And Just Like That… creator Michael Patrick King has been speaking out about the Sex And The City spin-off as its first season comes to a close. This article contains no spoilers for the finale (airing tomorrow), but if you’ve yet to have watched any of episodes, you may want to click away now.
King spoke to Variety about the actor Willie Garson, who played beloved gay character Stanford Blatch. Garson, 57, filmed three episodes of the show before dying of pancreatic cancer last September.
King says it was always his plan for Stanford to go through some sort of “midlife crisis” and probably split from his husband, Anthony (Mario Cantone).
However, Stanford was originally due to feature in all ten episodes. Instead, following Garson’s death, the character’s absence was explained by Anthony discovering that Stanford had suddenly left him to move to Tokyo to manage a TikTok star.
“He was in all 10 episodes,” King said. “Before I knew that Willie was sick and couldn’t complete it, Stanford was going to have a midlife crisis. Stanford’s character always had a borderline career as a manager, and we were like going to explore the fact that it wasn’t a real career. It was going to be Carrie and him, feeling the shifts. Anthony and him were probably going to have split anyway.
“Then we would keep both of them in, and everybody would be relieved that they were divorced because it was not pleasant for anybody. But there was a series of really fun, flirty, hilarious confidante scenes with Carrie that I loved. That old, old, very specific chemistry that Carrie and Stanford have, which is based totally on the uniqueness of Willie and Sarah Jessica’s history.”
King went on to say that dealing with life and death and fiction can be tricky when the audience is aware the actor has died in real life.
“Life and death is one thing in fiction: When it’s real, it’s not funny or cute. I didn’t want to even flirt narratively with cute business about where he is. I knew the audience would never invest in it, because they knew he was never coming back. It’s the most threadbare writing I’ve ever done just to move him along without much maneuvering, because it was just so sad. There was no way I could write myself out of that in any charming, cute way.”
Variety also asked King about the sexual assault allegations against Chris Noth, 67. He said he could not comment. Noth, who has denied the allegations, played Mr. Big, husband to Carrie Bradshaw (played by Sarah Jessica Parker). His character died in the first episode, and the actor was subsequently cut from a flashback scene in tomorrow’s finale.
However, King did reveal the death of Big had been planned to take place in the third, never-made, Sex And The City movie. That film never emerged primarily because actress Kim Cattrall, who played Samantha Jones, refused to sign up for it.
“I had the idea that Mr. Big would die — that was the movie. And I’m so thrilled it didn’t happen in the movie, because I wouldn’t have been able to explore the journey for Carrie.”
King said, “The idea of the movie was really strong, and there was interest. And then all of a sudden it was impossible to get all four ladies to participate: Kim didn’t want to do the movie. Kim had finished playing Samantha, and despite conversations back and forth she just said, ‘Yeah, I don’t want to do this.’ So she pulled out, and I thought, ‘Well, then there’s no movie’.”
He says Cattrall’s decision was “disappointing at the time, because I had a good story and I love writing Samantha. You have to look at the reality of something: You can literally not make an actress play a part.”
According to HBO Max, And Just Like That… has been its most successful original show to date. However, there’s no official word yet on whether it will be renewed for a second season.