Sarah Jessica Parker is reasserting her dominance over the television screen with her newest comedy, HBO’s Divorce, but it wasn’t always her plan to take an on-screen role. Sarah has always been on board with Divorce, but, through the four years Ms. Parker spent developing the series, she had just assumed another actress would be taking on the role of Divorce’s Frances. Now, as Parker makes another lasting impression with Divorce audiences, she opens up about the reason she decided to take a more visible role in the new comedy.
Divorce Star Sarah Jessica Parker Dishes On Returning To Series Television
Sarah Jessica Parker never planned to star in Divorce, because, although she was interested in the concept of exploring marriage in a contemporary setting, she didn’t feel that the lead role was her kind of character. As Sarah pursued the development of Divorce and created the Frances character, she found the idea of playing the Divorce role more and more compelling. Parker eventually realized that playing Frances would give her a better perspective in the issues she found so interesting.
Parker says Divorce presented a way to explore situations in which people consider the options of ending a marriage, finding love outside of the relationship, or sticking to their vows. In some cases, marriages are destroyed, but Parker points out that some marriages do survive and the family becomes stronger in the end.
“All those are possibilities and that’s what’s interesting about these relationships — whether they’re in the traditional sense committed by marriage or just long-term commitments — means there’s something substantive that is going to be very painful to undo,” says Parker.
Sarah’s role in Divorce is that of a woman who is very unhappy with her marriage and seeking a way out, hoping to get away from husband Robert, who is played by Thomas Haden Church.
“He was my first choice for this and he had far exceeded what I’d hoped,” Parker said. “I feel so lucky. I’ve had a string of fantastic leading men. And he really just joins a fraternity.”
Sarah Jessica Parker Didn’t Like Sex And The City‘s Carrie Bradshaw Either
Divorce wasn’t the only series to present Sarah Jessica Parker with a challenge. Parker didn’t want to stick with her Sex and the City role either, but, in this case, she had more practical reasons for wanting to distance herself from Carrie Bradshaw. Ms. Parker says she did the pilot episode for the series, but never expected it to change the course of her career. When the network fell in love with the Sex and the City pilot, Parker says everything changed.
Suddenly, Sarah was faced with signing on for a long running series that would tie her down, but, at that point in her career, Ms. Parker wanted to continue working in films and in plays. Television wasn’t even on Sarah’s radar.
“I met my agents in L.A. — Kevin Huvane — and I was like, ‘Do you think maybe I could not do this now?’ Because I wanted to keep doing a play and doing a movie and doing a play,” recalls Ms. Parker. “So the way I thought it was going to change my life was that it was going to like hold me hostage to a commitment.”
In the end, Sarah met with network executives and expressed her concerns. She says they were eager to have her on board for Sex and the City, but only for as long as she had an interest in the series. Parker ended up playing Carrie Bradshaw for six seasons of Sex and the City and in two films.
The next episode of Divorce airs Sunday night on HBO.
[Featured Image by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images]