Sex And The City: The Movie - Kim Cattrall interview
Compiled by Jack Foley
FOUR years since the Sex And The City TV show ended, the stars are returning for a new movie. Kim Cattrall believes that it was the perfect time to reunite the cast and creative team – writer and director Michael Patrick King, costume designer Pat Fields – and revisit such popular characters.
The actress reveals why in this interview and also talks about coping with some of the show’s more shocking and explicit material, why it has endured for so long and her own personal favourite moments from the series.
Q: When playing Samantha were you aware you were becoming a sexual icon for a lot of women?
Kim Cattrall: Wow! [laughs]. My goodness, no sort of foreplay here! When playing a character like that every day there’s a new script and most of them terrified me. I’d just turned 40 when I started the series and I didn’t know if I could play such a sexual, crazed woman because I believe that all those years ago – which is not that many years ago really – people really did believe that women in their 40s weren’t very sexy and that women in their 20s and 30s were really beautiful because in their close up they were perfect and gorgeous and young and desirable. What I’m now discovering – and I’m now in another decade – is that the older I get the more I have my self knowledge which makes me feel more sexy.
There’s nothing like confidence and feeling that I don’t have to prove myself, I feel comfortable in my skin, I’m not a size 2 and I can forget about it. I say to myself: “These are the kind of things that I like, these are the kinds of foods that I like.” My life is mine and that I think is a very sexy thing to own. I didn’t have that when I was in the series so when all of this attention sort of happened specifically to this character about sex I found it kind of overwhelming.
Q: Is Samantha dating younger men in the movie? How do you feel about that?
Kim Cattrall: Most of the men I have gotten to know – and I’m now dating a younger man – they have been raised by some really amazing women who were not at home all the time so they couldn’t really be Mommy’s boy, they had to get on with it and realise that Mom wasn’t going to be there all the time and they like a strong, independent woman. And I think that what’s also happened is that women like to have their time now, that the younger generation just wanted to be available for the boy, you know, and missed out on the girl stuff. And guys have never really given that up but women always did. So women now are not giving up girl time, like guys don’t give up going to play sports or poker or whatever they do. And now women are doing that and I think that’s really fabulous. So I think there is this younger man has different expectations of what a woman is – and you know, it’s nice to have it on the other side.
Q: Did you always expect that the show would catch on so wildly with gay viewers?
Kim Cattrall: I hoped it would because then you will live forever! [laughs]
Q: People have commented on the fact that there is a gay sensibility to the show. Did you see that?
Kim Cattrall: Well, it’s written by gay men and straight women so I think there is that. People always said to me: “You play a gay man…” And I said: “I’m having a fabulous time.” [That was] without the difficult things about being gay in America especially or actually even in Russia, I was just in Russia and it’s a crime to be gay. So actually I’m very thankful for that following. I think it’s really given the show so much more than I thought was in there to begin with because of that fun and panache and crazy, zany… I mean, that whole storyline with the trannies [transvestites] was just fabulous. Where would you see something like that? You just wouldn’t. It was such an added dimension, to life in New York and also to television.
Q: Are there new ‘it’ places that feature in the film?
Kim Cattrall: Oh yes, Buddukan. We had a lot of different locations like that. Sometimes we would create clubs, which we also did in the series. But I personally would never go to somewhere like that because everyone who watches the show goes to it, it’s like part of a Sex And The City tour. And that’s not a good idea..
Q You have some memorable storylines in the show. Which one is your favourite?
Kim Cattrall: Well, the trannies [transvestites] was so great, I just loved that. I also very much liked the firemen episode because Michael [Patrick King, writer and director] does this great thing for me, he writes a line and then says: “Fill it!” And I think to myself: “What the fuck am I going to do with this?” When we were doing the series I would get so nervous because I would think: “How can I top what we did a year ago?” And it was sort of the same feeling for the movie, you know with such expectation. It was exciting and so much fun but the expectation was always ‘is it going to be as good as the TV show?’ and we left on such a high note that it was a little daunting. But you’ll be the judge..
Q: So Michael would expect your input on a scene for Samantha?
Kim Cattrall: He would write: “Samantha falls on the bed..” So, I would have to say: “OK, I’ve fallen on the bed so many times, how can I make this different?” So, I would take what he gave me and make it mine. There’s this thing in the movie, you see it in the trailer, where I’m walking up to the table and you see me on the table and my leg goes over like this [indicates with hand]. Now he didn’t write that, he just writes: “Samantha gets to the end of the table..” But I make it something else, which is so much fun to do that. It’s great when someone trusts you enough to put the camera there and say ‘go!’ I love that.
Q: How will the story have moved on from the series? How will it be cinematic?
Kim Cattrall: Well, I think the look of it first of all is really quite gorgeous. I think it does much more location wise and shot wise than we could, time wise on the series. I also think that the four years that we weren’t making the show means that Michael had a tremendous amount of time to contemplate it. And with that time came a lot of subtlety.
Q: Did you always believe that the film would happen?
Kim Cattrall: When Chris Albrecht called me last year when I was just about to go to Dublin to do My Boy Jack for ITV, and he said: “This is a voice from your past, I was in a movie theatre and I was watching The Devil Wears Prada and it was absolutely packed and I looked around and said ‘we created this audience.’ And I think we really need to do the film.” I was floored. All of us had gone in our different directions, had different life paths and leaving the show was really, really hard.
Personally, it was a very difficult time in my personal life. So, I was trying to put a lot of things together. And I’m glad that we didn’t do the movie right away because I don’t think we would have had any kind of perspective about what was happening to us and what was about to happen. I think it was the perfect time to get back together and do this.
Q: Why did it appeal to so many people?
