Candace Bushnell almost experienced what would have been an epic full-circle moment.
The writer whose column for The New York Observer that was adapted into the bestselling Sex and the City anthology – which later became the basis for the titular television series and two subsequent movies – was almost cast to play Carrie Preston (née Bradshaw) in the currently airing spinoff series, And Just Like That.
Bushnell recently appeared on the Behind the Velvet Rope with David Yontef podcast, where she revealed that Sarah Jessica Parkerwas not sold on reprising her starring role after shooting the AJLT pilot.
“SJP did not want to do it, right? So after she shot the pilot, she did not want to do it. And I remember that vaguely,” Bushnell recalled. “And I think at one point they were saying that I should have played the part. And now I’m like, ‘Yeah, I should’ve played the part!’ But then they convinced her to do it.”
Given that Bushnell’s passions lie on blank pages and not in front of screens, it probably would not have worked out.
“And, you know, I probably had stuff in my contract,” she noted, going on to add, “I don’t love being on TV sets … it’s not really where I want to spend the bulk of my day. I mean, that’s the thing that people don’t really think about is you’ve gotta be on that set, and it’s tedious. It’s tedious work, you know? The battery’s always running out, reshooting, the same thing over and over. It’s also a lot of the time, you know, it’s cold, it’s rainy and you’re sitting outside. Or you’re in a tiny little crowded room with everybody else.”
As for what drew her to Parker in the first place, Bushnell recalled thinking the actress was “nice and cute” and that she also had “comic timing” and actually lived in New York, “so she got the ‘New York thing.'”
“If you don’t live in New York and you’re from L.A., like, they never get it. It’s just a thing,” she added. “It’s like a flavoring.”
Another key star that Bushnell said was not keen on making a return was Chris Noth, who plays Carrie’s complicated love-interest-turned-spouse-turned-late-husband, John James “Mr. Big” Preston.
While she did not speak about the avalanche of sexual assault allegations that came to light after his character’s shocking death in Episode 1 of the spinoff, Bushnell did say Noth needed a bit of convincing to briefly portray Big 2.0.
“He didn’t even particularly want to do it either, you know? I mean, he really only signed up to be a guest star,” she explained, noting that an update on his character felt important to the foundation of the story.
“I think people tuned in to watch the show because it was really about, specifically, this new kind of woman, which is something that I outlined in the book,” said Bushnell. “A lot of people tuned in to see Chris Noth, you know, that’s another sort of like unknown factor.”
When it comes to the unavoidable absence of one of Carrie’s closest friends, Samantha Jones, Bushnell said that was something she simply accepted with no alternate course of action.
When asked who she would have considered casting in place of Kim Cattrall, the author replied, “I can’t even answer that question. I feel like those characters have kind of become so big that they’re like characters in Star Wars. … So I couldn’t even, I couldn’t even answer that.”