Cosmopolitans, Manolo Blahniks, sex and the bright lights of New York City

Laura Davis

STAN2 Cosmopolitans, Manolo Blahniks, sex and the bright lights of New York CityOr if you’re a boyfriend that’s been forced to sit through hours of Sex and the City then:

The horsey one, the old whore, the uptight brunette and the ginger.

If you fall into the latter category of viewer, this might not be for you. But if you’re the former, read on to hear Willie Garson (Stanford Blatch in SATC), on gay stereotypes, salary disputes and sex scenes.

Stanford marries Anthony Marantino in the second film, did you always expect their characters to end up together?
Oh God, no! I mean we started by hating each other so this was a surprise to everyone.

Your character says he’s content with allowing an open relationship, do you think this is a good way to go?
I can’t imagine it myself. But I say whatever works for anyone is fine with me. Every couple has their own thing, so whatever makes it work but I can’t imagine it for myself.

Do you think the show addressed gay stereotypes well?
I never knew! My fear was always that it would offend the community. So I did my best and didn’t watch the show for a long time until I started hearing from the community saying how wonderful it was. So I just played it trying it to be truthful and honest to the character without playing any kind of archetype.

The second film got quite some scathing reviews in the press, does this affect the morale among cast members?
Not really at all, not this one – I don’t know about others. Some of the reviews were very bizarre. I think a lot were already angry that the first one had made so much money [The film grossed $415m worldwide]. There’s no place to put it. There’s no police chases, there’s no gunplay. So how did this money make all this money and what it the purpose of a sequel? But we don’t make it for those people, we make it for our fans, of which there are plenty through all walks of life. I’ve often said in some of the reviews, I don’t know what movie these four girls could make for a 70 year-old film critic. I don’t know what he would want other than them dying in a plane crash! But our fans love it and that’s who we make it for.

Did you agree with any of the criticisms? For example how the women in Abu Dhabi were portrayed?
No not at all. Michael Patrick King was making somewhat of a statement about the freedom of women and the power of women in a place where they’re not given as much power. And as far as our characters go, they were just acting the way they act whoever they are and that’s who they are. That’s always been the crux of the show, it’s always been about love and being yourself. I know there was some stuff written about Samantha’s behaviour in the Middle East, but Samantha’s Samantha wherever she is!

Is it difficult when there are rivalries between the girls?
There are none. That’s all of course the press always looking for some kind of nonsense that doesn’t exist. We always say whenever we all get together, it’s like Thanksgiving dinner with a slightly less annoying family. So yeah, we love being with each other and we’re all very supportive of each other and we all take care of each other, the way it always has been and hopefully always be.

Did you ever have your own salary disputes?
That’s what our whole life is about as actors, that’s what we spend our life doing! We always want more money! I got some of my own way… let’s not forget I worked as a dishwasher for $3 an hour, so as an actor any day acting is a good day.

The show went far beyond a television programme and became a way of life for some women, when did you first start to realise how big it was becoming?
You know, at the beginning it was as if no one was watching. HBO was kind of a small station, so it was kind of more fun to be honest. About midway through the second season it just exploded with madness so once it happened we noticed it right away. We also noticed it through the network because our little fun game was being looked at very carefully so we had to be much more careful with our ad-libs .

When the show ended in 2004, did you think it was the right time?
I think television especially is a writer’s medium, so for the writers it was the right time. I think that it’s important that you have enough stories to sustain a weekly show and I think they felt like OK we’ve told the story that we need to tell up until now. And I think the idea was to keep it going after.

Were you offended that your character had doubts about his appearance?
No, absolutely not, because the idea is that as they got to know us better they wrote for us. I don’t feel like I look like Brad Pitt and I don’t think Brad Pitt thinks he looks like Willie Garson. We all have certain feelings about how we look and I think the beauty of the show and the films is that human honesty.

When you started the show were you concerned about how controversial some parts were going to be? (for example, the explicit sex scenes)
I actually had no idea, it didn’t even occur to me. I didn’t think people were going to watch it. HBO was small and Cable was small and people thought Cable’s great, you can do anything on Cable! So I never thought like oh this is racy, I thought, we’re on Cable so we can do anything we want! Which ended up in the long run not being true, you can’t do anything you want.

Which of the four female characters is your favourite?
There’s something to recommend in all of them, it’s kind of cliché to say Carrie, but it is. It’s hard for me to be objective because I’ve been friends with Sarah since long before the show started.

Will there be a third film?
No idea! I wish someone would ask someone at Warner Brothers! But they ask us all the time, as if we know. I think if there’s a story to tell, and there’s an audience and we can get in before we’re all in wheelchairs then possibly, but I have no idea. I wish, I would make 100 of them, and I think our fans would watch 100 of them.

Sex and the City 2 is released on DVD today

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