Women's Impact Report: Defying Convention

Possibly no one was more surprised at the socko response to the movie “Sex and the City” than its star, producer and single biggest cheerleader, Sarah Jessica Parker. The multihyphenate ignored the chatter pegging “Sex” as a one-quadrant draw that had passed its expiration date. Nevertheless, she imposed a press blackout for herself opening weekend. “I wasn’t going to pay attention to the numbers because what good would it do? I knew what our budget was and what we had to make back,” she says.

By 9:45 a.m. that Friday, her phone was ringing — the “chick flick” had morphed into an “event” pic and was on a pace to rake in $57 million over its first three days.

So, will there be a sequel? Parker says she and director-writer Michael Patrick King have engaged in “limited conversations” about it. They will “if there’s a story to tell that is worth asking people to leave their homes for,” she says. Given a B.O. cume of $356 million worldwide so far, industry buzz predicts more “Sex.”

“There’s always a sense of urgency to work and not to say no to people,” she says about future prospects. “I’m trying not to get caught up too much in that.”

Parker’s shingle, Pretty Matches Prods., has several shows in development at HBO along with a couple of planned movies. And she has just committed to Warner Bros.’ “The Ivy Chronicles,” based on Karen Quinn’s novel about an Upper East Side New Yorker who, in the wake of a divorce and the loss of her high-powered job, must make ends meet under more modest circumstances.

As for “chick flicks,” Parker finds the label misleading. “I remember growing up, I went to see Jill Clayburgh and Diane Keaton and Goldie Hawn and all these movies that had women in them, and I don’t recall them being called ‘chick flicks,’ ” she says, “I guess because I grew up thinking there was no compartmentalizing.” 

Role model: “My mother, mostly because she was very smart and clever about raising eight kids with not a great amount of money and figuring out the best ways to expose us to art and culture. That made up for a lot of other things we didn’t have.”

Three things in life I can’t do without: “My friends and family, being close to lots of food choices, New York City.”

What I’m reading now: A biography of Coco Chanel; up next: “Apples and Oranges” by Marie Brenner

Fave leisure activity: “I really like reading on the subway because the odds of being interrupted are very little.”

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