Being Miranda in Sex and the City? ‘I’m very proud of it’

He said he would write the script for A Quiet Passion and watch Sex and the City with the sound off. “That’s right. Wait until you hear what I’m about to say. She earlier played Eleanor Roosevelt. “My parents had gone to great lengths to explain that very few child actors make it when their time is up. The couple, who first met in high school, raised two children in relative calm. “It wasn’t a big deal to me,” she says calmly. She recently played Nancy Reagan in the TV movie Killing Reagan. The notion, still palpable in many contemporaneous shows, that women only had sex to oblige men was blown away. That’s one of the elite “Seven Sisters”. He wants me to play Pat.”

You couldn’t make it up. At mention of the 2015 referendum on marriage equality, Cynthia perks up and summons memories of hearing the news. But we rode it out and everybody calmed down. Nearly 30 years ago, she played Juliet in Central Park for the New York Shakespeare Festival. Nixon is endlessly articulate and well catered-for in terms of intellectual hinterland, but there is no hint of Miranda’s brittleness. “We had met when he auditioned me for a film that never got made. One can imagine her slipping comfortably into character roles as the years progress. Now 50, she first spoke a line for money when she was 12 years old. There was this notion that it was just a way of trapping men into marriage. I made enough money to pay for my own, very expensive college.”

Hang on. Nixon was never a tabloid target like SATC colleagues Kim Cattrall or Sarah Jessica Parker. But it stands up today.”

The renown has meant that details of Cynthia’s personal life have become public. That eccentric Liverpudlian loves being unaware of contemporary popular culture. You couldn’t make it up. Kirsten Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and and Kim Cattrall filming the Sex And The City movie in New York in 2007. For 15 years, she was in a relationship with Danny Mozes, a schoolteacher. But I had two offers when I graduated.”  

By the time I graduated from college, I had been working for 10 years and I was supporting myself

The only child of Anne Elizabeth Knoll, an actor, and Walter Nixon, a radio journalist, Nixon can be spotted in Prince of the City and Amadeus. We get the open-hearted, hopeful Emily in the surprisingly witty opening act. Didn’t she go to Barnard? Nixon is also cornering the market in first ladies. I was just thinking: ‘Great, something that’s shooting where I live.’”

The show was celebrated for offering shorthand representations of particular species of modern urban human. “In our case it was this idea that women are going about their lives and careers, having a great time of it and not sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring. “It was a big deal to other people for a while. It was so amazingly exciting. Isn’t it time she played Pat Nixon? Women now had a very different attitude to marriage. My wife and kids had come out the weekend when you guys voted. “Oh, I know all about it,” she laughs. Next week, we see her as Emily Dickinson – she really has a look of that poet – in Terence Davies’s excellent A Quiet Passion. They were still interested in it. “I think that’s right,” she laughs. There was this notion that it was just a way of trapping men into marriage. I wonder if Nixon, at first, ever imagined it would become such a sensation. We ended up celebrating in a gay bar in Antwerp. I think attitudes have changed.” 

Nowhere more so than in Ireland. “Well, you make a joke,” she says tolerantly. “I was always able to make a living. That was an enormous thing for us.”

Nixon has the sort of presence and flexibility that appeals to casting directors. I wonder if she ever resents the way Miranda hangs over her life. Huh? (Photo by Richard Corkery/Getty Images)

“No, I was just thrilled to find a TV series that shot in New York,” she says. Many were the magazines that asked: “Which Sex and the City character are you?” Miranda was the dry, intelligent cynic among the group. “No. Her performance as Dickinson stretches all her acting muscles. My understanding is that it would be cheaper to fund the space programme for three years. “I was in Belgium. A Quiet Passion opens on April 7th That’s arguable. He feels I look a lot like Emily. That’s gone.”

 Here we are talking about A Quiet Passion and Sex and the City still elbows its way to the table. It reflected the development of a richer, less grimy Manhattan. Cynthia Nixon and Jennifer Ehle in A Quiet Passion, Terence Davies’s excellent film about the poet Emily Dickinson

It is at this point that we finally mention she is best known for playing the sensible Miranda in Sex and the City. In the final sections, we see the despairing soul that watermarks the gloomier verse. “But Rod Lurie, who made the Reagan film, just phoned me up and told me he is making one about Nixon. That changed in 2003 when she broke up with Mozez and began a relationship with Christine Marinoni. It’s always been something I am very proud of. Huh? “There was Law and Order and The Cosby Show shooting there and that was about it. My wife had friends in Dublin who were involved in the fight. If it was Wheel of Fortune or something it would be different. He felt thoughts and feelings play across my face in a way that was right for the film.”

Sex and the City did not become a phenomenon overnight. Emerging in 1998, the show attracted much media attention, but it was not until the turn of the decade that it became a keystone of the zeitgeist. Ha ha! “I did go there,” she says. Cynthia Nixon has been slaving before the camera for longer than you might have guessed. It connected with underexplored notions of female friendship. Not at all. “Honestly, I never did stop,” she says in that elegant patrician timbre. By the time I graduated from college, I had been working for 10 years and I was supporting myself. But I see what he means. But I’m betting Davies barely knew the show existed. The media was abuzz. But they had a similar attitude to that which men had: it may happen; I would like that; but I’m in no hurry.” 

And there was also a new openness about female sexuality. That’s gone

“The thing about a successful, groundbreaking show is not that it creates something new; it is that it reflects something that hasn’t made its way into discourse yet,” she says.