Sarah Jessica Parker On Motherhood, Guns and Hugh Grant

The Morgans star on Hugh Grant, her militant life as Mom, and movies women want.

By Patti Greco
Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant at the NYC premiere of their new film, "Did You Hear About the Morgans?".
Photograph: Photo by: Sylvain Gaboury/PR Photos

In her new romp, Did You Hear About the Morgans?, Sarah Jessica Parker plays a New York City real estate agent who is sent to small-town Wyoming under the witness protection program. The romantic-comedy wrinkle: She’s forced to relocate with her estranged husband (Hugh Grant), who witnessed the same crime she did. And so begins the story of a high-powered urban couple forced to survive in the sticks, where they grapple with things like silence, bears, guns and their relationship.
At a press event following the New York premiere of the film this week, Parker was sure to point out how she’s different from her character, Meryl, despite the fact that Parker herself is a Big Apple resident. "Meryl is supposed to be a New Yorker who only leaves kicking and screaming," she says. "I have far more curiosity than she does." In fact, she adds later, traveling is a priority for her family (she and husband Matthew Broderick have a seven-year-old son, James Wilkie, and twin daughters, Tabitha and Marion, born with the help of a surrogate this summer). "We really like going to places where we are in the minority, where we are fish out of water," she says. "It’s what we should all want to feel and be and experience." That said, the twins haven’t jet-setted yet (they’re too young to get the necessary H1N1 vaccine) and it’s probably best that way: Just leaving the house calls for "so much organization and advanced planning," Parker says. It’s "like a military operation." 
Albeit a military operation without armor: Parker, who had to shoot a gun for The Morgans, says she hated the experience. “I don’t think it’s funny, I didn’t enjoy it, it wasn’t something I wanted to write in my journal about—I don’t have a journal, but—I don’t like guns.” So what did she like? Working with Hugh Grant. “I will do anything with Hugh for the rest of my life,” she says. “I will swing from trees.”
Despite the high praise from his costar, Grant is rather self-deprecating when fielding questions himself. “I’m a very limited actor,” he says of why he does romantic comedies so often. “I can only do a certain tone, really. And not many people write in that tone, and when they do it tends to be romantic comedies.” But he’s at least tapping into his sensitive side: “I’m getting more romantic,” he says. “I’m getting softer. I spent the first 40 years of my life almost never crying, except for when I was a baby. Since I’ve been 40 I’ve done almost nothing but cry. Everything makes me cry.”
After wrapping her promotional tour for The Morgans, Parker will go back to filming the sequel to Sex and the City, which is already generating huge buzz. More proof that women-centric movies can be a success? We’ll have to wait until it hits theaters in May 2010 to know for sure. But, meantime, Parker says one thing is certain: “Women want to go to the movies. They’re a huge part of the population. They want to be entertained, they want to read good books, they want to experience good stories—but you have to make it for them. You can’t count them out because they’re not going to see Transformers. They want to see movies about their lives or a life that’s familiar . . . I think it’s foolish for us to not really mine that territory, for good business reasons, nevermind what it does for our souls.”

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