Ms. Parker and the Vicious Schedule: Writers Wonder About HBO Princess’s Focus

If you ask Manhattan’s female authors—specifically of the urban chick-lit genre—whom they would want to option their novels, the answer is often Sarah Jessica Parker. They would also like her to produce the film adaptation, star in it, and maybe even have a say in the wardrobe, if she has a spare moment. This has made Ms. Parker, 44, very busy.

Currently in development at her production company, Pretty Matches, is The Washingtonienne, an HBO comedy series about the lives of three 20-something women working on Capital Hill, based on Jessica Cutler’s naughty novel of the same title; The Late Bloomer’s Revolution, a film adaptation of Amy Cohen’s memoir about how she and her father both entered the dating world after the death of her mother; and a Project Runway–style art competition picked up by Bravo a year ago. Just last month, Pretty Matches also optioned Amy Sohn’s novel, Prospect Park West, about child-rearing and sex among the Park Slope mommy tribe, for a half-hour HBO series.

Having Ms. Parker option your book has become a badge of honor. But as the acquistions mount, it’s easy to wonder whether a woman who has just had twins through a surrogate and is about to begin shooting the sequel to the Sex and the City movie will ever get around to seeing your project through. 

“People are always like, ‘Oh my God, look! She bought something else,’” said Ms. Cohen who, like Sex and the City’s Candace Bushnell, was formerly a contributor to this newspaper. “I’ll get an email about it and like I. Don’t. Want. To. Know. That. It’s so easy to just get skittish and nervous.”

Last Ms. Cohen heard, Amy Sherman-Palladino (Gilmore Girls) had written a draft of the screenplay. “I’m hoping they’re having lots of meetings. I saw Amy two months ago, and I sort of just want to be excited and encouraging, but I don’t want to be that person who’s like, ‘Where is it?!’” said Ms. Cohen. “I think it will just get made when it gets made and there’s nothing you can say.”

She is hopeful that the memoir’s being set in New York will work to her advantage since Ms. Parker will be able to be close to her family during filming. “So I’m just trying to be positive.”

About a year ago, Ms. Parker also signed on to star in Warner Bros.’ The Ivy Chronicles (still in development), based on Karen Quinn’s book about an uptown mother who starts a business helping parents get their children into elite kindergarten programs. Reached on vacation in Prague, Ms. Quinn said she was unaware of the state of her project, but had heard that Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada) was making progress on the screenplay. “Not long ago, I got word that they were still working on it. I just don’t know exactly where it is right now,” said Ms. Quinn. “She’s doing a lot and she’s got two new children, but she seems to juggle so much and I am very hopeful. But again, I don’t know because she is doing so many projects and one never knows until they start filming that it will get made.”

In an email, Ms. Sohn confirmed that she will write the screenplay for the adaptation of her novel, but refused to elaborate. The Washingtonienne was cast and a pilot was shot last year, but the show’s producers have decided to reshoot, according to Sue Naegle, the head of programming at HBO; and the Bravo art show held auditions in July, but according to the network, there is no tentative air date as of yet. (Ms. Parker and her production company declined to comment for this article.)

Ms. Naegle told the Transom we can expect The Washingtonienne sometime in 2011. “We do things when they’re ready,” she said. Asked if Ms. Parker seemed overextended, she said: “I don’t think so at all. They’re very exacting and picky with projects. Ms. Naegle had just come out of a meeting with Alison Benson, Ms. Parker’s partner in Pretty Matches, who was there to pitch yet another show: a family series.

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