'Sex and the City 3'? Michael Patrick King: 'There's one story left'
On the topic of TV shows getting a second life, it’s impossible not to look to Sex and the City, the original model for Community fans’ cheer of “six seasons and a movie.” After six fashionable years of Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte’s adventures on TV, the iconic HBO comedy series found new life — twice — with two big-screen adaptations, both written and directed by series exec producer Michael Patrick King.
During our chat with King about the revival chances of his other HBO show, The Comeback, the conversation of course veered into Sex territory. (How could it not?) The big question: could a third Sex and the City movie ever get off the ground? Back in January, Sarah Jessica Parker told InStyle that she believed there was one last chapter to tell. Well, King agrees.
“The great gift or riches or luck is that I worked on two shows that were so full that they spilled over into people’s lives and the characters were rounded enough that you could still wonder where they are,” King says, adding that Sex and the City is still thriving on TV, especially as alternative programming (HBO marathoned the series on Super Bowl Sunday).
Acknowledging Parker’s comments on a third film, King explains, “Sarah Jessica and I both know what that final chapter is. That doesn’t mean it will or should be told, but I do think there’s one story left. Whether it ever happens is a whole other situation. But there’s four girls, and those girls are still in my mind. There are other stories to tell and characters that haven’t even been written yet.”
The show went off the air exactly 10 years ago, in February 2004, delivering series-high ratings for the emotional finale. Four years later, Sex and the City hit movie theaters and raked in $152 million at the domestic box office, with critical reviews split right down the middle. Sex and the City 2 opened with significantly less ballyhoo in 2010 and made $95 million at home, with the Rotten Tomatoes score at just 15%. If it seemed as though the series was on its last legs, that would largely be the accurate assumption — but it depends who you’re asking. EW’s Owen Gleiberman sees a future. The series still lives online, boasting 14 million devotees on Facebook and plenty of meme life among the Tumblr generation. The clamor for another movie might not be as loud as it once was, but rest assured, it’s still there. Just like The Carrie Diaries.
“It’s a very interesting balance of zeitgeist and letting go and coming back and figuring out if you’re done or you’re not done. I listen to people a lot, actually,” says King. “What I do know is that there’s interest, but with interest comes non-interest. It’s all really about the stories, and if you actually think you have something left to say that would make it exciting and worthwhile for the fans’ time, that’s really the question. Not whether you can get away with it, not whether anybody will buy it, not whether you can make money on it. It’s really like, is there enough or more to say that would justify people risking seeing their favorite characters again? And I think there’s one chapter left.”
The first and perhaps biggest hurdle would be convincing all the women to return, and as it stands, it’s just Nixon who seemed to be uninterested about the idea (although that was in 2012, and it sounds like things may have changed). Parker, as we know, believes in a third story; Davis is excited at the possibility, and Cattrall appears to be on board as well. With attitudes in the affirmative, the question falls to whether enough of the moving parts can assemble to get a greenlight for a second sequel.
King is realistic that a third Sex and the City venture may in fact never come to fruition, but fans should be pleased to know that he and SJP are on the same page when it comes to finishing the saga with one final story. Although, it should be clear, though King listens to the rumblings about SATC‘s place in the zeitgeist, he’s not exactly flocking to Tumblr or Twitter (where accounts are devoted to the plots of a third movie) to take suggestions.
“Oh, like I would ever look at the Internet!” jokes King. “I also sometimes go into the kitchen and just turn on the stove and put my hand on it to see if that hurts still.”