The cast and crew of Sex and the City are opening up about spats between Kim Cattrall and the rest of the franchise's stars — most notably with Carrie Bradshaw herself, Sarah Jessica Parker.
Cattrall made headlines in 2017 when news spread that a SATC 3 film was being canned because of failed contract negotiations with the actress, and again in February when she lashed out at Parker on social media following the death of her brother. "Your continuous reaching out is a painful reminder of how cruel you really were then and now," Cattrall wrote in an Instagram post to Parker. "Let me make this VERY clear. (If I haven't already) You are not my family. You are not my friend. So I'm writing to tell you one last time to stop exploiting our tragedy in order to restore your 'nice girl' persona."
In a new chapter of James Andrew Miller's Origins podcast, the host tackled these topics head-on with stars Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis, along with the show's creators and producers. Cattrall did not participate in the podcast, but told Miller through a representative "that she's already said everything she wants to say about Sex and the City."
Michael Patrick King, who wrote and executive produced the series, as well as wrote and produced the two SATC films, said that tensions between Cattrall and the other women started early on in show, largely over money and competition for the spotlight. He explained that when the show began, Parker was by far the biggest name of the four, and was taking a risk as a movie star moving to an HBO TV show. Because of her star status, she was paid as such.
"The show doesn't exist if Sarah Jessica wasn't the blond star of the show, that's No. 1. Kim was not at the height of her career, Kristin was under her in terms of notability, Cynthia was a theater actress — and their contracts reflected that status," King told Miller on the third episode of the podcast, titled "Sex and the City: 1, 2 & Out."
"As the show progressed, the characters, everybody grew, it became a family," he said. "Kristin, Cynthia and Sarah Jessica became one group, and Kim never joined mentally."
He continued, "Kim fought and said, 'I'm everyone's favorite.' … [Parker's] name was contractually, legally, righteously, the only name on the poster due to the fact that she was a movie star in 1998 when the series started and she did a leap to do a show about sex on [HBO], the channel that did the fights, and it doesn't matter how popular you are. I guess for Kim it didn't matter how much the raise became if there was never parity, but there was never going to be parity."
The executive producer said that these difficult contract negotiations were nothing new, describing how things "always got dicey before a new season with contract weirdness," but those issues were usually worked out by the time they got to set. And although there was sometimes tension behind closed doors, "no one really ever vomited out what they were feeling."
From Parker's view, the star, who's also a producer on the films, did all she could to show Cattrall she wanted her on board the third movie, remembering numerous conversations with her manager to convince her to reprise her part. Ultimately, though, "the studio said, 'We can't meet those asks of hers. We're not able to do it; the economics don't make sense for us.' So then it's over. But that's not a character assassination, that's just the way business works."
Speaking on her and Cattrall's relationship, Parker said, "I'm not in a catfight with anybody. I've never publicly — ever — said anything unfriendly, unappreciative about Kim because that's not how I feel about her." She also refuted the idea that the years on the show were spent fighting with her co-star, as "we just couldn't have functioned. I would've had stomachaches every day."
Nixon didn't answer questions about Cattrall on the podcast, and Davis said that she isn't in a place to play peacemaker between Cattrall and the SATC team. "I think there's other issues that have to do with other people's personal things that are none of my business in some ways," Davis told Miller. "It's tough when you've worked with someone for 20 years. You want to have respect and I have respect. … It's very hard because we were crushed by not doing that third film. It's so hard to get a film starring four women greenlit, even when you are a household name around the world."
Amy Harris, a writer and producer throughout the show's run, expressed disappointment in how Cattrall treated Parker following the death of her brother, calling the social media post "incredibly unfair," and said it doesn't align with what she ever saw on set. "I really have so much empathy for what Kim was going through, but I thought her choice and what she did was wrong," Harris said. "I don't understand why she did that because whatever the past was, those were four women who did care about each other, and I did understand where her rage and anger were coming from in terms of what she was going through, but I don't know why she chose to take it out on Sarah Jessica."
The producer also gave her thoughts on why Cattrall refused to take part in SATC 3, believing that she was really just tired of portraying Samantha Jones onscreen, which is "a completely legitimate choice."
"What isn't the right choice is to claim that that choice is because these other people were monsters, which they simply were not," Harris said. "I think it seemed that things were really moving forward and then suddenly the rug was sort of pulled out and the reasons for it didn't seem to match what actually happened, in my mind."
King echoed this theory, calling out Cattrall for making up a "revisionist history" about her more than a decade in the Sex and the City sphere. "People do things, they make stuff up based on what they want to tell themselves," King said. "All I know is that show was spectacular for everyone involved. It was a spectacular success and you have to work very hard to make that Sex and the City story be something that was not good for you, and for some reason, Kim thinks something happened to her on that show that was not good for her."