As the film opens Carrie Bradshaw is deciding how to be a wife. She’s also starting to feel her identity swamped by being Mrs. “Big” John Preston, and by the tradition and expectation that comes with it.
“It’s really the same spark of DNA in 'Sex and the City,' whether it’s the television show or the movie. The message has been consistent -- don’t lose your own individual voice. Even if you choose to be in a couple, don’t lose your voice,” King says.
To make his point, King unveils one of the most over the top weddings in cinema history, between former rivals and polar opposites Stanford Blatch, Carrie’s gay best friend, and Anthony Marantino, Charlotte’s gay best friend.
“I wanted it to be the most traditional over the top big romantic MGM musical of a wedding, but instead of a bride and a groom I wanted it to be two grooms,” says King.
“I thought it would be a fun way to start the movie, sort of in that 1930s screwball comedy feel. They say opposites attract and Anthony is uncomfortable with the tradition of it all, so he fights it until he makes his vows.”
There’s a lot about personal liberation in this movie, King says.
“Even today women have to remember that they have to roar a little bit, whether it’s at a boss or society, or at the way society is telling Samantha to age. I mean, she’s going through the change and she’s expected to change, and you know that’s the one thing Samantha will never do,” says King.
All the girls are in touch with who they are, and that sends a powerful signal to the audience.
“That message is true for all the Carries, all the Mirandas, all the Charlottes and even all the Mr. Bigs. Don’t get trapped yourself in what a traditional man or husband is supposed to do, or how they’re supposed to act after a difficult mistake is made,” says King.
“Think about who you’re with and who you are, and not what everybody else thinks you should do.”
When the show started back in 1998 the four BFFs were in their thirties with society telling them if they didn’t have a boyfriend or a husband soon, they were going to be social lepers.
“That really resonated with my own outsider point of view,” says King (who’s gay and in a long term relationship). “I think that the gay element is really just people who have to create their own life because society doesn’t really have a role for them to fit into. They relate to the struggle of these girls as individuals.”
But King is no fool. He deliberately put things into this movie for straight men to enjoy.
First and foremost he’s included a remarkably buxom Irish nanny (Alice Eve). That, he says, is for the men who’ve been dragged to the cinema by their girlfriends or wives.
“If you’re feeling overwhelmed as a mother, as Charlotte is at the top of the movie, I thought it would be fun to introduce a nuclear bomb of a gorgeous Irish nanny,” says King.
“Samantha recognizes her as a threat, and the minute she says so she unravels a whole paranoia in Charlotte about the strength of her own marriage. Sometimes close friends can do that without intending to.”
The Irish nanny comes with a jaunty Irish score.
“We worked so hard on the Irish music. It took us ages to get it right but I knew exactly what I wanted,” says King.
“I’m Irish American and it’s in my DNA. I would tell them it’s not light enough, it’s not complicated enough, it doesn’t have enough humor in it, where’s the penny whistle, where’s the horn, go back and do it again.
“We worked harder on that Irish music for the nanny to appear because I wanted it to be too big and yet authentic. The first time we see her it’s against a beautiful green lawn, so its like somebody’s coming in from Ireland.”
The nanny is a classic 'Sex and the City' ploy. People look at her and judge her as a threat, but in reality she’s got a heart of gold. Look again, the film reminds us, look again.
“I knew this film was going to be about evolution, who Carrie was in the past, who’s she’s maybe worried about becoming now, and I knew that once I opened the door to the past that the big significant person who would be standing in that door was Aidan Shaw,” says King, referring to Carrie’s great other love, former fiancé Aidan.
Because the girls are in a faraway magical place, King came up with the idea of reintroducing Aidan because Carrie at that point in the movie is really trying to reclaim who she was -- and there he is. It’s a dramatic twist that fan favorite John Corbett as Aidan plays flawlessly.
“I would have only brought him in knowing full well that Chris Noth as Mr. Big was already on very firm, strong ground in the movie,” says King.
“I made a choice to get the four girls away from the men and the babies. So suddenly even though they’re married, it’s the four girls from the series that we all loved so much. They’re out, they’re loose and they’re together.