It's not that Kim Cattrall isn't game for a third Sex and the City, but the actress --
known for her Golden Globe-winning role as Samantha Jones on the hit HBO dramedy --
is nearly 20 years older than she was when the show first premiered in 1998.
Now 60, Cattrall says her interests lie in projects about
women her age that aren't being made.
Since 2014, she’s been co-producing and starring in the HBO Canada drama Sensitive Skin, playing Davina Jackson,
a 50-something woman who struggles with aging. Cattrall also plays Emily
French, a glamorous, well-off widow exploring the emotional cost of being a middle-aged
womanin BBC One’s adaptation of theAgatha Christie short story TheWitness
for the Prosecution, premiering in the U.S. Monday, Jan. 30 on Acorn TV.
In a chat with ET, Cattrall opens up about taking on parts
that "dispel" female convention, producing roles women that she says
Hollywood isn't and the possibility of a third Sex and the City movie after the sequelreceived such harsh criticism.
ET: What appeals to
you most about Emily French?
Kim Cattrall: I
think what I'm attracted to, first of all, is dispelling [boxes we put women in],
and playing parts and infusing them as much as I can with that kind of
vulnerability and understanding as an actor. I think there's very fertile
ground to expose all of that and tell those kinds of stories, and we just don't
have enough of those stories. I think that's where I'm very happy spending time
and exploring and creating.
You have a tendency
to gravitate toward strong female roles, and in some ways, you might put Emily
French in that category. What do you look for in the female roles that you take
I'm trying to find a spirit that I can relate to or channel
or understand -- or further understand. When I did a film [in 2010] called
Meet Monica Velour, where I played an
over-the-hill pinup girl who's really on her last legs, I thought, "How
can I find that within me?"
I'm trying to reflect what it is to be human, but female and
living in the society that I find myself. I have a series on Netflix that I
produce called Sensitive Skin, and
the thing that I like about that character is she's not really a strong
character; she has an inner strength, but she's grappling with that and the
decisions that she's made and who she is now and time.
There are a lot of kinds of characters that I'm trying to
inhabit. The main theme is really being a woman in our society. Emily French is
a woman in 1923, and she's an outsider. I think that's what I understand about
the characters I choose to play. As an outsider, even in America, being a
British-Canadian, how can I reflect what's going on outside and inside? That journey's
In the series, Emily
criticizes the problematic boxes we put women in, saying: "When one is a
woman of a certain age, one becomes subject to all manners of tedious lectures
of what one should and shouldn’t be." How do you relate to her on that
As a woman, from the get-go, you're so objectified, and it
doesn't really change.
Is that amplified in
I don't think it's just Hollywood -- I think it's
everywhere. But I'm more curious about the human condition than about holding
onto a perception. There are a lot of women who have attitudes about, say, a
character like Samantha, or they blot out the cost of being Samantha, too. It's
not all gravy and it's not all misery; it's trying to find that balance and the
strength of character to survive.
When it comes to
ageism in Hollywood, do you think it's more or less of a problem nowadays?
The truthful answer is I don't know. I don't depend on that
for my work. That's why I became a producer, and that's why I work a lot in
Europe. The things that I'm offered in the United States post-Sex and the City have basically been Sex and the City, and part of that is
fun, but why would we be doing it? I'm so open to ideas about why I would
return to Samantha and any kind of script ideas of where to continue, but they
have to make sense -- they can't just be retreading.
I mean, I'm writing a thriller right now and it's really
fascinating. Again, it's a very different character. And I think Witness for the Prosecution really is
reflecting a mood that is prevalent all over the world -- a real mood of
uncertainty. I want to feel, "Whoa, here's an opportunity" -- that I say yes to, as opposed to
something that I've already done that I know I can't do any better or possibly
have no more to say.
So, I take it there's not going to be another Mannequin?
February marks the 30th anniversary of Mannequin, one of your first films. How do you reflect on starring in that cult classic?
It's joyful. I'm so happy, because in England during Christmastime they show it repeatedly, and on social media you get to hear directly from people, which is such a plus. Something that I really enjoy are young women in their 20s and 30s who have a little girl and they send a picture of her sitting in front of the TV, enraptured, watching Mannequin, and they say, "I'm passing it on to the next generation." I'm very touched that it still has a place.
With the mannequin
challenge being such a viral sensation, I can't think of a better time for a
reboot. You in?
[Laughs] It sounds
like you're in the process of recapturing your youth. You're not alone, believe
me! I think the only bitter pill for me is that when I see scenes from that, I
think, "Oh my gosh, such a long time ago, my god!" I look at it
sometimes and think, "Is that me? Wow. That's me! That's me up there with
Andrew McCarthy on the countertop in a bikini top and a sarong, dancing."
It's joyous and it's wonderful, but I think, "Wow, I really did
Speaking of sequels, there
have been recent reports that Sex and the
City 3 is happening.
Is it? I don't know.
Oh, gosh. Well, you know more than I do! [Laughs] I know nothing about any of
this. I really don't. It's exciting that people want more, but again, it's
like, that would be great, but what are we trying to say? I hate to be a
spoilsport, but what would the next story be?
What do you think the
story should be?
I have not given it any thought.
Is it even possible?
Exactly. I think that is where you start. [Laughs] What haven't we said? I
think everyone, myself included, gets caught up in the excitement of going
further, but what is the story? Especially after the second movie, which was
met with a lot of criticism. Whether you liked it or not, the reality is,
authentically -- there were not alternative facts here! -- there was backlash. The reality of what [a
third movie] would be -- there's nothing concrete. There's no script,
there's no idea. It doesn't mean it's not going to happen, but what would it
be? I'm not saying [a third Sex and the
City] doesn't exist or we can't do it, I'm saying, what is it?
What would it take
for you to do it?
It would take a script and an idea that would mean something
about us getting together. One of the things about getting older that I'm
really noticing [is] where I want to spend my time. And I want to spend my
time, at this age, playing characters this
age, where I'm playing a woman who's 60, who's outside the "Hollywood
box," and that takes time.
It took me 10 years to get the first season of Sensitive Skin to happen, and now we're
thinking about a third season. So I want to put my energy into not covering old
ground. There is fertile ground out there for stories about women my age for
women my age, and even a broader audience. It takes longer when you're
producing it, but it feels like an engine, like it's going in the right
direction as opposed to going backward. I want to go forward.
Agatha Christie's The Witness
for the Prosecution premieres Monday, Jan. 30 on Acorn TV.