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Living Large

From “Law and Order’s” Detective Mike Logan to “Sex and the City’s” Mr. Big, Chris Noth keeps stretching the boundaries of his acting career.
Marshall Fine
From the Print Edition:
Chris Noth, May/June 2010

(continued from page 2)

"I would love to play Sweeney Todd." He pauses, then tunefully rumbles a line from the dark Sondheim musical: "You are young/you will learn." He shakes his head with a sad smile: "I wish I could sing; I sing but no one wants to hear me."

Everyone, however, seems to want to write about him-at least that's how Noth feels some days. He has few kind words for the celebrity media culture he sees as taking over the world, or at least his part of the world.

Sitting in the booth at the Knickerbocker, he catches a glimpse of CNN on a TV in the nearby bar area and recalls a recent item he saw on TV: "It was on CNN, on the ticker under the picture, just recently: ‘Chris Noth hurt on set'," he says. "I couldn't believe they ran it because it wasn't true."

The story emanated, he believes, from an incident on the set of "The Good Wife" six months earlier. At a key moment in the pilot, Margulies had to slap Noth-the angry wife finally unloading on the betraying spouse.

"It was a big moment and she gave me good slaps," says Noth, himself the son of a journalist. "I think we did three takes and it left a little bit of a mark. And six months later I see it on the CNN ticker: ‘Chris Noth hurt on set.' How reliable is the news today if that's the news?

"Everyone is talking about the demise of newspapers. This is one good reason I hope it doesn't happen. I mean, it wasn't true-and it was six months later. It's so ridiculous the news that comes out. They absolutely say anything they want.

"I remember before we made the first Sex and the City movie. None of us thought it was going to happen because there were some legal issues. Someone asked me about it and I maybe said that it would be fun, if we make a movie, if we could go to Bali. The next thing I know, I'm reading that Chris Noth is holding out and holding up the Sex and the City movie until they go to Bali. It's just amazing to me, the fact that people can write anonymously, with no rules and none of the ethical considerations. I don't give a shit, except to have a laugh. But it's more of a signal that anything goes."

(A few weeks later, Noth pops up again, this time in a Huffington headline: "Snooki, Chris Noth OK After Glass Ceiling Shatters at Purim Party in NYC." To which Noth said in an e-mail: "I showed up at the behest of a couple of friends from Israel and left 10 minutes later. They call that news?")

The success of "Sex and the City"-and people's identification of Noth with his Mr. Big character-mean greater recognition on the streets. But, after 20 years in which he's been a regular TV presence in people's living rooms, Noth hasn't changed his approach to life as a New Yorker. He still rides the subway, still gets his own coffee at Starbucks, still walks the streets-more Mike Logan than Mr. Big, with no thought of holing up behind a curtain of celebrity privacy.

Yes, people recognize him, he says, but they're usually polite about it.

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