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City Lights

Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Chris Noth, and Jennifer Hudson discuss filming Sex and the City. logo
Kristin Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, and Kim Cattrall
in Sex and the City
(© New Line Cinema)
Strap on your Manolos, because the Sex and the City gang are finally back. The long-awaited film version of the hit HBO series hits the big screen on Friday, May 30, fast-forwarding four years into the lives of gal pals Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Samantha (Kim Cattrall), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), and Charlotte (Kristin Davis), and their assorted friends, colleagues, and lovers, played by such recognizable New York stage stars as Chris Noth, Evan Handler, David Eigenberg, Mario Cantone, Lynn Cohen, Joanna Gleason, Julie Halston -- and Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson.

"When I finished the first draft of the film it was 365 pages long and then I began the trimming down of the Christmas tree to fit our $65 million budget," says Michael Patrick King, the film's writer and director. "It's really amazing how effortlessly the chemistry just came back. Our girls are emotional Rockettes."

Parker, who is also one of the film's producers, was determined that Carrie and company would make the transition from television to film. "I worked on putting this movie back together for two years," she says. "I think Michael and I work so well together because we both come from a background of family chaos. This whole process is quite beyond description. I mean 10 years ago, HBO was still under the radar and now look at where it's come."

During the show's hiatus, she found time to start Bitten, an affordable fashion line for women sizes 0-22, as well as star in several films including The Family Stone and Failure to Launch. But she hasn't made it back to the Broadway stage, where she starred in such musicals as Once Upon a Mattress and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying opposite real-life hubby Matthew Broderick. "We just can't think about working together again on stage, because our son, James, likes to have one of us always home to put him to bed and take him to school," she explains.

Cattrall, who had amassed a long series of both film and stage credits before (and after) joining Sex and the City, had to make a quick change back to Samantha once the film's shooting schedule got set. "I had only two weeks to switch between the high collars and the high heels," she says of playing the outspoken American born wife of author Rudyard Kipling in the British television film My Son Jack opposite Daniel Radcliffe.

The actress received a great deal of attention for her work as the sexually adventurous Ms. Jones, but always enjoyed the challenge. "As a character, she's always a bit of a tightrope, you know, how much is too much?" she asks. "And it's odd, how in some insane way the younger man/older woman scenario of the show wound up mirroring my life," says the now 52-year-old star, who is now involved with Canadian chef Alan Wyse, who is more than 20 years her junior.

Perhaps no one's real life has changed more than Nixon's in the past few years, including her much-publicized relationship with Christine Marinoni. "Falling in love with a woman is just falling in love and it certainly didn't affect my playing Miranda in the movie," she says. "I am a mother in real life and I play a mother in the movie. In fact, Steve and Miranda's baby on the show is now the boy who plays our son in the film." As to any similarities between her and her character, Nixon notes, "Miranda is a grump and I'm not. But I even like the bad things about her, like her neuroses." Meanwhile, the stage-trained actress, who won the 2006 Tony Award for her performance in Rabbit Hole, returns to the boards next year in the Off-Broadway premiere of Lisa Loomer's Distracted at the Roundabout.

Davis says her biggest challenge wasn't getting back into the character of Charlotte, who had finally found wedded bliss when the series ended. "What was difficult was working with such enormous crowds around us all the time; not just a couple of fans, but cell phone cameras and video cameras," she notes. "That's when we realized that we have fans not just from before but a whole new base from all that syndication. It means we had to bring not just our game, but our super game."

Sarah Jessica Parker and Chris Noth in Sex and the City
(© New Line Cinema)
Noth, who plays Carrie's on-again, off-again, on-again flame Mr. Big, was happy to reunite with Parker and the rest of the cast. "Sarah and I have such great chemistry together and we trust each other," he says. "Plus, good writing is good writing; it just lifts you. The actor's life has been a very busy one in the past few years, with a starring role in Law & Order: Criminal Intent, recently becoming a new dad (he and girlfriend Tara Wilson had a son, Orion, in January), and producing a documentary on great war photographers such as the late Sean Flynn. "We just don't see that kind of photography in this war," he explains. "It might be better if we did."

Hudson, who first came to fame as a semi-finalist on FOX's American Idol, is the film's newcomer, playing Carrie's assistant, Louise. "I never watched the show, so when they called me, I got the DVDs and watched them all. It's that addictive," she says. "I am so glad to have a role like this. Louise is so different from Effie [White, her Oscar-winning role in Dreamgirls]. And these women are all icons, but they're nice, decent people. And I'm a bit of a sponge, so I picked up things. You know, I was an actress before I was a singer."

Like Parker, Hudson is also a fashionista, with a Vogue cover to her credit and a love of shopping. "Everybody ain't tiny like Sarah," she coos with a smile. "But no matter what size or what age you are, you gotta represent yourself, so I'm also planning a fashion line for the average-size woman. I'm also going on tour soon to publicize my new,album. And no matter what, it's like I always say, If I could get through Idol, I can get through anything."

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