Kim Cattrall - Samantha can't leave Sex behind

Those mega-chick-flicks mean Kim Cattrall can afford to do whatever she wants with the rest of her life. She tells Kaleem Aftab why that includes playing an ex-porn-star

Kim Cattrall can't shake Sex and the City. No matter how many theatre plays, or independent movies she does, the actress will forever be Samantha Jones.

The reach of the television series was so great that when her new film, Meet Monica Velour, opened the Aruba Film Festival, the inhabitants of the Caribbean island turned out in droves.

Away from the glare of the limelight, she admitted that she was conscious of the need to perform. "I have a costume on, even today; [talking to the press] is like a performance to me. I'm here as Kim but I prepared for it like a professional."

Being a professional seems to come naturally to Cattrall, who argues: "I've always felt that I'm a character actress in a leading lady's body. I think that is why my big success has come later on in life and I think that the next 30 years of my life, if I keep on working, are going to be the most exciting, because I'm a bungee-jumper actress, I don't play it safe, and I'm not interested in playing it safe and that is why I think that Hollywood is not in my future."

The actress sees Hollywood as a playground for younger models: "There are not a lot of jobs for me in Hollywood anyway. I love setting the gauntlet down and saying, 'this is what I look like without make-up and great lighting'. I'm not interested in being a Barbie-doll and making myself into a sausage for the next 20 years. I want to go and be like the actresses who have lines on their face, look their age and are not frightened of portraying actresses who are such."

She wants her career to follow the path of Judi Dench and Helen Mirren. It would be no mean feat.

Her first stab at this sort of career-changing performance is Meet Monica Velour. It's about a 17-year-old boy infatuated with 1970s porn actress Monica Velour, and who sets about to see her in a show. It's 20 minutes in before Cattrall enters, playing Velour in her fifties, washed up and overweight.

Cattrall reveals that the film would not have happened has she not agreed to take on the role. The first-time director Keith Bearden needed an actress with box-office appeal to get financing. Cattrall was sent the script by her agent, who told her she wouldn't want to do it. The agent could not have been more wrong. The actress met the director and not only agreed to do the part, but decided to pay for rehearsal space herself and to put on 20lb to play the porn-star character.

Today, that weight has more than dropped off. The 54-year-old admits that she is petrified of going under the knife, and keeps her figure by doing a ruthless exercise regime.

She is non-committal about the prospect of playing Samantha Jones again: "I don't want to hear any more from a publicist in New York, no matter how much I love her. I know exactly what Jones is going to say all the time and it's a character that has so many choices. Now I want to give a voice to characters that don't have anything. I would never bite the hand that has fed me, believe me, and who knows what may happen as far as another venture down that road, but that is not what excites me."

She was most resistant to doing the first movie, refusing to make a film for four years after the show ended, and admits that the reason for doing this was financial, as well as creative: "I really felt the three of us [herself, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davies] were not set for life, we were on cable TV, we were huge TV stars but we were not making anything near what our counterparts were making and I thought we worked damn hard and now we had our opportunity to do that."

Cattrall says that its far more likely that the next time we see the Carrie Bradshaw and her friends on screen it will be in a prequel rather than a sequel, but she quickly adds a word of warning to the show's producers, "They better get it right casting-wise."

She is now in a position where she is financially secure and so can choose her roles more carefully. This has largely been taking parts on stage in England. Her recent successes include Private Lives, which is transferring to Broadway, and she has just finished working on Anthony and Cleopatra at the Liverpool Playhouse – she reveals that it's likely to transfer to the West End at some point next year.

The end of the television show coincided with a desire to return to England. She admits: "After Sex and the City ended I was exhausted and needed time out. My marriage was coming to an end and my job was finished and my father had just been diagnosed with dementia. I thought I just needed to stop. I needed to go home. For me that was England and Canada, and England was where I started working again and I'm so glad I did, I feel replenished and strong. Sometimes you really do need to go home again."

A common theme that runs through all her conversation is that she wants to do work that empowers women. The Liverpool-born star admits that she will even turn down roles if they don't meet this criteria. "I have just been offered a role in a big movie with a director that I've worked with before and I just couldn't do it, because I felt ultimately, as flattered as I was to do this big European film, I couldn't do it because of the way it portrayed women. I wouldn't have done that 10 years ago, or even five years ago."

As for her private life, she says that will remain private, although she did correct an audience member at an "In Conversation" session who called her "Mrs." And then, more candidly, she revealed: "You know the price that you pay – not all actors, but this actor – is that I've been very lonely a lot in my life. I've had two marriages and I loved both my husbands very much, but I didn't see very much of them. [The length of my work days] is really hard on relationships. You never see anybody... And that's a very tough thing for a woman.

"I've always wanted to have children. That never happened. And I thought, "Well, I'll do it next year. I'll do it after this film. And then it was 'oh, I'm single'. There is this feeling that you give up a lot on this job, but you get a lot back, too. Luckily I have great friends and I have found a tremendous amount of happiness in mentoring young actors. They're like my kids. Dustin Ingram, our leading man in Monica Velour, he's like my boy."

But work is more than fulfilling the actress. We are not likely to see Cattrall release another book, though. She has written three books, two about sex while the third, Being a Girl, was for young women. "I find writing a very lonely experience," she says. "It's like a book report that never ends. So I don't think I could write another book."

'Meet Monica Velour' is released on DVD on 4 July

Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
Arts and Entertainment
Kate Bush: 'I'm going to miss everyone so much'
Arts and Entertainment
Laura Wood, winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing

Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search

Arts and Entertainment
Pulling the strings: Spira Mirabilis

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Neville's Island at Duke of York's theatre
musicReview: The production has been cleverly cast with a quartet of comic performers best known for the work on television
Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol

Arts and Entertainment
Lynda Bellingham stars in her last Oxo advert with on-screen husband Michael Redfern

Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman

Arts and Entertainment
Tim Minchin portrait
For a no-holds-barred performer who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, Tim Minchin is surprisingly gentle
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Harris in 'The Goob' film photocall, at the Venice International Film Festival 2014
filmThe Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Streisand is his true inspiration
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’


Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'


Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from


Arts and Entertainment
Team Tenacity pitch their fetching solar powered, mobile phone charging, heated, flashy jacket
tvReview: No one was safe as Lord Sugar shook things up
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
    Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

    'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

    The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
    Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

    Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

    A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
    The 10 best smartphone accessories

    Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

    Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

    Liverpool v Real Madrid

    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
    West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?