Sex and the City’s revival And Just Like That has been blighted by offscreen drama from the get-go, with Kim Cattrall’s long-running feud with costar Sarah Jessica Parker immediately being drudged up when she refused to sign up for the series.
The tension had previously been exposed in 2017 after it was reported that a thirdSATCmovie was scrapped at the 11th hour because of Kim’s “outrageous demands.” She later set the record straight during an interview with Piers Morgan.
Confirming that she’d left her character, Samantha Jones, behind for good, Kim told the host: “The answer was simply: ‘Thank you, but no. I’m good.’ December 2016, I said no. This isn’t about more money, it’s not about more scenes. … This is about a clear decision, an empowered decision in my life, to end one chapter and start another.”
"This is really where I take to task the people from Sex and the City and, specifically, Sarah Jessica Parker in that I think she could have been nicer," Kim divulged. "I really think she could have been nicer. ... I don’t know what her issue is. I never have."
All things considered, it’s no surprise that when the announcement of AJLT's revival came around last year, Kim was definitively absent — and she has made no secret of her feelings toward the new show on social media.
A fan had written, “So proud of @KimCattrall for skipping the trashy S&TC reboot and doing @HIMYFonHulu. She’s wonderful, and so is @HilaryDuff,” which Kim promptly gave a sneaky seal of approval.
Although this was the first time that Kim had publicly discredited AJLT amid mixed reviews from fans, she had previously liked tweets that lauded her decision to step away and “making choices that are right for [her].”
Despite Kim leaving no ambiguity about her stance on reprising Samantha, some fans have held onto hope that she will be making a surprise cameo in the series after picking up on hints in the storyline.
The first episode of AJLT explained Samantha’s absence to be the result of a petty feud between her and Carrie — a plot choice that sparked criticism because it appeared to be a pointed dig at Kim’s real-life feud with Sarah Jessica.
However, Samantha has remained present throughout the series without visibly appearing onscreen, including text exchanges with Carrie and sending her flowers.
But now the show’s creator, Michael Patrick King, has shot down viewers’ optimism that Kim could make a comeback, saying that she will most likely not appear again.
“You have to look at the reality of something: You can literally not make an actress play a part,” Michael remarked in an in-depth interview with Variety ahead of AJLT’s season finale this week.
Addressing the third movie, he stated matter-of-factly: “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.’”
And Michael appeared to suggest that Kim’s comments about the show and Sarah Jessica had sealed Samantha’s fate, replying with a firm “no” when asked if the door was “open for her to come back.”
He told the publication: “No. Just like there was no thought that Kim would ever participate in And Just Like That, because she’s said what she had said.”
“The only place I participate in magical thinking is in fiction. You take people at their word, and you’re a smart producer — you don’t back yourself into a corner,” Michael went on. “Magically thinking, it’s great to have Samantha. I have no realistic expectation of Kim Cattrall ever appearing again.”
Despite this, Michael said that it was “important emotionally for everybody” that Samantha featured in the show in some way. “We use it sparingly and well,” he said of the character’s off-camera appearances.
“It’s the power of writing,” he said. "It’s all make believe. It’s all pretend! There is an obstacle: Kim Cattrall doesn’t want to do the series. What do you do with that? It’s a normal writing problem."
Michael Patrick King has now confirmed that Stanford’s original storyline had to be completely rewritten when Willie was unable to complete filming due to his illness.
The character appeared in the first three episodes of the revival, but in the fourth, it was revealed that he’d gone on a sudden trip to Japan and filed for divorce from his husband, Anthony.
“He was in all 10 episodes,” Michael said of the initial plans for Stanford. “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,” he added.
Michael went on to explain that Stanford and Anthony would have “probably” ended their relationship either way, but both characters would have remained on the show.
And addressing why Stanford’s departure was mentioned so fleetingly, the showrunner went on: “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.”
While viewers have been understanding of the narrative decisions surrounding Stanford, they’ve been less than welcoming toward another prominent AJLT storyline.
The storyline has arguably been the most scrutinized part of And Just Like That and disappointed viewers have claimed that it is out of character for Miranda to act in this way, but Michael hit back at the criticism and gave his own theory as to why it has been so divisive.
“Ninety percent of long-term relationships are watching television, sharing dessert and talking about kids,” he began. “So that’s trouble when Miranda points a finger at that relationship, which a lot of people are very happy with, and says, ‘This isn’t enough.’”
Addressing the fierce backlash that Che has faced, Michael insisted: “What everybody else is projecting on that character has a lot to do with what they want to have happen to Miranda in the story. It has so little to do with Che.”
This is not the first time that Michael has defended the breakdown of Miranda and Steve’s marriage, previously telling theWriters Room podcast: “Our job is not to facilitate fairy tales.”