ground breaking as it was?
Kristin Davis: It’s hard to be objective having been in it. Now it’s easier to be objective having had a break. There hadn’t been a show like this. A lot of it was Candice’s column. She was here in NY – it was a very NY centric thing. HBO had the good sense to do a show about women and we had our fantastic writers who were not afraid to push the envelope. They were not afraid.
Q: Were you suddenly seen as people that had a knowledge of sex?
Kristin Davis: Not so much me because my character is Charlotte. Before we were neurotic and scared. Afterwards, there was this weird learning curve. People would stop us on the street and tell us their stories. Sarah Jessica and I would be like [whispering: “Oh my god, what are we going to do?” We’re kind of conservative, because she’s more conservative than her character, and I’m less conservative that my character. We were like: “How are we going to handle this? What are we going to say to these people?”
Q: Were you aware of a gay sensibility to the show? Lots of people said the characters could easily have been gay men.
Kristin Davis: Eventually, we were aware of them saying it. When the gay community embraced it, we were thrilled, who wouldn’t be thrilled? They’re not the easiest group in the world to please. And also we’re in Manhattan, we’re theatre people, so to us that seemed normal. When people started saying they’re really gay men, we were like: “Wait a minute. That’s a little far.” I’m not trying to play a gay man. I’m perplexed by that comment but when something hits, people project a lot and at a certain point, you go: “They are going to say what they are going to say.” And you just go with it.
Q: It changed the way that women talked about sex in other parts of the world. Do you think it changed the way people talked about sex in America?
Kristin Davis: More so. We’ve got the puritan thing still going on. Which is why we still have to have this discussion after all this time. I don’t think we’ve worked it out culturally yet. I’m happy to have been on a show that let people talk freely.
Q: Were there times on the show when you didn’t want to do any scenes?
Kristin Davis: There were things I was like: “Wow – we’re not going to do that?” It was more me being concerned about my friends, meaning the other actresses, had to do in a scene.
Q: You all became fashion icons because of the show. What role does it play in the movie?
Kristin Davis: Well, fashion is the star of the new movie [laughs]. But that has to do with everybody taking our pictures and analyzing it before the movie has even happened. I don’t feel like an icon at all. Sarah is, and rightly so. Even before the show she had an incredible personal style and she was the one that got Pat Field [costume designer] to do the show. And Pat taught us and changed us – the show and us personally. I learned a lot. I was a neophyte in all ways to do with fashion before the show.
Q: Do you like Charlotte’s style?
Kristin Davis: I love her style. Pat is so good she taught me what looks good on me and what works for me and Charlotte. Because Pat is so bold people sometimes forget that she does dress for character and when we came back we had long discussions about how our style would have evolved. She’s so special and different.
Q: Would the movie have happened without Patricia Fields doing the costumes?
Kristin Davis: No, definitely not. We’re a unit. Someone said to me the other day, are all four of you in it? And I was like: “Where have you been? Living under a rock?” Of course, all four are in it. But also we couldn’t do it without Pat, or without Michael Patrick King [director and writer]. We’re a unit.
Q: Sex And the City is about friendship. What about your own friends? Do you get drunk together? What do you do with your friends?
Kristin Davis: Well, I’m sober so it would definitely not be getting drunk together. I have an incredible group of girlfriends, some of whom are here. That’s just an added weird plus that’s an addition to our lives. We never auditioned together, we never read together and it just worked in a miraculous way.
I also have girlfriends I had before the show and I’m lucky to have people in my life who have been with me a very long time and hang with me even when we work 18 hour days and they don’t see me. One of the coolest things was when a friend of mine organized a 40th birthday party for me. I’m not that concerned about age related stuff but with 40, you know everyone is a little [raises her eyebrows]. My friend was like: “We’re having a dinner party!” And she did this great thing where she got everyone to write something for me in this book, on the quiet, and then gave it to me later. I would have stayed at home and watched TV that night, but I had a great time. She’s a great friend.
Q: Do you think that the show changed the way that people interacted socially?
Kristin Davis: [Laughs] If it did I think it’s fantastic. I think it was already happening. I lived here [in New York] in the 80’s as a waitress/actress and you’d see fantastic people walking down the street and you’d be: “Wow I could never live up to that!” That’s how I felt. I think it made it grander and for people in, say, Milwaukee, for them it made it more accessible maybe. It was already happening here. When I’m here I’m always: “Wow, look at her – she looks great. I think that’s always been true here. I’m from South Carolina. When I go home I’m like, ‘Wow, people looking good’.” People used to be preppy and conservative. I think there is a cultural thing and it wasn’t about us.
Q: Playing Charlotte must have changed your life?
Kristin Davis: Sure. It’s been fantastic. People are like your friend. I was in Africa and someone said to me: “It’s like people already know you and you’re their friend because you play such a nice character.” It’s true for all four of us but it is more true for Charlotte. I aspire to be like that and I don’t always succeed. It’s this strange. You’re connected to people you don’t know. Sometimes it’s a little freaky: “Oh my god, I don’t really know them.” But isn’t that a better way to walk through life than felling unconnected? So it’s hugely positive.
Q: Was there an outfit you hated or adored?
Kristin Davis: The Zac Posen black swan dress that I wear for many, many, many days was painful because he did not make it to be walking around the streets he made it for the runway. I had to walk like a geisha. Cynthia was very patient. She used to hold my hand so I didn’t just clink [pretends to fall over].
Q: And did the shoes hurt?
Kristin Davis: No, we’re used to that. In the middle of the night we’d be like this is how we earn our cheque – the shoes.
Q: Have you ever nicked anything?
Kristin Davis: It’s tough to do with Pat. Not very often. Colours. Pat is bold with colours but there was a weird Chartreuse and I was like: “I just can’t wear that.” Pat is unafraid. I was just like: “Got to say no to that one.” [laughs]
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