Meh, she is gorgeous and successful and can date whenever she wants to.
She's the world's most famous man-eater… But as Jane Gordon discovered when she met Kim Cattrall, aka Samantha in Sex and the City, the UK-born actress is more 'Liverpool, family and tea' than 'Manhattan, men and martinis'. And she's relishing her return to the London stage
Kim Cattrall is reclining on a sofa in her sumptuous Marrakech hotel dreaming of London Transport. Given her surroundings, it’s rather surreal to hear her talk with such enthusiasm about the buses, the underground system and the benefits of owning an Oyster card. But even though she is on location in Morocco filming Sex and the City 2, the 53-year-old actress is mentally projecting forward to her next stop – a lead role in Richard Eyre’s West End production of Noël Coward’s comedy of manners Private Lives.
The part of Amanda, accidentally thrown together with her ex-husband Elyot – played by Matthew Macfadyen – will be Kim’s third foray into theatre in London: two years ago she starred in the Donmar Warehouse production of David Mamet’s The Cryptogram and in 2005 she took the lead in Peter Hall’s revival of Whose Life is it Anyway? She is, she says, as thrilled to be returning to the stage as she is to be re-acquainting herself with the Central Line and the No 19 bus to Theatreland.
‘I don’t take the subway in New York because you become a target for photo opportunities, but I can get round on the London underground and the buses, much to my satisfaction. I love it. Everyone leaves me alone. I was once on a bus going through Camden Town when the driver stopped to remove a rowdy, drunk young man. I thought that was very fine, I felt very protected. I don’t know if that would happen in
New York,’ she says with a laugh.
Maybe it has something to do with the warm Moroccan air, but Kim is in a relaxed mood. Wearing a long white kaftan (bought, she excitedly reveals, in a souk), she is funny, self-deprecating and open, and seems the very opposite of the woman routinely portrayed by the media. Allegations of a feud between Kim and her co-star Sarah Jessica Parker have dogged the actress during the 11-year history of the show and its spin-off films. Last December Sarah Jessica made a final bid to dispel those rumours in an interview with US Elle. ‘I don’t think anybody wants to believe that I love Kim,’ she said. ‘I adore her. I wouldn’t have done the movie without her.’
Kim herself has become philosophical about the way in which their relationship is perceived. ‘I think Sarah was right: people don’t want to believe that we get on. They have too much invested in the idea of two strong, successful women fighting with each other. It makes for juicy gossip and copy. The truth of us being friends and getting along and happily doing our jobs together is nowhere near as newsworthy.
I think Sarah is fantastic. She is a born leader and she guides the crew and the cast in such a strong but gentle way. She and I are sick of this. It’s exhausting talking about it, and a real bore. Next?’ she asks in tones of mock exasperation.
But however wearying she finds the media machinations about behind-the-scenes tension, there is no doubt that Kim owes the show – and her portrayal of the sexually voracious Samantha Jones – a great deal. Born in Liverpool and raised in Canada, where her family emigrated when she was three months old, she fell in love with the theatre on a trip back to Britain when she was 11.
At 16, she left Canada to study acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. An accomplished actress before her portrayal of Samantha – she had roles in films such as Police Academy, Big Trouble in Little China and Star Trek VI – it was her entry into the HBO series Sex and the City in 1998 that finally turned her into an international star.
Arguably the most naturally beautiful of the four lead actresses – and the eldest – she has done much to liberate the sex lives of 40-something women. She even wrote books on the subject (Satisfaction: the Art of the Female Orgasm and Sexual Intelligence). Her character is credited by some as being the original ‘Cougar’ (an older woman who dates younger men), a term that has spawned a new US TV series, Cougar Town, starring Courteney Cox Arquette.
Kim with her co-stars, from left, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon on the set of SATC2; with ex-partner Alan Wyse
‘But I think it’s since taken on a negative connotation – as a woman of a certain age hanging out in a club where she can pick up young men,’ says Kim, who clearly feels there’s a desperation about this that’s a million miles from Samantha’s poise and sophistication.
‘I never thought that was what the character represented. I’m sure there are women who do that, but I never considered Samantha to be that. And certainly not myself; I mean, I could not go into a bar and pick up a man – that is so foreign to me it’s not even in my hemisphere. I am totally insecure. That is predatory behaviour, and I don’t consider myself a predator. In fact, I feel sometimes that I am the pursued,’ she says.
