Back in 2005, when the original Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants — about four high school friends who share a pair of magical jeans — was released, things looked quite different for the film’s stars. Alexis Bledel and Amber Tamblyn were on cult TV shows, America Ferrera was a respected but seldom employed actress, and Blake Lively a relative unknown who had been plucked from a casting call. The movie grossed only $39 million in theaters, but DVD sales turned this heartwarming chicklet flick into a hit, which meant a sequel was almost inevitable.
But in those interim three years, everything changed. Ferrera’s and Lively’s careers took off on Ugly Betty and Gossip Girl, respectively, while Bledel’s and Tamblyn’s shows came to an end. When it was time to reassemble the cast, some were reportedly reluctant to make the sequel. Even magical jeans can’t get you out of contractual obligations, though, and all four stars ended up returning. ”Yes, there were contracts and reluctancies,” says director Sanaa Hamri. ”But the truth of the matter was, once we were in the midst of it, all my actresses just lost themselves in it.”
Based on stories from three books in Ann Brashares’ Sisterhood series, the sequel weaves together the tales of Carmen (Ferrera) taking theater courses at Yale, Bridget (Lively) reconnecting with a grandmother (Blythe Danner) she never knew, Tibby (Tamblyn) studying to be a director at NYU, and Lena (Bledel) choosing between two different love interests. ”From day one it was like being back on the first [Sisterhood],” says Tamblyn. ”America and I immediately got on set and started complaining about how nice Blake’s legs are and how it pissed us off.” But can these 19-year-old characters compete with that other summer movie about four female friends navigating life, love, and clothing? ”Do the women of Sex and the City all share one pair of pants?” asks Tamblyn. ”I think not.” (August 8)