Sarah Jessica Parker: Women are like cats, more independent
Sarah Jessica Parker is back with the second season of Divorce, and talks about marriage and change
Yes, we still are watching reruns of Sex and the City and can't see Sarah Jessica Parker as anyone other than Carrie, but she can easily be whoever you want her to be. In Divorce, Parker plays Frances Dufresne, a woman unhappily living with her husband and children. She finds courage and decides to start her life afresh and considers divorcing her husband. Also starring Thomas Haden Church, the show is all about the gritty tale of a disintegrating marriage with enough comic relief to keep it light-hearted. Excerpts from an interview.
A still from Divorce
What feedback did you get about this particular representation of marriage and divorce after season one?
SJP: I was surprised at how much people, liked it. I guess what I mean is, people were watching it with partners, they were watching it with their husbands. Some people weren't, some have said on Instagram: "I just can't. It's too painful, I don't want to see it, and it's not fun". But more often than that, I guess I was surprised by what people said — that they were watching it with their husbands or boyfriends.
Frances is just very clearly feeling her way into dating, and into what she does and doesn't want, whereas her husband is moving much faster...
SJP: I heard this is what men do. This is what I really have heard… I would say probably, particularly men who are accustomed to being in a relationship. And I'm sure it felt competitive for Frances all of a sudden, that somehow she had to find partnership too. But, I guess women are, perhaps, at the end of the day, more like cats. I mean, maybe, they're just simply more independent. Especially, I think women that have been independent in other ways and exhibited it in their life in other ways — it's easier. I can see that Thomas' character wouldn't want to be alone. That he would feel ill-equipped to be in the world and dating. He just wouldn't know how to do that, which he kind of says, but to be alone is…just not comfortable.
But when he begins dating seriously, Frances appears to see him in a new light. When she asks him what he thinks would happen if they met now. What do you think she suddenly sees again?
SJP: I think she finally sees him be a man, you know, he has this person in his life and you're seeing him exhibit things that were appealing once that had been dormant because his relationship with another woman suddenly highlights all the things that she'd forgotten about and dismissed. It's that old thing about seeing them through someone else's eyes. I was thinking about that even with seeing my husband through my children's eyes — how they look at him, when he walks in a room or sometimes even how your friends, or his friends, see him when they're together again. It's nice to be reminded by people who aren't in the boring, dreary, day to day, minutiae, of what a lot of marriage is when you have children.
You have talked about Esther Perel, who wrote Mating In Captivity. And she talks about how we're going to have several marriages in our lives — they could be with different people or with the same person, but you will change and the marriage has to change with it. Do you believe that marriage sort of has a shelf life in a way? And that it needs to evolve?
SJP: Yes, I think that's probably true. I mean, I think if you looked at successful marriages, my guess is you are, in citing her, probably right. I mean, that would probably be scientifically proven in some way because, they have to change, and you have to either verbally or intuit it that you are agreeing to the changes. That you both want the new environment and I think you can look at relationships that you know… you can see when people are still really enjoying each other's company, enjoying this particular part, this moment, this chapter, this period in their marriage. Oh, that was the museum era. I think they are created, probably out of necessity, and survival. And you either want to have five marriages from the one, or you want to have five new fresh ones.
We note that Frances didn't give Tinder much of a go. I don't blame her, but why does she hate it so much?
SJP: Yes. I was like, are we really going to do a dating app episode? If we only have eight episodes, I don't want to spend it doing a thing with a phone. I really don't. And I don't want to do tonnes of phone calls with phones. We already know the phone was playing a bigger part. And, I don't like phones. I don't like cell phones in movies and TV anymore. I used to like phone calls. You know proper phone calls. You didn't know who it was. So, I was against Tinder because I thought it was a waste of real estate. I didn't feel like that it was our shining moment.
Divorce premiered on Saturday, at 11 PM on Star World & Star World HD in India