Sarah Jessica Parker Reflects on Frances’ Journey in Season 2
By Marissa Blanchard
HBO: In addition to acting in the series, you are also an executive producer: How did you develop the vision for Season 2?
Sarah Jessica Parker: We always wanted this to be the season of hope. The first season is about the battle of divorce; as storytellers and actors, and for the audience, we didn’t want to stay entrenched in the contention — it would be hard to find new, fresh stories.
Season 2 had to be about what comes next. We asked: How do you become a single person at this point in life? What is it like to consider how scary dating is and how much the world has changed since someone like Frances and Robert were single? We all agreed those were exciting places in which to begin this season.
HBO: How important was it to make the gallery a big part of Frances’ storyline this season?
Sarah Jessica Parker: Frances was an art history major and always imagined she would be working in the arts; when that didn’t happen for practical reasons, it felt like a huge sacrifice. The arts are obviously very competitive and it’s hard to make a name for yourself — it was important that if she was going to fight for changes in her life, part of that story be professional satisfaction.
HBO: Frances works so hard on Sylvia’s show in “Going, Going… Gone,” only to have Sylvia leave her to work with Skip. What did you think of Sylvia’s decision?
Sarah Jessica Parker: It’s real and it probably happens a lot in the art world. Sylvia has suffered a lot of disappointments, so the idea of placing her career in the hands of someone that doesn’t have a lot of experience, who can’t provide the opportunity or connections that people in New York City could provide, is intimidating.
It’s interesting to tee up so much hope and taste the success, and then to have it taken away. Frances needed to better understand herself as a business person, and the likelihood of what happened with Sylvia happening again is probably pretty high, but it’s nice for storytelling and it creates an interesting conflict for her. It’s better that Frances takes risks. To depict a woman trying to make bold choices and have the courage of her convictions — to create some independence for herself professionally, and learn how to rely on herself personally — felt like the better choice.
HBO: Can you speak to balancing the professional and personal relationship between Frances and Diane?
Sarah Jessica Parker: Money and friendships are really complicated, and while Frances needs financial and emotional support, she wants [Diane’s loan] to be a professional exchange because it feels better to not be beholden — especially to a friend.
In some ways, Diane has as much need to give the money as there is generosity in the exchange. There’s something expected in it that Frances doesn’t feel comfortable about. It’s their job to work it out, they are grown ups and have to have the ability to have those hard conversations — but even if you think you’re ready for them they still prove to be really painful, and people get hurt.
HBO: Frances attempts to get back into dating after Diane sets her up with Andrew. What do you think about how their relationship played out?
Sarah Jessica Parker: She feels like she’s not ready; she discovers that she shouldn’t be committing to one person. There’s a whole world of opportunity out there — personal and professional. That night is a surprise and she tries to get out of engaging, but he’s a good kind person and he draws her in. She learns a lot about who she is, and part of that process is sometimes discovering that you’re not really equipt to be certain things to people.