With no way to keep onlookers and paparazzi from leaking spoilers on the Internet, King dreamed up a defense strategy. The cast would simply start the rumor that certain published photos, like the one in which a very pregnant Charlotte reads Mr. Big the riot act, were nothing more than dream sequences. ''Almost every scene we shot,'' Parker explains, ''especially when there were a lot of extras around, I'd say, 'This is one crazy dream sequence!''' According to Davis, 43, ''we were like, 'Hmm, okay, we'll go with that.' But then after a while, you feel guilty.'' For the record, the heated encounter between Charlotte and Big was no reverie. And, contrary to what the trailer and recent chatter might have you believe, Carrie's true love does not die. ''Why would I kill Mr. Big?'' King says, shaking his head. ''I'd be chased down the street with sticks!''
On an overcast day in April, three months after wrapping production, King takes a seat in a Manhattan coffee shop, his hands wrapped around a steaming cup of black tea. At long last, the Sex and the City movie is nearly complete. Neither the recent writers' strike, nor the bombshell announcement in February that Warner Bros. would absorb New Line, could throw the tough little picture off course. King even convinced the corporate suits to approve a run time of ''two hours and 15 delicious minutes,'' which he knows is on the long side for a romantic comedy. ''At one point I said, 'Let's call it There Will Be Shoes.''' He needs all those minutes, he says, because the movie juggles story lines for four different women. And, jokes King, ''ladies take longer.''
Will those ladies get a happy ending at the box office? The Sex and the City series revolutionized television, proving that shows starring actresses over 30 can indeed appeal to the masses. (Desperate Housewives, you may now kiss Lady Bradshaw's ring.) The cineplex, on the other hand, has been slower to catch up. But based on the prerelease buzz and the summer's glut of dude-friendly superhero flicks, from Iron Man to Batman Sex is poised to be a profitable (and glamorous) stroke of counterprogramming. ''There's a lot at stake for me personally,'' says Parker. ''I want it to do well, but the bigger story for me here is that I want the people who hold the purse strings to believe that there are female audiences, that it's worth their money.'' If it's a hit, King isn't ruling out a sequel but for now, he'd rather take it one cosmo at a time. ''I just hope people think, 'Ahhh, it's nice to see the girls again.'''
More dish on the Sex and the City movie:
Sex and the City: Four portraits of the leading ladies
Sex and the City: Six writers explore different ways of looking at Carrie Bradshaw
Sex and the City: EW's Season 1 Episode Guide