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Kim Cattrall: The TV Squad Interview

by Allison Waldman, posted Jun 19th 2008 3:01PM
Kim CKim Cattrall is hot. Hot as in busy as well as in looking good. She's also smart, funny, observant and remarkably candid. Recently, I spoke with her for TV Squad about the success of the Sex & the City movie, her new HBO project Sensitive Skin, and a whole lot of other things, including Star Trek, aging, Universal TV in the 1970s and more.

Allison Waldman: When Sex & the City ended, you didn't want to do the movie. Now it's done and it's a huge success.

Kim Cattrall: It's extraordinary. I look back four years ago when this was a runaway idea, I just did not feel ready to do it. We had reached such a high point, I wasn't sure I had anything else to say. I also had incredible personal challenges. My marriage was coming apart, also, my dad was diagnosed with dementia. I really needed a time out.

AW: How did the movie come back around?

KC: Michael Patrick King called and said, 'I'm writing something and I think you're going to love it. ...I think you were right to say no when you did because of whatever reasons you had.' See, I had never been public about my reasons I felt that it was nobody's business.

AW: The media blamed you for keeping the film from happening.

KC: Well, it's very easy to do, in the sense that the character I play is very much a diva.

AW: Were you surprised by the media reaction?

KC: It had its own life. I was gobsmacked, as they say in England. It sounded like something out of a 1950s melodrama, when all I was saying is, 'I can't do this right now.'

AW: What was Samantha like when you first started on Sex?

KC: Like any pilot script, you never really know where any character is going. There is no future, there's only now. A pilot is like the most extensive dress rehearsal you can ever imagine, because the writers are learning about the actors, the actors are learning about the characters. Then you sign on six years of your life and I was hesitant because on the page, I didn't see a lot of depth for the characters other than Carrie because she was the storyteller.

AW: Did you consider not doing it?

KC: Well, I was reluctant. I was playing basically two notes: funny and outrageous. To be funny is difficult enough, but to be outrageous, too. Would I be able to pull it off? These questions were in my head. Miranda and Charlotte and Samantha became so much more because of the plot lines that we were given. It was worth going through that first year until we hit our stride. Sex became an archetype for sexuality.

AW: What was your take on Samantha?

KC: She was very smart and successful and sexual. She was a woman who could be just like a man and have sex with no strings attached and no guilt and no comeuppance.

AW: What do you think of the success of the film?

KC: Who would have known four years ago that a half-hour show on cable with a strong fan base would turn into this almost movement. You know, to topple the boy's club, Indiana Jones.

AW: Why was that, do you think?

KC: A lot had to do with anticipation; I don't think it would have worked four years ago. And I'm no longer in my 40s, so that makes this even sweeter. The character turned 50, which I did two years ago. 'Take that, Hollywood.'

AW: Your new project for HBO, Sensitive Skin, is also about a woman of a certain age...

KC: She's going through a mid-life crisis realizing that half of her life is done. She's married with a son, living in New York. This was on British TV with Joanna Lumley, from Ab/Fab. I loved that show, but on this show, she was playing a different kind of woman, one who doesn't make things happen, but things happen to her. We're doing an American version, and another studio was involved, but they didn't get it like HBO did, which is not unusual because they take chances.

AW: HBO will also give a show time to grow.

KC: Yes. I think about when Sex was in the pilot stage, it would have never worked on network. Now, all these years later, shows are going for the same theme. Sex was a trailblazer.

AW: Describe your role in Sensitive Skin.

KC: She's a woman who grew up with a lot of privilege, with a lot of choice, with feminism – what has she done? Some of the first scenes are about aging. This woman looking at her face and her body in a very truthful way.

Quick Takes

Being British: "They claim me as their own, as they do in Canada, as they do in New York. It's fine with me.

Started at Universal in the 1970s in same class with Sharon Gless and Jamie Lee Curtis: "We were all under contract at the same time. It was my education as a film actress and not a theater rat. The system was like rep. Every week I was in another show. Charlie's Angels, Quincy, Starsky and Hutch."

Her TV character in The Incredible Hulk was one of the few who knew David Banner's secret: "I had no idea! I remember doing that show because I was a fan of Bill Bixby from My Favorite Martian."

Playing a Vulcan in Star Trek VI: "She was not part of the Enterprise. She was a Che Guevera; she was going to shake things up. Nicholas Meyer and Leonard Nimoy were both so supportive, like when I wanted her to have a Hugenot hairdo and for her to have this very close relationship with Spock but also see that he had clay feet."

Being a sex object in Mannequin: "When it came out and was unexpectedly a big hit, people said, 'Oh, you're like the beautiful girl now.' I was feeling more like a tubby-faced kid, a tomboy."

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I guess all those SJP questions were edited out, huh? Surely you asked.

June 20 2008 at 10:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They crammed so much stuff into those half-hour shows, you'd swear it was longer!

June 20 2008 at 8:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

kim cattrall..... booooooooooooooooooooooo

June 19 2008 at 5:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I just saw that episode of the Incredible Hulk last week. It was SWEET!

June 19 2008 at 4:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rick cokely

I believe Kim played a Vulcan in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, not Star Trek V.

June 19 2008 at 3:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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