/ The Bold & The Beautiful

The Bold & The Beautiful

Jun 15, 2013

Q&A: With the iconic Samantha on Sex and the City under her belt, Kim Cattrall is laying claim to meatier roles on stage and screen.

Everyone knows how convincing Kim Cattrall was in her role as the sexually aware forty-something Samantha Jones in the hit HBO series Sex and the City. But the Liverpool, England-born, Vancouver-raised star is out to show that her many charms and talents don’t end there.

These days, the sultry star, who turns 55 in August (and still manages to rock the red carpet in her favourite designers including Michael Kors and Indian-American fashion designer Naeem Khan) is making her mark as a stage actress. Since SATC wrapped, Kim has been busy with numerous stage roles, including playing the inimitable Cleopatra, and this fall, the articulate star will grace The Royal Alexandra Theatre during the Toronto run of Noel Coward’s famous play “Private Lives.” That’s not all she’s been up to. In Kim’s most recent role, in the indie film Meet Monica Velour which hit U.S. theatres in April and is expected to hit Canadian theatres this season, the former Mannequin star proved that her art takes precedence over her appearance when she gained 20 pounds for the role.

Here, we chat with Kim about moving on from Sex and the City, her amazing sense of style, how she gained and then lost all the weight, being a survivor and why she’s seeking a challenge in her life now more than ever.

What did playing Samantha on Sex and the City mean to you?
I’ve been so lucky with my career because I’ve been challenged. I usually play strong women who are attractive. I loved Samantha but didn’t want to play Samantha for the rest of my life and then the script for Meet Monica Velour came and it was so different and I thought, ‘I want to go in that direction! I want to bring life into this character!’

How did it feel to move on from a role that made you so famous?
I think the moment it ended, people wanted me to do the same thing. They wanted me to play myself, which they thought was Samantha—which it isn’t—so it ultimately led to some confusion and embarrassment. I thought doing the SATC films might take me back to the series that ended seven years before. But it didn’t. I found it a real treat to go back and visit Samantha because it’s really like putting on a second skin. But I was ready to tackle other roles. It was a time of change.

You’re so stylish both onscreen and off. How did you develop your style?
My mother was a department-store model so although she could never afford to buy clothes like Balenciaga, I grew up knowing the brands. As a youngster, I wore one designer head-to-toe. Then at 16, I went to theatre school in New York and my world opened up to the plethora of fashion choices out there. The older I get, the more relaxed I am about my style. The statement is more about me instead of what I'm wearing or who I'm wearing. I wish someone had told me this when I was younger! But you don't know who you are when you're young, and you follow all these different trends and ideas that ultimately help you find and embrace who you really are.

You had to gain a significant amount of weight in your latest film Meet Monica Velour. Tell us about that experience.
I was asked to gain 35 pounds but only had six weeks so I was able to gain 20. It was wonderful because I was born to eat but it seems my whole life I’ve been on the Atkins diet so I couldn’t have bread and drinks and things like that. But with this role, I had permission to eat! But while it was heaven putting it on, it was hell taking it off. I ate well and exercised. I’m a daughter of the Jane Fonda generation and so you get to the gym, eat high protein and low carbs. It’s a way of life for me. And I have so many healthy recipes to choose from so I don’t feel victimized by diets.

A lot of people don’t know that you’ll be spending the fall in Canada while you act in a stage production called “Private Lives.” Are you excited about being in Toronto?
Last year we were just opening the “Private Lives” in the UK. It was a very joyous experience and a huge success. It got great reviews so the producer asked: ‘Would you like to do it in New York and Toronto?’ Toronto ticked all the boxes for me. It will be great to come home to a country that I love so much! Toronto is changing and I like to see what’s happening as far as concerts and restaurants. I love chef Jamie Kennedy and I am hoping he can run me over meals between shows!


How does the stage experience compare to making a Hollywood film? Do you enjoy one more than the other?
What I love about doing a play is that I feel organic. I have time to experiment and try different ideas and I find that very exciting. It feels like a family. You bond and I enjoy the collaboration, the focus and the community.

Let’s talk about Meet Monica Velour. What attracted you to the role?
I read the script and I was quite surprised to see this terrific plum role. There was a lot of competition for it because there are so few roles for women over 40. I play a former exotic film star who was famous in the 1970s. Now she’s 49, living in a trailer park and smoking and drinking and just trying to get by. She meets a young boy who breathes life back into her. It’s an irreverent comedy.

Where did you pull from to embody that character?
I’m a woman of the ’60s and ’70s and I’m also a businesswoman. I can be tough. I’ve been around. I’ve been objectified. I’ve been in a relationship where I’ve let things go on too long. I draw on that. I’m a survivor and I know how to stand up for what I believe. I know all of those places to go.

Do you think people have misconceptions about what success is?
People think because you’re successful that you don’t have worries or insecurities. I’m here to tell you that’s not the case! Money doesn’t give you everything you want. I don’t have someone who waves a magic wand and says: ‘You’re free of all concerns.’ I live a life that’s very connected to the real world. I don’t have someone doing my bidding for me. I stay connected to reality.

With all the demands and projects going on in your life, how do you maintain your equilibrium?
Working as hard as I have all these years, I only want to leave home if it’s something special, different or challenging. Sometimes you have to say: ‘Time out.’ Interestingly, my work can be a time out from my life, which can be dangerous. Mostly, I go on my instincts and they’ve been pretty spot on so far.

What’s something you wish more people knew about you?
Oh God! Sometimes wish they knew less about me! I’m surprised people still think I’m an American. I’m very proud to be a British-Canadian.

What’s your perspective on this time in your life?
I feel open to whatever comes my way. I’m remaining open in my career and my private life too. In my younger life I had so much to fulfill and achieve and now so many of those boxes are checked. I’m reaching toward better films, better projects and better roles and enjoying what I have worked so hard to receive. I also appreciate and feel pride in the support my family has given me. Many times they have got on the phone and said: ‘Hey, are you OK?’ They haven’t always been able to be there with me but when someone in a family has a dream like I did, they rally around you and share in your success.

Can we expect to see you on the stage more than the silver screen in the future?
Perhaps because there aren’t many film roles written for women in their fifties and onward. But with classic theatre, the roles are much better for women. I’ve made choices to work with people who are writing roles for women who have a lot more going on than just playing someone’s mom in a Disney film. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’m attracted to the stage. I also like to work with people who know a lot more than I do because I want to learn how to do my job better. And I never want to stop learning.



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