The Irish American writer behind summer blockbuster 'Sex and the City 2'


Hello summer, you don’t stand a chance. The biggest movie of the year is about to hit Thursday.

Here’s what you need to know -- "Sex and the City 2" has more sparkle than Tiffany’s; it’s a new (and vintage) Carrie Bradshaw adventure and its guaranteed to be the magic carpet ride of summer 2010.

Irish American writer, producer and director Michael Patrick King, 53, is the man at the film’s helm once again, just as he was for the iconic show’s run on HBO.  He’s the Scranton, Pennsylvania boy who -- just like Carrie -- arrived on this mythical island one day in the 1980s determined to be a writer. Like Carrie he succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.

That happy coincidence -- between King’s facts and Carrie’s fiction -- is what makes him the ideal writer for the movie. He just gets Carries journey in his bones.

King is also one of three famous Irish Americans (including Vice President Joe Biden and playwright Jason Miller) who grew up in the hardscrabble Scranton neighborhood before he left to make his fortune in the big city.

“Joe Biden did very well,” King tells the Irish Voice with a knowing laugh. “We have almost the same job wouldn’t you say? He’s the vice president of the country and I am the vice president of sex.”

Before his dizzying success (King is now a co-producer of the multi-million dollar Sex and the City franchise) he worked for years, decades actually, as a humble waiter in just about every greasy spoon restaurant in Manhattan.

It was his sheer determination that finally paid off, but it was also his talent at storytelling, which he attributes to his Irish background, and the Irish women he grew up around.

“My family is Irish on all sides. These are the names in my family -- King, Fitzsimmons, Judge and O’Malley,” says King.

“My grandparents actually came from Ireland, and I have three sisters, Eileen, Mary Ellen and Patty. The youngest one married a man named Cook. She went from a King to a Cook!”

Then King erupts with laughter.  “My mother is a very loving woman and a great storyteller, and I think I get the ability to hold a room’s attention from the way she used to tell me stories.

“What I also get from my Irish background is an amazing sort of emotional depth and feeling. I have great empathy and I also have the Irish thing of understanding the balance between a laugh and cry, you know?

“I don’t want just the comedy or just the tear. If it’s a funny moment I want it to be real. I think that balancing act is a very Irish trait.”
Of course Sex and the City isn’t just a TV show or a series of films. It’s a massive worldwide phenomenon, and no one knows this better than King himself.

“I’m very blessed to be the antenna that’s allowed to tell this story, and I think that I’m partly the guy who can write this because of being Irish,” King reckons.

“I think it’s partly because I was raised in a family of Irish women. I mean, what could be more Irish than a bunch of strong women getting together to laugh and cry at the adventure of life?”

King was scheduled to talk to the Irish Voice two weekends ago at the swanky Mandarin Oriental Hotel in midtown, but in a carefully planned attempt to throw the paparazzi that haunt his cast’s every footstep, his publicists rescheduled in favor of one of one of the movie’s locations -- Bergdorf Goodman on Fifth Avenue.

As the unsuspecting public shopped on a gorgeous May morning the entire second floor of Bergdorf’s was quietly sealed off, and suddenly rows and rows of Armani suited male models began working a security detail, standing behind black ropes and redirecting anyone who dared to even think about having a look.

To say that the setting for our interview with Michael Patrick King was impressive is an understatement. You have never seen glamour like it in your life.

The second floor at Bergdorf’s is already one of the most important fashion epicenters in the world, but with the arrival of Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, Kim Cattrall and Kristin Davis it instantly became the world’s fashion center. All together, in person, these women are a force to be reckoned with.

The ladies have the look, but King is the storyteller and he has a set of rules about how and where he wants the girls to be each time.

“One of my rules with 'Sex and the City' is that I always make sure that I don’t repeat myself. I knew I wanted the second movie to be completely different than the first,” he said.

“I wanted it to be more of a party, a big extravaganza. I wanted to embrace the word sequel and go bigger.”

The first scene King came up explored tradition and how even today, in a cosmopolitan city like New York, the four women (and all women) are still struggling with traditional roles and expectations.