First there was HBO's Sex and the City, a pop-culture juggernaut that introduced an era of designer stilettos as foreplay. Next came the blockbuster film in 2008. Now, the sequel, which opened May 27. Among fans of all three, actor Jason Lewis -- who has played Jerry "Smith" Jerrod since season six of the series -- inspires a kind of breathless, can-anyone-be-this-hot? sort of disbelief. Lewis personifies sex on a show about sex. He's the one man who -- almost -- drives "try-sexual" Samantha Jones (she'll try anything once, her character says) to monogamy.
WebMD tracked down Lewis, 39, one sunny day in Venice, Calif., to explore the ins and outs of modern love, and to check in on the latest SATC2 drama and his role in it. He begs off sharing plotlines: "I hate reading spoilers!" Still, there are clues out there: The movie trailer depicts Carrie and company strolling across sand dunes. "All I'll say," hedges Lewis, "is that I did go on location, and the place has the most delicious dates."
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"Dates" as in fruit, WebMD asks? Not outings with local kohl-eyed beauties? "Right." He confirms the first guess, those iconic ocean-blue eyes lit with mischief. This tells SATC fans two things: Smith is indeed returning to the fab four's world, despite Samantha's much-debated speech that sent him packing in the first film. (More on this in a moment.) But what exactly these confirmed New York gals are doing in the Middle East, Lewis isn't saying.
Instead, WebMD chats him up about other pursuits. On paper, the actor seems to embody a Hollywood type: California boy turned male model turned sex symbol. But here's the surprise: He may be famous for doing love scenes, but in real life Lewis is ruled by many personal passions, some of them downright unexpected.
Playing "Smith" to Samantha
Before Lewis opens up about his love affair with the water, shares his latest creative and philanthropic endeavors, or offers advice for finding romance (even as a never-married man pushing the big 4-0), WebMD asks what he's learned about women by portraying Smith on SATC.
"A lot," he laughs. "When I first landed the role, I watched all five seasons back to back over one weekend. It was plenty to digest! But the show does what good storytelling is supposed to do: It offers a voice and a platform. And not just for women, or from a woman's point of view. … The biggest discrepancy I had with Smith was during the episode when he's downstairs listening to Samantha having sex with her ex-boyfriend. I was prepared to play it all pissed off, but the director was like, 'No, you need to be light and free and open.' And I was like, 'Huh? Why?' But Smith comes from a place where he simply wants to care for someone who's hurting. Sucks for me, though, because now women have certain expectations because of him. He's tough to live up to!"
What does Lewis make of Samantha's infamous kiss-off in the first film that set blogs ablaze last year? (For those who missed the movie, she broke up with Lewis' character with the following soliloquy: "I'm gonna say the one thing you aren't supposed to say: I love you. But I love me more. I've been in a relationship with myself for 49 years, and that's the one I need to work on.")