The Family Stone

SOUND BITES
Which director would you like to work with that you haven’t before? “There are so many. Ang Lee is an exciting moviemaker. Sam Mendes has such an interesting point of view, and then there’s Sofia Coppola.”

How do actors balance commerce and art? ” ‘The Family Stone’ was made on a modest budget, (the upcoming) ‘Failure to Launch’ was big-budget and ‘Spinning Into Butter’ was a tiny budget. While the bigger budgets are glamorous and luxurious, in some ways they’re harder. I hate to wait. You have stretches of time where you’re not working and it’s harder to maintain your energy.”

Up next: Romantic comedy “Failure to Launch,” indie “Spinning Into Butter” and David Mamet’s “Whistle”

Sarah Jessica Parker is perfectly OK with anyone who wants only to associate her with Carrie Bradshaw. She understands the attraction that the “Sex and the City” character held for many viewers and treasures that connection, but she’s quick to move on professionally from that iconic role.

But for fans who fall into the category of Carrie Forever, Parker’s perf in “The Family Stone” might make them believe she can fall for someone besides Big, or get by in something besides a pair of Jimmy Choo’s.

Parker plays Meredith, the talkative and neurotic bride-to-be of Dermot Mulroney, one of the five Stone children. Parents Diane Keaton and Craig T. Nelson have raised a wisecracking and unconventional bunch, and they’re all quick to get their hooks into Meredith.

“Everything about her struck me. She was a person I had never seen on paper before,” says Parker. “I thought she was delightfully different than Carrie Bradshaw, which is why I made that difficult decision to end the show and find a part like this. I wanted to find something as far away from that as possible.

“You don’t look for a specific role. My dream, if I dare to say it, is do things that are challenging and scary.”

The icy reception she encounters upon meeting the Stone clan would scare most anyone, and scribe-director Thomas Bezucha, who says he relates to Meredith more than any of the other characters in the film, worked closely with Parker to make sure her character wasn’t one-dimensional. “What I loved was what a wreck of a person she was: tender and complicated and not particularly likable. She lacked so many people skills and (had) no ability to read a room and navigate complicated situations.”

Prior to “Sex and the City,” Parker had established herself on the bigscreen, co-starring with Steve Martin in “L.A. Story,” Nicolas Cage in “Honeymoon in Vegas” and as the lead in “Miami Rhapsody.” Now that “Sex” has finished production and is finding a non-HBO audience in the syndie world, Parker is making movies a high priority and spending time with her family. “I’m in a little bit of a self-imposed sabbatical,” she says.

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