‘And Just Like That’ stars talk race, fashion and whether *that* college scene worked

When HBO? Sex and city first presented in June 1998, the world was a completely different place.

It was more than three years before the 9/11 attacks. The #MeToo revolution was almost a generation away, not to mention the racial justice movements or the pandemic.

All of this was yet to come, that summer when 30-something Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha first appeared on screen.

Changes in the world and changes caused by age are among the things Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and many new characters have to deal with when they meet on HBO’s new show, That’s it.

Cynthia Nixon, who plays Miranda, and Karen Pittman, who plays newcomer Professor Nya Wallace, spoke with NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly about how the new show is working to better reflect New York City’s racial diversity, character portrayal. originals in their mid-50s, and the fashion that everyone knows and loves.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity and includes some web-only answers.


Highlights of the interview

Cynthia, I’ll give you the first word because I’ve been watching you since 1998. How does it feel to pick up on a character you played a long time ago? Do you have to know her again?

Cynthia Nixon: No – I mean, I think when you play the character for that long, she lives inside of you. And certainly when you’re back together with so many of the original people on screen and some really crucial ones behind the camera, it really feels like you’re wearing a bespoke suit. But I think what’s really exciting for all of us who were there before is to come back and really allow these characters to grow and change. And yes, age, but something our show hasn’t been good about previously is expanding our universe. It was a very, very white show, and so to have the chance to revisit it and expand our world and to have these amazing new characters played by these amazing actors is a real treat. And how to throw these original women into new situations.

Speaking of awesome new characters, Karen, the storylines are all new to this show, but I wonder for you, do you feel like you’re going to a party everyone else was invited to 20 years ago?

Karen Pittman: Yeah, and it looks like the best party to hit, right? I mean, I think part of my goal as an actor and as an artist is to work on the material with collaborators who are interested in saying bold and bold things and great stories with great storytellers and actors. And this is obviously an amazing playground for people living in New York in 2021.

In <em>That’s it,</em>Cynthia Nixon reprises the role of Miranda, one of the original characters of <em>Sex and the City</em>, and Karen Pittman joins the cast as Professor Nya Wallace. “srcset =” https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/dims4/default/c4c954a/2147483647/strip/true/crop/1913×1278+0+0/resize /1760×1176!/quality/90/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fmedia.npr.org%2Fassets%2Fimg%2F2021%2F12%2F16%2Fcynthia-nixon-karen-pittman_custom-7ddcdd7837c709a971224c625f625 “widtha971224c625f625.jpg “height =” 588 “src =” https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/dims4/default/1d7cd0d/2147483647/strip/true/crop/1913×1278+0+0/resize/880×588!/quality/90/?url = https% 3A% 2F% 2Fmedia.npr.org% 2Fassets% 2Fimg% 2F2021% 2F12% 2F16% 2Fcynthia-nixon-karen-pittman_custom-7ddcdd7837c709a971224c25f62520b6bac2a10a.jpg “loading =” badc data ” + xml; base64, PHN2ZyB4bWxucz0iaHR0cDovL3d3dy53My5vcmcvMjAwMC9zdmciIHZlcnNpb249IjEuMSIgaGVpZ2h0PSI1ODhweCIgd2lkdGg9Ijg4M = ”</p>
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Craig Blankenhorn / HBO

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HBO

In That’s it,Cynthia Nixon reprises the role of Miranda, one of the original characters of Sex and the City, and Karen Pittman joins the cast as Professor Nya Wallace.

Well, let’s dive into how the show is different in 2021. I just want to zoom in on this great scene that kicks off the relationship between your two characters. Karen, you play Miranda’s law professor, which is embarrassing because she has a professor. He is about 50 years old. You are younger than her. And the first meeting between you two is like Miranda puts her foot in her mouth and then puts it deeper and then, like, swallows it all. It is so hard.

In the scene, Nixon’s character Miranda makes a series of increasingly embarrassing comments, including expressing surprise that Pittman’s character is the professor “because of your braids” and then trying to correct by saying that he is. joined the class in part because the professor is black.

Was it supposed to be a train wreck? And I’m asking because, you know, some critics have panned that scene and said it kind of hits the wrong note. For example, nobody is that embarrassing. Does it look like it works as a scene, Karen?

