Alec Baldwin was almost Mr. Big. Sex and the City creator Darren Star told Entertainment Weekly that he had originally hoped to cast Baldwin in the role of Carrie Bradshaw’s on-and-off love on his HBO hit series.
“I was thinking of Alec Baldwin for Big [in Sex and the City] initially.”
At the time, Alec Baldwin was a big box office name and a movie heartthrob, with films like The Hunt For Red October and Miami Blue under this belt.
While Alec would have been amazing as Mr. Big, Star had a change of tune when he met Chris Noth, who starred on Law & Order at the time. And it sounds like Alec’s Big would have been very different because the final product was much more like the real Noth.
“I don’t really watch Law & Order, but I met with Chris Noth and thought he was perfect. I remember the first table read, how good he was. I’m not saying that Chris was Mr. Big, but he brought a lot of his own persona to the role.”
If you think it’s hard to image Alec Baldwin as Sarah Jessica Parker’s iconic love interest on Sex and the City, try wrapping your brain around Aidan Quinn as Carrie’s furniture making beau Aidan Shaw.
Star said he was originally thinking of Quinn to play Aidan, and while the actor wasn’t available and it didn’t work out, he kept Quinn’s first name for the character.
“We initially were thinking about Aidan Quinn for Aidan, but I think he wasn’t available. I loved John Corbett in Northern Exposure, and we were like, ‘Well, what’s John Corbett been up to?’ He just had the laconic, dude-ish vibe. But we kept ‘Aidan’ because we loved the name.”
And if you think Parker was a shoe-in (pun intended) for the lead on the HBO hit, think again. In addition to Alec Baldwin and Aidan Quinn, actress Lisa Edelstein told Access Hollywood that she was originally considered for a role on SATC—as Carrie Bradshaw! But it was only contingent on Parker’s decision to take the role or not.
“I was either going to do it or not. It all depended on whether she said yes. My contract was complete… I was waiting.”
While Edelstein went on to star in Fox’s medical drama House, her near brush with SATC—and SJP’s subsequent success on the show—made it too hard for her to tune in to watch. Edelstein said it was “too painful.” In another casting twist, Darren has also gone on record as saying that Kim Cattrall, who played PR guru Samantha Jones on SATC, was actually a replacement for younger actress Lou Thornton.
In the end, the casting worked out for everybody. Alec Baldwin went on to win two Emmy Awards and three Golden Globes for his role as Jack Donaghy on 30 Rock, and Noth nailed his role as big businessman Big, whom we later found out was named John. (We still never call him that, though.)
Incidentally, even if Baldwin had taken on the role, Star may not have agreed with the character’s final act on the HBO series. In an interview posted on Kindle Singles, Star revealed that he didn’t pen the final episodes of SATC and that he allowed his team of writers to follow their own vision for the series finale. But Star clearly didn’t like how Big tracked Carrie down in Paris to tell her that she was “the one,” and he even thought it was a bit of a “betrayal” to what the series was about.
“I think the show ultimately betrayed what it was about, which was that women don’t ultimately find happiness from marriage…At the end, it became a conventional romantic comedy.”
Take a look at the video below to see the Carrie and Big’s biggest breakup from the Sex and the City movie.
[Photo By Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images]