INTERVIEW: Cynthia Nixon on Eating Food Out of the Garbage, Miranda in California and… A Third Series of And Just Like That??

It’s one of the most talked about shows in yonks, and to celebrate the launch of season 2 of And Just Like That we’re hearing from another one of the lead stars: Cynthia Nixon.

Cynthia – who is now also an executive producer on the show – has been through a plethora of ups and downs with her character, Miranda. And the rollercoaster ride hasn’t finished yet, with Miranda now being almost unrecognisable from the character we first met 25 years ago on Sex and the City.

Here’s what Cynthia had to say about Miranda’s ever-changing life, plus her favourite memories from SATC and… how she feels about the idea of a third season:

As season two kicks off, where is Miranda now?
When we saw Miranda at the end of season one, she had dyed her hair back to red, and she had passed on her very hard-to-get, sought-after internship in favour of love, in favour of following Che out to LA. So that’s where we pick her up – with her red hair and her new California lifestyle. She’s almost on a euphoric high, I would say.

How was it going back to the red hair?
It was funny because people often recognise me on the street but, once I had coloured my hair red, it was like everybody recognised me on the street! But also a sweet thing that I hadn’t really thought about: our youngest child is 12 and he has red hair. And he never knew me as a redhead. And my wife has red hair. Our other kids are out of the house now, so we were this little redheaded family for seven or eight months, so that was really fun.

Were you tempted to keep it?
It’s so much work. So much work. You would not think it would be so high maintenance, but it really is.

How did it feel to be outside of New York as Miranda?
What we’ve done for Miranda is take her out of every comfort zone she knows. Being a corporate lawyer, being married, being a student, being a New Yorker, even being the dominant person in a relationship. Now she’s going out with somebody who’s famous and a mover and a shaker, and Miranda’s never had that. California is part and parcel of that because it’s ostensibly a very laid back place: health food and ecology… these are not really Miranda’s things.

She’s arguably changed the most out of all the characters.
I think so, yeah.

How is she coping with that change?
She was asleep for a long time. And she woke up. And she’s so grateful to have woken up. She was married to a guy who really embraced their life being completely predictable and completely domestic. Everything was comfortable, and nothing was new. And she tried for a really long time to go along with that because she didn’t want to hurt him. So she can’t believe her good fortune that, actually, she wasn’t trapped. She could open the door and walk out.

So now life is throwing all these things at her that she doesn’t know about, or maybe isn’t so good at. And that’s great! Because they always say, if you want to keep your brain active as you get older, you should learn a foreign language, even though that’s very difficult. Or, if you’re right handed, try using your left hand exclusively. Try walking backwards. All these things that don’t feel great because you don’t do them well are actually the things that open up the pathways in the brain, and that’s what keeps you sharp. Staying sharp and discovering new things really matters to Miranda.

Do you feel like you’ve learned anything from her?
Yes, I totally do. I started playing her when I was 31. She has a lot of confidence, but it’s a little built on sand. But her bravado taught me to be a bit more bold and outspoken.

What do you think it is about the show and these characters that really speaks to people?
It’s a lot of things. The writing is very good, that’s the first thing. It’s also beautiful to look at, in terms of the clothes and the lighting and all that. But I also think, in the original series, it was about how you could be a single woman in your 30s and not be desperate to get married. And that was something that was happening all over America, but television hadn’t caught up with it yet.

The television shows that really break through show something that’s happening on the ground, but culture hasn’t noticed yet. Culture was still telling the old narrative. But these women had careers, they were paying their own bills, they were interested in sex and men and romance, but on their own terms. It exploded the idea of the virgin-whore division, right? You’re either a nice girl or you have a lot of sex; not both. These are really nice girls and, yeah, they have a lot of sex. And they’re not too shy to speak about it, frankly. There wasn’t a show about a group of women who were friends, and they were at the centre of it. And now, with the new show, there’s not really a show like this: about a diverse group of women, mostly in their 50s, living life. And the title is really instructive.

One of the major themes of the new series is how quickly things can change, on a dime, when you least expect it. Big dies and it’s horrific and, all of a sudden, you’re a widow and you’ve lost your soulmate. Or things change for the better: one day you quit your corporate law job and you say, I want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. And I don’t know what’s coming next, but I know I’m done with that old life.

In terms of the writers’ room, do you get to be involved at all?
No, no, no. We’re very devoted to our writers, and also our producers. And there’s always at least one, often three or four, on the set at any given time. Minding the store, but also being there as a resource for us. In the old series, there were outlandish sexual situations, right? But they were all based in truth. They were all based on something that had happened to one of the writers, or it happened to someone she directly knew. So it’s both larger than life but also completely based on our writers’ firsthand experience. It’s writ large on a canvas, but its roots are deep. That’s what makes it so compelling.

Do you have any favourite moments of Miranda’s?
Oh my God. I mean, Miranda eating takeout of the garbage was so fantastic. And Miranda’s panic attack in season two of Sex and The City. Because she’s so strong and so accomplished and impressive. And she was making this big step of buying this apartment on her own, and she felt great about it but, also, she had a panic attack about: what does this mean? Does this mean I’m going to always be alone? Will I always live alone and die alone?

And also the fights! Miranda’s fight with Carrie about Petrovsky. Or Miranda’s fight with Charlotte about Charlotte deciding to quit her job and try to get pregnant. Miranda was so disappointed. I love those things because it is really about supporting and loving each other, but sometimes that means having a knock-down, drag-out fight and really being mad at each other for a while.

Can you see another series of And Just Like That…?
I totally can. I would. There are some big things that happen all through season two, but particularly at the end of season two. I very much hope that there would be a third season because so much of season one was taken up with introducing all these new characters, and figuring out how everybody was going to relate with each other and be together in this world. And I feel like, with season two, we really hit the ground running. We’re just finding our stride, so having a third season would be really great.

And Just Like That… is available to screen on Neon now

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