The Sex and the City movie was supposed to come out ages ago. Remember? It should have started shooting shortly after the HBO series ended in 2004. But before fans could start planning their cosmo parties, the project went kaput when Kim Cattrall and HBO couldn't come to terms. So the cast and crew moved on. ''Once I let it go, I never thought about it,'' says Michael Patrick King, who exec-produced the series. The same went for Sarah Jessica Parker Parker...until spring 2006, when she decided it was time to try again. First she called her agent. Then King. Finally, after months of negotiations with the cast, in September 2007, Carrie Bradshaw and her trio of gal pals were back to teetering around New York City in fabulously vertiginous designer shoes. ''To be able to come back to this is thrilling, I gotta say,'' gushes Parker, who's also a producer. ''I can't believe we're here.''
Picking up four years after the series finale, the film finds the girls ''settled,'' as Parker puts it. ''They're in their early 40s and are feeling like, 'Yeah, this is pretty much where I had hoped [to be].''' No thanks to all those paparazzi photos and videos that flooded the Internet last fall, Parker and Co. have kept plot details on double-secret lockdown. But here's what we do know: Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) is dealing with a less-than-perfect married life in Brooklyn; Samantha (Cattrall) has moved to L.A.; Charlotte (Kristin Davis) gets pregnant; and Carrie is engaged to Mr. Big (Chris Noth). And aside from cryptically revealing that ''something really awful happens'' in the first act, that's all Parker's willing to spill. ''I would like there to be some surprise,'' she says. Besides, she adds with a straight face, ''I really can't tell you. I agreed to take a tablet that wipes out your short-term memory.'' (May 30)