Michael Patrick King: Sex Rehab
BY Brandon Voss
May 21 2010 4:00 AM ET
Though the four girls travel to Abu Dhabi in the movie, you actually shot in Morocco. Did he visit you there during filming?
Yes, he came for Thanksgiving.
As a gay couple, what was it like to be in a country where homosexuality is illegal and punishable by imprisonment and fines?
Well, you do understand that we were in Marrakesh, right? Marrakesh is a very sophisticated city. My first reference point to Marrakesh was in Prick Up Your Ears, where it’s the place Joe Orton and all those people would go to smoke opium and be loose. Marrakesh is a very cosmopolitan, exotic city, and we were staying at a very fancy hotel.
But you also did research for the film in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, which are more sexually repressed cities, to say the least. Did you ever feel like you had to butch it up?
Well, let’s just say that I wasn’t out flagging on the dunes, but I was just myself. I’m blessed because I travel in this film cocoon were everything’s like make-believe, so maybe I just made believe everything was better than it was, but when I was in the Middle East, I was very respectful of their customs. It’s very interesting because I love my character of Abdul, the butler. I love him because he never says anything about his sexuality, but he’s clearly been liberated by Samantha. Just the proximity to Samantha has made him bloom, but, as she says, he’s private. When I researched the movie in the Middle East, I didn’t ask about people because they’re all very private.
So you didn’t actually meet any gay Arabs like Abdul?
Well, I’m a good writer, so I can look at people and go, “See, here’s his story.” My own boyfriend tells me I’m crazy, because I make up shit. He’ll like, “What are you talking about? He’s the waiter.” I’m like, “Yeah, but I don’t think he’s happy right now.” [Laughs] So who knows what I’m laying on people through my eyes. It’s interesting, though, because in the Middle East you see a lot of men holding hands, but they’re just friends. I’ve always thought that holding hands was the most intimate thing because it’s almost past sexuality, so it’s very sweet to see these men having that much of a connection.
Noah Mills, the model-actor who plays one of Samantha’s boy toys in the new film, is already getting the same buzz Gilles Marini got for the first film. Do you pride yourself on being able to find Hollywood’s next top hunk?
I do have a really good casting sense for some reason. My theory is that there’s one guy only for these parts. You can see 15, and it’s just not him, and then Gilles Marini walks in. And I cast him before I saw him naked! When Noah walked in, I said, “Oh, if this guy can act!” And he’s a really good actor. When I put the camera on him, I was stunned how complicated and simple his acting was. I don’t know if he has any technique, but he’s a delight.
One could argue that you also discovered Twilight star and Calvin Klein underwear model Kellan Lutz.
I did! I often think that. Kellan Lutz and Malin Akerman were both in The Comeback. I take it as a compliment, and I’m not shy to say that I have a really good eye when it comes to casting. Every now and then, you just know, Oh, they’re going to be somebody.
And you showcase the best assets of your hot male actors in Sex and the City 2 with plenty of bulge and bare ass shots.
I love those scenes because that’s what we did with sex: We took it from being dark, oil-dipped, and shame-based to make it pink-y and champagne-y. What’s prettier than an ass and fireworks at the same time? Those bulges are also fun. But with this movie I also went out of my way to make sure there was eye candy for straight guys and lesbians, like Alice Eve as the nanny, who brings the female equivalent of the bulge.
It was recently announced that you’ll return to TV as part of a multiyear deal with Warner Bros. Television to oversee the development of new series. Do you have plans to represent the LGBT community in any projects?
My world contains gay people and straight people, so there will always be a harvest of sexuality in what I write. Whatever I come up with will be similar to what I like, which is vibrant emotion and vibrant colors together, so yeah, you’ll be there.