Kim Cattrall: I think there is so powerful and potent about it. I think it’s because these four characters are really very truthful. I think there is a lot more truth than a lot of women have seen before about what it means to be a girl, a woman, in the world, in society. And it’s kind of exciting to be a part of that.
Q: So could there be more films after this?
Kim Cattrall: You know I’m so superstitious. I really want the film to be a big success because I think that we made it for the right reasons – I think the script is really good and the performances and the direction is really great – but ultimately you never know, you just never know. I mean, people might see it and think it’s beyond their expectations or the might see it and say: “Oh, I preferred the series.” you just don’t know.
But I’m hoping that it does well and I’m hoping that we do more, I’m hoping that people will see it. I mean, our fans are incredibly faithful and they’ll see it to get over the shock that it exists, someone told me this last week in London. She said: “I’m just going to see it because I know it exists and then I’m going to see it and memorise everything that I saw…” I hope it does lead to more. I don’t know though.
Q: When we left Samantha she was just recovering from breast cancer and in a serious relationship. What’s she dealing with in the movie?
Kim Cattrall: Well, I think she is older and that in itself a huge struggle in our world still. And that’s why I’m so happy to be of a certain age playing a woman of a certain age. And we kind of changed the way people thought about 40 so maybe 50 and maybe 60 hopefully.
Q: But you have to take your clothes off a lot, not only in front of a younger man but also in front of the whole world. Is that daunting?
Kim Cattrall: It’s all about lighting! [laughs]
Q: What do you think about TV shows like Cashmere Mafia and Lipstick Jungle, which have followed in the wake of Sex And The City?
Kim Cattrall: You know, I haven’t seen them and I think that it would be unfair for me to comment. I think I’m very flattered because they sound shockingly like a show that was near and dear to my heart [laughs].
Q: As Samantha, you are so confident in the show. Are you as confident off screen?
Kim Cattrall: Oh God, no!
Q: And has playing Samantha changed that a little bit?
Kim Cattrall: Well, I think in some ways Samantha has certainly given me a platform to talk to women about specific things – sexuality being top of the list. But no, I have moments of incredible insecurity. I’m deeply flawed and human and that’s what I think makes these characters interesting because they are too. I don’t want to sit here and listen to people who have a perfect life, I certainly don’t. I’m dealing with a lot of things on a daily basis like most people are, all people are. I’m very grateful for a lot of things and I wish for certain things as well. So no I’m not. She makes me feel more confident and gives me again that platform, especially about aging.
Q: What was it like to get back into character? And did you have a favourite shooting day?
Kim Cattrall: It was so easy. God, it was so fabulous – it was easy and fun. The most difficult thing was the first day, there were so many crowds on the street and they were screaming and yelling and it kind of broke my concentration and I was overwhelmed a little bit, as I think all of us were. Because I didn’t know what to expect and someone screaming in the middle of a scene: “I love you Samantha!” Or: “Carrie I’m over here!” is distracting and we had never really dealt with that. But we were kind of asking for it because we were shooting on Park Avenue at a certain time of day, September, late afternoon, and the city was packed.
Q: This is about friendship. Do you have some good friends in your life and maybe a favourite thing that they have done for you?
Kim Cattrall: Oh there are so many. My best friend from theatre school moved back to New York in the last year. And it was a really tough year for me. I was going through a divorce, which was really tough. I’ve been divorced before which was a private matter but this was a very public and my Dad was diagnosed with dementia, which was a tough time. And she was there for me every day on the set and it was really, really tough and I’m grateful that I had her support. And also after that I moved to Canada for a while and had time with my family. Sometimes things like that make you aware of how precious time is and so I’m grateful, very grateful for that.
Q: New York is a character in the series and in the film. What is it about New York?
Kim Cattrall: I’ve been spending a lot of time in London, which I really love, and they have a similarity, I love both of those cities, they are my favourite. And I think it’s because you can be so spontaneous in both of them. There are people who do a lot of different things for a living and not just one or two. It’s not a company town and doesn’t feel like a company town. I think it’s the most beautiful city in America, the architecture is fantastic. I have a project right now that I want to do with HBO and they said: “Would you consider anywhere else?” I said: “No, it has got to be New York.” And New York is so competitive. You have to be really great at what you do; you have to be so focused.
Q: Are you living in London now?
Kim Cattrall: I have been, back and forth. I flew in last night.
Q: Isn’t your boyfriend based in Canada?
Kim Cattrall: Yes, he is.
Q: Is that difficult?
Kim Cattrall: Well, he spends a large amount of time with me here and I’ve been spending a lot of time in Canada with my family so it works really well. When I’ve been doing the plays, at the Donmar and in the West End, he came to stay with me, which was really easy. He has one client who travels a lot so he travels with him or he has weeks off so it’s really great. So far it works really well.
Q: You wear some amazing clothes. How important is Pat Field to Sex And the City?
Kim Cattrall: Pat is amazing, totally brilliant. My taste is I’m like a theatre rat, I’m comfortable in jeans and sweater, I like that. But I also like dressing up, especially with this character because she is so over the top and it allows you so much license to have fun. We look at things together Pat and I, and I’ll go: “Nah.” and she goes: “Yeah, I know.” We’re so on the same page. And that took a while, the collaboration. She was more wanting me to wear, not so much Carrie style, but big over the top sexy and I felt I wanted to go a little slower than that. Because Samantha is a business woman and I wanted the viewers to say: “Well, yes, she could wear that..” And underneath there might be a little something, but over the top it would be that she could walk down the street and not look like a hooker. And that was easily incorporated early on with the big jewellery. Now it’s the belts, everything is belted! But clothes are such a great part of the show, because it’s fun..
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