Mr. Big didn’t have a name until the final moments of Sex and the City. Fans long imagined that the writers had a name in mind when they were writing the fictional character, but as it turns out, that wasn’t the case. In fact, John James Preston would have remained unnamed if some of the team had their way. If Mr. Big wasn’t known to writers by his real name, how did they deal with moments when the Mr. Big moniker just wouldn’t do? Well, one crew member used a placeholder name for Mr. Big that had Sarah Jessica Parker laughing out loud. In his engagement party invitation, Mr. Big was named Boris.
Mr. Big was referred to as Boris in his engagement party invitation
In season 2, Carrie Bradshaw learns that Mr. Big will be marrying his 20-something girlfriend of just a few months. Despite her restaurant freakout, Mr. Big still invites Carrie to the engagement party, sending an invite in the mail. Viewers never get a chance to see the inside of that invite. For years, we assumed it was blank on the inside. Apparently, that was not the case.
Sex and the City property master Sabrina Wright revealed exactly what placeholder was used for Mr. Big in the episode. During an interview with Amy Sohn for her book Sex and the City: Kiss and Tell, Wright revealed that she called Mr. Big Boris on the invitation. Wright explained that she was inspired by the cartoon, Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends.
In the iconic 1960s cartoon, a flying squirrel, Rocky, and a moose, Bullwinkle, spend their time trying to thwart the criminal schemes of evil partners Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale. Since Mr. Big was marrying a modern-day “villain” named Natasha, it seemed only fitting that Mr. Big would be named Boris. Wright revealed that Sarah Jessica Parker enjoyed the Easter egg so much that she couldn’t stop laughing.
How did the name John James Preston get chosen?
While Boris was used as a placeholder name for Mr. Big in season 2, it didn’t stick. Sex and the City fans only learned Mr. Big’s real name in the series’ final moments. That wasn’t a certainty. There was talk about leaving him nameless. Showrunner Michael Patrick King once told Entertainment Weekly that he opted to give Mr. Big a name because the moment he admitted Carrie was “the one,” he became “real.”
A real person is deserving of a real name. Still, King was apprehensive. He noted that he was careful not to go overboard with the name. He said his goal was to give Mr. Big the most generic name possible. Unlike the moniker, John James Preston had no cache or spin. Giving Mr. Big a basic name helped ensure that he would always be Big to fans. It was also a bit of a shock to fans. After all a mysterious man feels like he should have a more unique name.