It is very hard to believe. Why do you think the show still resonates with audiences today? It really is a testament to those characters and those actresses. Being a female-forward show, was there any pushback from networks at the time you were pitching the show? They were always very supportive of really pushing boundaries, and from the beginning, I really looked at the show of being the equivalent of an independent film for television.
It was not so commercial. I never wanted it to be. I never thought it was appropriate material for one of the broadcast networks. I definitely felt that I was doing something that had not been done on television before quite this way. If this was going to be a show that was going to be about sexual relationships and was going to be very frank and honest, this was obviously not going to be appropriate for broadcast television, but I felt the adult audience out there was certainly ready for this show.
At the time, did you feel like you were ahead of the curve? I used to feel like it was right on time because it did connect with its audience, so I think it was the right show at the right time, in that regard, because the audience was ready for the show. So in that respect, it was certainly ahead of its time for what comedy has evolved to look like on television. Now, primarily, shows are single-camera comedies.
The show is a reflection of its time. I feel like there are many more shows like that out there now. The show centers around four white women. There would probably be a gay character and it would probably be more diverse, but at the same time, this is what that show was about. I think its an apples and oranges type of question. You might even have a gender-fluid character on the show. From the ground up, we would just be thinking of it differently 20 years later. Do you think the show was a pre-cursor to programming today?
One thing that I think Sarah Jessica Parker brought to the role was her sense of humor. Carrie was a very flawed character in many ways, and the audience was always on a journey with her, and I think her flaws made her more relatable. After having written the pilot, I just thought she would be perfect actress for it. I was a big fan of her work. She was funny and always seemed so smart. As an actress, I thought she would be very believable as this writer, and I thought she had great comedy chops, so that combination felt to be the perfect fit.
What is this script? She was primarily a film actress so it was a big leap to commit to doing a TV series, but the fact that it was going to be on HBO made a difference.
So she never formally auditioned? She did not audition. We just had a meeting. Did you have to talk her into it? I tried to be charming [laughing]. So Sarah Jessica Parker was always your first choice to play Carrie? What do you remember about casting Kristin Davis? I just felt she was going to bring some of herself to the role of Charlotte. Did she read for the role? Cynthia, I think, read in New York. Cynthia was really a legend as a stage actress — a theater actor in New York.
Her reading was fantastic. She had to be very persuaded to come in and read for it, and actually, we were just about to cast another actress, and at the eleventh hour, we had lunch and Kim agreed to come in and read for the role for HBO, and of course, she was fantastic.
It was one of those situations where we just had to make the change [from another actress]. Casting is so much luck. Plans fell through for a third film, reportedly because of some casting issues. Can you clear up anything that happened? I would say I have about as much information on a third movie as you do, so I have nothing to add to that. Would you want there to be a third movie? I think if it was the right story and everybody was in a space to come back and do it, of course. But I really have nothing to add to the conversation about [the third movie].
Would you ever be interested in doing a TV reboot? I would love to be a part of that. If everybody comes back for that, that would be wonderful.