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Sixty Seconds with Sarah Jessica Parker

PICTURE: REX

The Sex and the City star, 53, talks singing on screen, selling shoes and her son’s football heroes

In the film Here And Now, we spend 24 hours with your character, Vivienne, after she learns she has a brain tumour. Was this one of your toughest challenges as an actress?

Probably. It’s such an emotional part it required me to be able to access that all the time. There’s just so much sadness, so much physical tears, which you can’t rely on. I’m not a machine but I wanted everybody to feel her isolation, her loneliness, her fear, her regret and this solitude, this secret. So it was in many ways the most challenging. But it was also in many ways the easiest.

You also sing on screen. How did that feel?

Well, I didn’t train as a singer but I grew up in a house with music, meaning we had a record player. We all sang a lot. We didn’t have a television. When I came to New York, I auditioned for Annie on Broadway and I was cast, and then I took over and played the role of Annie for a year, so I sang. I’ve done two or three musicals on Broadway and sang with the Metropolitan Opera Chorus but I didn’t really train. I sang on Glee — but it’s not something I’ve been paying attention to. I wasn’t nervous about it but I was excited. It was a great experience.

Renée Zellweger pops up in the film. Is she an old friend?

She’s somebody I’ve known for a long time. We’re not super-close friends but she’s someone I like and our paths have crossed socially. We just thought it was a crazy idea, a crazy dream, but maybe she’ll do it. And like everybody else…every single person we asked said yes right away.

What research did you do into the illness side of things?

Well, I unfortunately lost a very dear friend to that, totally coincidentally. I watched her — and it was 14 months, just like they say. I talked to a lot of doctors. I was pretty familiar with its aggressive nature and what it did to my friend, and how her body responded.

Crossed paths: Renée Zellweger

Do you feel there are better roles for women now?

It’s always a mixed bag. There are so many platforms for distribution, there is so much product. So there are more roles for women now. I’m not sure I’m equipped to speak to the quality across the board. My fervent hope is that the quality of parts will get better because we’re having the conversation that it’s necessary. But I think it’s not just about a feminist call-to-arms, it’s humanist…it’s about the LGBTQ community. We have to do better by everybody.

Sex And The City is still so beloved. Does that amaze you?

I think I’m past amazement. It’s more about gratitude and just recognising all the privilege that has come from it. The connection to an audience — that’s all we want as actors. Anything you produce, you want either read or heard or seen or felt. So I think it’s more so the gratitude I feel for being connected to it and associated with it in any way… it feels like very good fortune.

You’re also involved in a shoe company, SJP By Sarah Jessica Parker. How’s it going?

With my [business] partner, George Malkemus III, we’re in our fifth year now, and we’re growing. We’re all over the world, and our shoes are handmade in Italy. I’m involved in it every day, going over every detail, because there are only two of us.

Cohort: Husband Matthew Broderick

You’re also in the fragrance business and even have your own publishing imprint. Did you always want to have this multi-stranded career?

No, I didn’t know that was a possibility, I didn’t know one could ponder those things. I think of all the people who — if the world had been different — would’ve done as much. It’s just now the world allows you — if you’re curious enough, you can explore that curiosity, you can scratch that itch. So be as informed as possible, and listen and learn. That’s what I try to do.

What about acting with your husband, Matthew Broderick, again — anything on the horizon?

We have been considering one [project] lately!

You posted a picture of World Cup finalists Kylian Mbappé and Luka Modric on your Instagram page. Does this mean you’re a big football fan?

It means my son is! And we’ve all learned an enormous amount about football in our house. He found the 2018 World Cup particularly touching. He was very wrapped up in the human side of that story. He had been following Croatia and had been very moved by their success and, in particular, that gentleman [Modric]. He really did think that was the finest example of what it means to be a big sport. Real sportsmanship. And that is hard to do for anybody. He was very taken and we were all swept up in his excitement and his heartbreak and his interest in the wonderful human drama of it.

Here And Now is available on digital download from February 25