Sara Ramirez has been cast in the Sex & the City reboot, titled And Just Like That, and will play a non-binary character called Che Diaz.
Like the character, actor Ramirez, 45, also uses gender-neutral pronouns, and their character has been described as ‘a nonbinary, queer stand-up comedian who hosts a podcast on which Carrie Bradshaw is regularly featured.’
‘Che is a big presence with a big heart whose outrageous sense of humor and progressive, human overview of gender roles has made them and their podcast very popular,’ HBO Max added in a statement.
The casting news comes after it was reported that the reboot will feature at least three new black characters and a number of non-white writers working on the script in a call for more diversity on the HBO Max project.
New face: Sara Ramirez joins Sex & the City reboot as non-binary character Che Diaz… after Sarah Jessica Parker pushed for more diversity and ‘didn’t want all-white cast’ (Pictured 2019)
Ramirez – who came out as nonbinary last year – rose to fame for playing the Lady of the Lake role on in Monty Python’s Spamalot on Broadway in 2005, and won a Tony for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical.
The actor then became known for making history as the longest-running LGBTQ character on television, playing orthopedic surgeon Dr. Callie Torres on Grey’s Anatomy.
‘Everyone at ‘And Just Like That’ is beyond thrilled that a dynamically talented actor such as Sara Ramirez has joined the Sex and the City family,’ executive producer Michael Patrick King said in a statement.
‘Sara is a one-of-a-kind talent, equally at home with comedy and drama — and we feel excited and inspired to create this new character for the show.’
And Just Like That: Ramirez will play a ‘queer stand-up comedian who hosts a podcast on which Carrie Bradshaw is featured’ (the three remaining stars pictured, Kim Cattrall will not be included in the reboot)
The new series, titled And Just Like That, will not include Kim Cattrall reprising her iconic role as Samantha Jones, but a Monday report says there will be a host of new characters brought in.
TVLine reports that there are three black female characters that will be season regulars, expanding the social circle of the remaining players Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte, as star Sarah Jessica Parker and producer Michael Patrick King are pushing for a more diverse cast.
‘[EP Sarah Jessica Parker and King] are trying to tell an honest story about being a woman in her 50s in New York,’ HBO Max chief content officer Casey Bloys told TVLine of the new changes.
‘So it should all feel somewhat organic, and the friends that you have when you’re 30, you may not have when you’re 50.’
Broadway star: Sara Ramirez made a splash starring in Monty Python’s Spamalot as the Lady of the Lake on Broadway alongside Tim Curry in 2005
Prolific: The actor then became known for making history as the longest-running LGBTQ character on television, playing orthopedic surgeon Dr. Callie Torres on Grey’s Anatomy
Bloys added that Parker and King ‘didn’t want to tell a story with all-white writers or an all-white cast’ as ‘it’s not reflective of New York.’
She added: ‘So they are being very, very conscious about understanding that New York has to reflect the way New York looks today.’
King is returning as the main showrunner, but it was previously reported that he would be joined this time by non-white writers including comedian and author Samantha Irby, Rachna Fruchbom and Black Lightning writer Keli Goff.
The original HBO show – that spawned six seasons and two hit movies – had previously been criticized for its lack of diversity in both characters and in the writing team.
A call for more diversity: The Sex and the City reboot will feature three new black characters… as Sarah Jessica Parker ‘didn’t want to tell a story with an all-white cast’
Push for diversity: Sex and the City has been criticized in the past for its lack of diversity (Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson pictured above in the 2008 movie of the show)
Original line up: Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis and Sarah Jessica Parker will not be joined by Kim Cattrall in the revival of their hit show
Jamaican-American actress Sundra Oakley spoke in 2018 about her experience as one of the very few women of color to be featured on the TV series.
Oakley appeared in the season three episode ‘No Ifs, Ands, or Butts’ where she played the sister of a black music mogul, who Samantha is dating.
Playing the role of a famous chef, Oakley’s character arc sees her warning Samantha off her brother because he is black, and the episode has been accused of handling the topic of race clumsily.
‘When I was looking at it through the lens of 20-years-ago Sundra, I was happy to have this job and work on this fabulous show,’ she said in an interview. ‘[But] even a few years later… it’s like, oh man, why did it have to be that way? Why couldn’t it have been a different story?’
Meanwhile, HBO Max rep Bloys also explained the absence of Cattrall, though it is understood that she won’t be ‘killed off’ in the new series.
Bloys said: ‘Just as in real life, people come into your life, people leave. Friendships fade, and new friendships start. So I think it is all very indicative of the real stages, the actual stages of life.’