Michael Patrick King: Sex Rehab

Michael Patrick King, writer, director, and producer of Sex and the City 2, lifts the veil on his Middle Eastern-flavored sequel, his TV comeback, and his very own Mr. Big.

BY Brandon Voss

May 21 2010 5:00 AM ET

When it comes to Sex and the City’s main gay characters, it’s worth noting that you cast an openly gay actor, Mario Cantone, as Anthony, and a straight actor, Willie Garson, as Stanford. Does sexuality ever come into play when casting?
It’s sex, not sexuality, that comes into play, and there’s a big difference. How many guys went through Samantha’s bedroom? I have no idea what their sexuality was. Literally, I blew through — and this is not a pun intended — hundreds of sexy men in the series. So many actors came in and out, took their clothes off, and I never had anyone say, “Oh, you shouldn’t cast him because ... ” They were either sexy or not sexy.

It’s no secret that Stanford and Anthony get married in the new film. Did you ever envision them getting together during the series?
Absolutely not. I liked in the series that they were archenemies. I liked that Anthony was so completely cold to Stanford, because I see that a lot in dating, and just because they happen to be the two gay characters doesn’t mean the rules change. Charlotte has walked out on men on sight just because she’s like, “No, not right.” Anthony’s her best friend, so he has the same kind of dating profile. But then in the first movie I started to have the luxury of seeing Stanford and Anthony together — and Willie and Mario together. In my mind their New Year’s kiss was the fantasy doorway that could open up to something. The other chaser for that drink was the idea in my mind that they got closer because of Carrie’s tragedy. Getting through a humiliating experience like that, they had to look at each other, drop all the bullshit between them, and relate as people.

Their whole lavish gay wedding, complete with Liza Minnelli officiating, felt to me like a special nod or thanks to Sex and the City’s loyal gay fans.
To me, it’s a nod to the big Preston Sturges, black-and-white, madcap MGM musical. For me, the movie’s about tradition and each of the girls struggling with a traditional role, so what’s important to me is that even within our nontraditional — now traditional in some states — gay weddings, even a couple like Stanford and Anthony is struggling with how to be “brooms.” But it’s also important that no one character speak for all gay men just as no one girl speaks for all women.

Did you get to party with Liza?
The only party I saw was the work. She worked her ass off and shook her ass off, as you could see. We did have a couple lunches before we started filming. Just to sit down and have a conversation with her was fantastic. She was so Liza Minnelli! I said to John Melfi, my producing partner, “If this were a Liza Minnelli drinking game, where you did a shot every time she said a word that Liza Minnelli would say, we would’ve been shit-faced 10 minutes into it.”

Miley Cyrus, who also appears in the film, has an interesting history with gay directors. Did you two do any bumping and grinding when she filmed her cameo?
Oh, I saw that! No, unfortunately, we didn’t. When I saw her and Adam Shankman doing that, my first thought was, Why am I always working all the time? I don’t have time to bump and grind like him.

Back to the wedding fantasia, you also got some of New York’s sexiest Broadway chorus boys, including Nick Adams from La Cage aux Folles, to perform as the wedding chorus.
All handpicked! That was not a cattle call. I told [casting director] Bernie Telsey I needed the most amazing boys. Each of them brings something more than you’d want from a chorus boy because they’re all stars, really, in their own right. To have them all in white tuxes and tails, all that energy jumps off the screen — it’s almost 3-D.
Tags: film

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