Sarah Jessica Parker wants to send a message loud and clear: Don’t expect her new HBO show Divorce to be anything like Sex and the City (other than the fact that she’s in it, of course). We sat down with the actress on Monday at the preview for Jordache jeans—she is the new face for the brand—to get the scoop on the new series. “I’m excited by this show,” she told us. “It’s not purposefully different [than Sex and the City], it just is as different as it can be because the story we’re telling is so different.” Little is known about it, but this is what she was able to tell us so far:
1. Her character, Frances, is a very different kind of woman than Carrie Bradshaw.
“The character I play isn’t intending to pursue a divorce, but something catastrophic happens in the pilot episode that allows her to reveal to her husband how she really feels in this marriage after putting in a lot of work to try to feel better about it.”
2. It’s not a show about New York City, like SATC was.
“New York plays a teeny, tiny role. My character works in the city and she is a commuter. But it’s a different city than the city I portrayed in that other HBO show I was on [laughs]. The show mostly takes place in Hastings-on-Hudson in Westchester. It’s not really a New York show, but it is a New York show because I am a commuter and commuters live in New York. The Metro North plays a big part. But in terms of New York City, thus far, in the pilot, we only shot briefly in Harlem.”
3. There will not be grandiose observations about love at the end of every episode.
“I don’t think we’re aiming to tell the story that way. There’s no moral or morality or summing up every week. It’s a much more achiever story than Sex and the City was. It’s a much more [John] Updike-like achiever story, and a story you’d read in American novels and short stories about marriages and commuter towns. It looks like that, too. It’s shot in the winter with ice floating down the Hudson River behind us. It’s a much different way of storytelling.”
4. It will make a statement on the institution of marriage, for sure.
“This is a project that I’ve been developing at my company for a number of years now. Marriage, as a landscape, is a very interesting subject. It’s rich. And it offers so many stories. There are so many experiences attached to people’s relationships, especially marriage and children. I’m interested in relationships and the complexities of relationships, especially in this one because a child is involved and that makes it all the more interesting. Also, people make mistakes and how that plays into how they deal with one another. All of that is really interesting.
5. There will be a focus on the different scenarios of divorce.
“People have all sorts of very different experiences in divorce. It’s awful and it’s painful and it’s hilarious. It’s like death to some and it’s like liberation to others. So there’s a lot to say on the subject.”
Excited? Same here. Divorce co-stars Molly Shannon, Thomas Hayden Church, and Talia Balsam. It will premiere on HBO. No air date has been announced yet.