After three marriages and the recent break-up of her five-year relationship with chef Alan Wyse, 20 years her junior, Kim is single again. Is she enjoying her freedom?
‘Well, I’m not sure if I’m there yet. I’ve been so busy since we split that I haven’t had much time to adjust. I’m starting to date; it feels all right. It’s very hard to be private about that. Whenever you step out for a drink or dinner, whomever you’re with becomes your latest beau. Which is a bit of a laugh for my gay friends.’
Kim describes herself as being a ‘family’ person, and her recent search for her long-lost maternal grandfather – who abandoned his wife and children in Liverpool when Kim’s mother (now 80) was eight years old – featured in the BBC series Who Do You Think You Are? The moving programme – in which her grandfather was discovered to have bigamously remarried, had another family and relocated to Australia – showed a very different side to the actress and revealed her closeness to her mother and her two Liverpool-based aunts.
‘People don’t want to believe that Sarah and I get on. The truth of us being friends and getting along and happily doing our jobs together is nowhere near as newsworthy’
‘I come from a long line of strong Scouse women. It is not just an accent, it’s almost a constitution – held together by tea. Growing up, I remember there was always a pot on the back burner, and during the filming of Who Do You Think You Are? the bonding always seemed to happen over a cup of tea,’ she says, adding, with a gentle laugh, that her mother regards her daughter’s role in a Tetley tea advert as her greatest acting achievement.
Kim once observed that she didn’t regret not having children because there are ‘many ways of being a mother’. She is very much involved with her nephews and nieces (she has two sisters and a brother), particularly as they are now older and more interested in what she terms her ‘wacky’ world.
There is, too, she points out, an outlet for her maternal instincts in her relationship with some of her younger co-stars, such as Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) and Carey Mulligan (An Education) who played her children in the 2007 ITV drama My Boy Jack about the death of Rudyard Kipling’s son in the First World War. ‘I really enjoyed working with Daniel and Carey. If you have a rapport with the young actors you become very protective of them, like a parent,’ she says.
The generosity with which she talks about her younger colleagues suggests that Kim is at ease with ageing. She looks stunning, at least a decade younger than her 53 years.
‘I don’t want to look 19. I don’t want to look as perfect and beautiful as my fabulous Carey Mulligan. I like the way I look. And when I look at my mum I have less to be frightened of – I am blessed with her cheekbones, and those help.’
If ageing doesn’t bother her, ageism does. She finds the way in which the beauty of a woman is always qualified by her age infuriating. ‘I think Helen Mirren, Judi Dench and Janet Suzman look fabulous, full stop. I hate the way people qualify “you look good” by adding “for your age”. I am on a campaign against that.’
There is, of course, pressure on Kim to look younger than her years. She admits that she dropped 10lbs over the summer in preparation for the second SATC movie.
‘Going back to play Samantha – with the story line I have – I wanted to look really fit. I lost 10lbs by eating a little less over three months, and I have kept it off.’
But Kim is loving the diversity of the roles she is able to take on now that she is not tied to the TV series that dominated her working life for six years (SATC ended in 2004). She has a key role in Roman Polanski’s film The Ghost (which he is apparently editing during his detention in Gstaad) and the lead in a small independent film, Meet Monica Velour.
And she is particularly relishing playing Amanda in Private Lives, alongside Matthew Macfadyen (who played Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice), Cranford’s Lisa Dillon and The Fast Show’s Simon Day. ‘The original cast in 1931 was Gertrude Lawrence, Noël Coward and Laurence Olivier,’ she
tells me, conjuring up a world of cocktails, cigarette holders and razor-sharp dialogue. ‘Imagine!’
The future, she says with a smile as we part, is looking good. ‘The two previous plays I did in the West End were very serious, but for fans of Sex and the City who might come to see me this is much more fun. Theatre for me is coming home. It’s where it all began and where I was trained and what I love most.’
Private Lives previews at London’s Vaudeville Theatre from 24 February and runs until 1 May, tel: 0844 412 4663
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-1238271/Kim-Cattrall-Im-insecure-pick-man-startling-revelations.html#ixzz0bZ43uOXh
Meh, she is gorgeous and successful and can date whenever she wants to.
She looks great!
I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.
i love her, and i think she's gorgeous.
Well, the whore apples sure didn't fall far from the whore tree. Sylkyn
I think that she's stunning, too. Very beautiful.
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