Pittman: I mean, the people in my circle, definitely the African American women in their 30s and 40s and even 50s who absolutely feel that scene deep inside. Like, “Yeah, definitely. I’ve faced this problem.” I think because we live in this society where our audience has experienced so much of this culture of cancellation, we get the impression that Miranda is in danger, but she isn’t. He’s just trying to figure something out.

Nixon: Yes, no, Miranda is in no danger. And I think Miranda has always been a person who jumps and says what she thinks, although she may want to retract a little later. And I think for myself, this is her going out and trying to have conversations that she has never had before. And I mean, I think the idea of ​​the show is like, we don’t want to show these characters doing things they know how to do, right? We want to pull the rug out from under them a little bit and actually put them in new situations and watch them work.

Another big change this time around is that the entire original group of characters are over 50. Everyone is middle-aged. That very awkward scene we just heard, you know, you’re looking in your bag for your reading glasses, Cynthia, and your gray hair is like it’s texture. It seemed very intentional. As you were saying to everyone watching, “Hey, folks, this is what 55 looks like.”

Nixon: Right, and in the first scene we’re actually discussing Miranda’s hair color is gray and Charlotte’s unhappiness with it. And what does it mean when you dye your hair? Or what does it mean when you have some work done on your face? Are you trying to look your “best”? Or are you really trying to pass yourself off as younger than you?

Karen, your character is on the younger end of the spectrum and is trying to figure out whether to start a family, whether to have a baby. But do you want to answer this question only about the challenge of getting the green light for a show that will feature women who, God forbid, have gray hair and wrinkles?

Pittman: Well, I think the interesting thing about this is how, you know, we’re discussing something that I don’t think we’d probably see in a men’s show, we’re talking about hair. You know what I mean? Is your hair gray? Should it stay gray? For example, these are actually conversations in which women have to somehow navigate. I know we spend a lot of time talking about Nya’s hair. You know it’s natural. And I wanted to have that conversation with the Sex and the city audience to talk about what an African American woman in New York City looks like with natural hair. You know, braids. These are women I see on the subway and who we always see on the subway, but they may not have been introduced that way on this platform.

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/ Courtesy of HBO Max

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Courtesy of HBO Max

In That’s it Cynthia Nixon, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kristin Davis reprise their roles as Miranda Hobbes, Carrie Bradshaw and Charlotte York from the original series Sex and the City. While a lot of things have changed, topline fashion hasn’t changed.

One thing that hasn’t changed from the original series: the clothes, the shoes. They are still fabulous. And I wonder, why as we said, so much has changed since the original in the 90s, and I know a lot of people will look at shoes that cost a thousand dollars and say, “Oh bye, privilege, bye, elitism.” And I wonder, did either of you worry about how that part of the show would turn out in 2021?

Nixon: I mean, I think the clothes are beautiful and have always been beautiful and that all the actors and actresses are great. It’s a part of the show I’ve never been very interested in, especially the consumer part. And you may notice that Miranda isn’t much of a part of it.

I do not know. You had a nice pair of clothes I wouldn’t mind borrowing. Karen, what about you?

Pittman: I think Nya doesn’t have a lot of money. I mean, he’s certainly not as well funded as perhaps some of the other characters. So I think, Nya in many ways: I talked to Molly Rogers and Danny Santiago, who are the costume designers for the show, about the exploration of, you know, street fashion and street culture. Much of what Niya represents is that African American woman who is influencing fashion from within. Again, I think it’s new. I think it is welcome. But it’s not necessarily a conversation about money. It really is – there are women who are trendy and incredibly culturally relevant and don’t have a lot of money. And I think it’s part of opening the opening of this show. You know, if you’re going to include different women and their looks, you’re going to include how they look aesthetically in New York City. And in culture, we’re at the center of much of how that conversation happens. So I think women are looking forward as much as they are looking forward to conversations and stories.

Nixon: And [it] it encompasses so much of an expression of who each of these characters are. I mean, I feel like you could take the seven of us, you could line up seven shelves that held all of our clothes. You would never mistake one character for another. Never.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To find out more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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