Flanked by an eye-staining sunbeam, Hollywood superstar Sarah Jessica Parker sashays into her ‘chocolate eclair’-infested (yum!) room at the Crown Casino in Melbourne, willing to talk about almost anything (sorry girls, no “Sex & the City 3” gossip); mainly though, the beautiful New Yorker wants to stump “I Don’t Know How She Does It”, an all-too-relatable new flick about a corporate high-flyer who struggles to keep the balance between her career and her adoring family. It’s a storyline, as you’ll appreciate, that the actress was familiar with.
But then, can’t most?
“I thought that it was really millions and millions of other womens’ story and that’s what was most compelling to me”, agrees Parker, who got her start playing bouncy parts in ’80s fluff like “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and “Footloose”. “I think just being a working mother that you do get know that particular kind of chaos, that sort of overwhelming, seemingly undoable day. It’s not unique to one person, it’s part of all of our lives”.
In the film, directed by Douglas McGrath, Parker’s character involuntarily puts her career first, ignoring her beloved husband and ‘mom’ missing children. That does happen, says the actress, but she’s been lucky enough to flight that scenario.
Parker, a mother of three, says she’s had a lot of support, largely from husband actor Matthew Broderick (“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, “Tower Heist”), but she knows a lot of women in that position don’t have that kind of bear back-up, and as a consequence do struggle to keep up the routine of being a good parent while maintaining a demanding career.
“I’m very cognisant of the fact that most working women in the world don’t have the financial resources I have and don’t have a community of people around them”, says the actress, now a bonafide star thanks to the success of the “Sex and the City” franchise. “A majority of working mothers are very much in it alone and it is a heroic endeavour every day how they accomplish the things they accomplish.”
The actress, who stars opposite Greg Kinnear, Kelsey Grammer and Pierce Brosnan in “I Don’t Know How She Does It”, was working by day on a film, running a production company and playing mother to three kids while film was rolling on the dramedy. Not surprisingly, she isn’t able to physically get about or dress as snazzily as her former alter-ego Carrie Bradshaw.
“I’ve left the house with bedroom slippers on, or food all over me that I didn’t know was there. The whole house sometimes looks like a crime scene. And sometimes [the kids] are little animals.”
Just because she’s a movie star doesn’t mean the actress can ignore who she is at home – or, for that matter, at the school canteen.
“It’s what’s expected, I’m a parent at the school”, says the 46-year-old. “There are no special privileges. There are many other people at the school who are far more interesting and important, but we all take our jobs as parents very seriously.”
– Ashleigh Hill-Buxton