Love her or loathe her, Carrie Bradshaw is a TV icon. As she walks all over Manhattan in her expensive shoes and vintage creations, she finds love, loses love, then finds it again, never losing hope of finding the one. Whatever you think of the least open-minded sex columnist of all time, you cannot deny that Sarah Jessica Parker's performance as Carrie is a masterclass. She won copious awards across the six seasons of the beloved comedy drama, making Carrie entertaining, even when she wasn't being likeable, or sympathetic even when she was firmly in the wrong. And yet, in an alternate universe, Carrie isn't played by Sarah Jessica Parker. She is played Kristin Davis, aka Charlotte. Can you imagine?!
It may seem absurd to imagine the woman we came to see as the quintessential WASP - that's White, Anglo-Saxon Protestant, by the way - could have been the Cosmopolitan-swilling journalist, but it could have happened, as Darren Star - the show's creator - asked Kristin Davis to read for the part of the show's lead.
At the time, Sarah Jessica Parker was the top choice. She had a high profile, thanks to roles in films like Honeymoon In Vegas, Mars Attacks and 'Til There Was You. But she wasn't a done deal, and was apparently reluctant to commit to a show that held sex and sexuality at its core. So, while she pondered, the casting team got to work on a Plan B.
Kristin - who was then best known for US soap opera Melrose Place and a brief appearance in Seinfeld - was therefore approached with the script. As author Jennifer Keishin Armstrong explained in her book, Sex and the City and Us, the pages described Carrie as a woman with 'the body of Heather Locklear and the mind of Dorothy Parker.' Heather Locklear, for the young ones at the back, is an actress known for her striking beauty. She was then most known for her long stint in Melrose Place too, so Kristin would have been more than familiar with her work.
Kristin felt that this description just didn't fit hers. Instead, she was drawn to Charlotte, and asked to read for her instead. Darren allowed it, but warned her that the character wasn't destined to be a lead: as in the original book by Candace Bushnell, Charlotte was supposed to be more peripheral. Kristin didn't care: she was drawn to her sensibilities. And the rest is history!
It's not surprising that this happened. It's quite a regular occurrence in television. Did you know that Sarah Michelle Gellar auditioned to play Cordelia in Buffy the Vampire Slayer before she was cast as the eponymous heroine? Well, now you do. Really makes you wonder...