Miami International Film Festival

Sarah Jessica Parker remembers ‘Miami Rhapsody’

 

Sarah Jessica Parker was no novice when she starred in 1995’s Miami Rhapsody. The actress, who began performing when she was nine, had already been part of the ensemble cast of the 1980s sitcom Square Pegs, danced her way through a small role in Footloose and played the love interests of Nicolas Cage and Steve Martin in Honeymoon in Vegas and L.A. Story, respectively. But Rhapsody marked a critical turning point in her career: Here, finally, was a film in which all the other characters revolved around her.

Parker played a commitment-phobic woman who is reluctantly pushing ahead with her fiance toward marriage, only to discover everyone around her is committing adultery — even her mother ( Mia Farrow), who is sleeping with Antonio Banderas.

In one of the film’s most famous lines, Parker speculates: “I look at marriage the same way I look at Miami: It’s hot and stormy and sometimes a little dangerous — but if it’s so awful, then why is there so much traffic?” Written by David Frankel, who lived in Coconut Grove, the movie is as much a love letter to the city as it is a sophisticated comedy heavily influenced by Woody Allen.

Parker, who will be in Miami Friday to attend a retrospective screening of the film, said she hasn’t spent much time in South Florida since the movie was made.

“David emailed me and said, ‘I know it’s odd, because it’s the 18th anniversary of the movie, not 20 or 25, and you probably have other things going on.’ But I wrote back yes immediately. It’s not so much that I relish the idea of sitting in a room and talking about myself or watching myself onscreen. That’s something I have a particular allergy to. But making that movie was such a good experience, and it will allow me to spend a little time with David and talk about a time in my life that was very fulfilling and happy.”

Parker was 29 when she made Miami Rhapsody, another factor that contributed to the fun she had on the set.

“None of us at that time had kids or marriages, so we were able to really be on that set and not feel like we were neglecting anything at home,” she says. “It was one of those times of your life that couldn’t have happened at another time. And because David knows Miami so well, it gave the movie such an authentic feel. I particularly loved eating Cuban food every day. There is so much good food in Miami. The language was an issue for Antonio, because it was one of his first films in English — I think he had only done Interview with the Vampire and Philadelphia at the time — but he was very bright and extremely charming and so much fun to be around. He worked so hard to sound and feel comfortable with the words, because there’s a rhythm to the way David writes, and we all wanted to be in the same musical together.”

. Sarah Jessica Parker, Carla Gugino, Jeremy Piven and director David Frankel are scheduled to attend a cast reunion and party for “Miami Rhapsody” as part of the Miami International Film Festival’s 30-year retrospective celebration, presented by Miami Dade College. The movie will screen at 7 p.m. Friday at the Tower Theater, 1508 SW Eighth St., followed by a party at 9 p.m. at the Coral Gables Country Club, 997 North Greenway Drive. Tickets are $130 and include admission to the screening and party. Visit www.miamifilmfestival.com or call 305-237-3456.

Rene Rodriguez

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Miami Herald

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