We haven't seen Kim Cattrall in a while -- at least since 'Sex and the City 2.' Whether it's a curse or a blessing, most people recognize her as her 'SATC' character, Samantha Jones. Cattrall is eager to move on from that role, and she most certainly has in her latest film, 'Meet Monica Velour.'
Starring as a mother working as a stripper (the eponymous Monica Velour), she's doing everything she can to win back custody of her daughter. Cattrall's performance is raw, unsettling and candid, not exactly what North American audiences have come to expect of the Golden Globe–winning actress. For much of the past six years, Cattrall has been in London's West End performing on stage, something she finds incredibly satisfying.
Moviefone sat down to talk with Cattrall about Hollywood roles for older women, what it was like to perform a striptease and whether that third 'Sex and the City' movie is ever going to happen.
Moviefone: Your character kind of made me sad.
Kim Cattrall: Oh really? Sad? Why?
She lives in a trailer, is at her wit's end, feels hopeless ...
Yes, but she moves on in the end. You know, I have a friend who just did this series of photographs – she photographed herself crying every day for one year. We don't have pictures of people crying. We have pictures of people laughing, or celebrating, or being silly. We don't embrace sadness, and I think it's important that we do that, just so we can understand it. There's one scene in 'Meet Monica Velour' where she's served breakfast, and she just starts crying. I love that scene because it comes out of nowhere – that's what happens in life.
And people always delete the bad photos.
Yes, they do! They never take pictures at someone's grave. [Laughs] Or at a funeral. Everybody rejoices at weddings, when people are joined together, but no one celebrates a life lived. It's madness! [Laughs]
How did you get involved with 'Meet Monica Velour' in the first place?
I was sent a script, and I really liked the writing. I set up a meeting with the director, Keith Bearden, and we sat, interviewed and talked about movies. He's never directed an actor like me, and I've never really worked with first-time directors. I was really excited by him, and that he was smart. He thought this screenplay was about people trying to turn the page, but I saw it as my character trying to win custody of her daughter. Keith and I really got along, it was a fun time.
It looked like you had fun, but there was also a lot of suffering for Monica – the stripping, trying to get her daughter back, her ex-husband. We don't often see you in roles like this...
People don't write roles like this very often, certainly for women in this business or women like me. They just don't write them. And if it is written, it's usually the hooker with a heart of gold. This role was real, as real as I can get, and it has many dimensions to it. This woman is crazy, strong, pathetic, narcissistic, sexualized, and heartbroken. She's also funny! She's not likable all the time. She can be a real bitch, and hey, I know I can be too!
Any leading lady in a film like this is always 100 percent likable. Otherwise the audience doesn't cheer for her.
That's why you have all those really bad rom-coms out there with girls giggling. You just want to say, 'Really. Really? You're going to cock your head to one side and twirl your hair? Really? And you're in your 40s? Really?'
That makes it even worse.
It's cringe-worthy, let me tell you. I want to see women in their 40s going through some real stuff. You're in your 40s! Your 50s! I like that, I think that's interesting. I don't want to go on a 3D journey after high school. I'm bored with it.
Tell me everything about that stripping scene you're in. Was it nightmarish, was it fun?
It was choreographed by a burlesque performer, Julie Atlas Muz. She's extraordinary. I made the decision to not engage at all [with the audience in the movie], to have the dead eyes. Monica is just going through the motions, she's like a doll. This is, again, her doing what she needs to do to get custody of her daughter.
Was it tough to be up on that stage, and to hear the catcalls from the audience?
We filmed it last, because I wanted to save the heaviest stuff for the end of shooting. It was exhilarating, really, at the beginning, but then it got tricky. The insults from the audience came about five or six times, since we had to get different angles. After I got offstage and went back to the dressing room, those catcalls ('Do you have Depends on under there?') started affecting me. I was upset. If you go online, you don't read that age rage. But even still, it's one thing to read it, and quite another thing to hear it. That was really raw for me.
While I was watching the movie, I thought those comments must not be easy to hear.
It was only afterwards when I was replaying it in my head. That marginalization is happening daily.
To you? Is it reflective of Hollywood's opinion of older women?
It's not just Hollywood. It's the North American world view. I think that's why, for the last six years, it's been really important for me to get out of town. Nobody here wants to hire me unless I'm playing Samantha Jones [from 'Sex and the City']. I love playing Samantha, don't get me wrong, but I don't want to play a tailor-made copy of her every time I'm in a movie. I did it already. This is a youth-worshipping society, and it's really tough to be thought of as anything more than what you are.
I find that somewhat shocking -- surely people remember you for more than just Samantha.
I don't know. What the industry was giving me was pretty crappy. When I get offered roles in the West End [of London] to act with terrific people in theater, what do you think I'm going to go for? Financially I'm so lucky -- I don't have to sign on to projects that won't make me happy. I have choice.
Sarah Jessica Parker has said that there might be another 'Sex and the City' movie. I guess that's not happening.
Not that I know of. I don't know what that's about.
Catch Kim in 'Meet Monica Velour,' which opens on May 13 in Toronto and May 20 in Vancouver. Check your local listings to see if it's playing in a theater near you.
Follow me on Twitter @ChrisJ_AOL.