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

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
books
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Iain reacts to his GBBO disaster

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Outlaw Pete is based on an eight-minute ballad from Springsteen’s 2009 Working on a Dream album

books
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012

film
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gothic revival: artist Dave McKean’s poster for Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Exhibition
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard has left the Great British Bake Off 2014

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

TV
Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Clara and the twelfth Doctor embark on their first adventure together
TVThe regulator received six complaints on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Puff Daddy: One Direction may actually be able to use the outrage to boost their credibility

music
Arts and Entertainment
Suha Arraf’s film ‘Villa Touma’ (left) is set in Ramallah and all the actresses are Palestinian

film
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Carell in the poster for new film 'Foxcatcher'
filmExclusive: First look at comic actor in first major serious role
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Kingston Road in Stockton is being filmed for the second series of Benefits Street
arts + entsFilming for Channel 4 has begun despite local complaints
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

    ... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
    Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

    Europe's biggest steampunk convention

    Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

    The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor