Sarah Jessica Parker says her new show will be nothing like Sex and the City

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Moya Crockett
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When it was announced last year that Sarah Jessica Parker would be returning to our TV screens in a new show, cheers were heard around the world.

But anyone hoping for a rebooted version of Sex and the City – all glitz, sex, froth and frocks – should put those dreams on ice. Divorce is written by the brilliantly acerbic Irish writer-actress Sharon Horgan, whose cult British comedies Catastrophe and Pulling depict women’s lives as decidedly unglamorous. And rather than the whirlwind of dating, Divorce – as its title suggests – will focus on the messy reality of a marriage breaking down.

Parker will play Frances, a 50-something mother of two who realises that her long marriage is coming to an end. Over the weekend, she confirmed that Divorce will be a very different beast to SATC.

“Frances was her own person,” she said in an interview at the Television Critics Association’s press tour. “From the moment I read the pilot, she was so distinct not only from Carrie, but any character I’ve ever played.

“I don’t think that we actually talked a lot about trying to make her different,” she continued. “This story is different. I was always interested in the story of marriage. That’s how all this started. By virtue of that interest alone, it was automatically different.”

Parker, who has been married to Matthew Broderick for 19 years, said that she didn’t recognise much of herself in Frances. “I don’t relate to Frances, her life is different,” she said. “She’s a much more withholding, chilly person than I am, she’s not very buoyant… She can be mean and angry, but I love playing someone like that. I don’t need to relate to that.”

However, she did hint at one trait that Divorce will share with Sex and the City: the importance of fashion.    

““I really wanted to think about ’70s cinema,” she said. “Pretty much everything Frances wears is used, whether it’s from Etsy, vintage, or thrift shops along the northeast corridor [the US railway line that runs from Boston to Washington D.C.]. It’s a very specific idea about somebody who has an aesthetic that will be revealed more over the course of the season, but fashion doesn’t dictate.”

Thomas Haden Church (best known for his roles as Jack in Sideways and Sandman in Spider-Man 3) plays SJP’s fictional husband in Divorce, which is set to air on HBO in October. We can’t wait. 

Images: HBO, Getty