Kim Cattrall talks about her latest movie
How did you get the Irish accent so right?
Before I came to shoot in Ireland I had gone to a dialect coach in the States and it did not go well. I had more of an idea of an Irish accent than an Irish accent itself. So John took me by the hand and said they had a dialect coach called Paul on the set and he was wonderful. Then I relaxed a little bit and found more of my voice as Jane. The Irish accent is so difficult to get so specifically right because if you go five kilometres down the road the accent changes at the bend. At the read through very Irish actor at the table had a slightly different accent. So John told me not to worry too much. But when I went to Ireland I had worked too hard and so I eased off a bit. For each take if there was a sound that wasn’t just right, Paul would remind me. So actually I am quite proud. When I got to Ireland I heard of different actors who had done terrible Irish accents and I hoped that I wouldn’t end on that list.
How was filming in Dublin?
It was lovely. I had an apartment. I always try to get an apartment as opposed to staying in a hotel. I like to cook and I like to have a little space. If I want a cup of tea in the middle of the night I don’t have to wait for someone to come to my room with it. I also like the privacy. I navigate better if I have a home base. I spend the weekends with John and Isabella at their place in Wicklow. He took me to some of the locations where he shot Excalibur and it was really magical. I understood why he lives there.
Did you try Guinness?
I did. It was at the wrap party and Brendan gave it to me. I didn’t like the taste, it was too medicinal.
But he tasted it and said it wasn’t a good one. But that was it for the night, I think I had Scotch after that. So I didn’t acquire a taste for Guinness. But I am going back to Ireland in July and August so I might try again. I’m doing a film for ITV called My Boy Jack. It is the story of Rudyard Kipling’s son. I play Carrie Kipling who was from Vermont. I hadn’t known that.
What about the film of Sex And The City?
I don’t really know. None of us are committed. Apparently there is a script which has not been finished and no money has been discussed. So we will see.
Do you hope that the film will be made as a neat ending?
It was a television series. If it had started as a movie and then was a television series and then became a movie again then I would feel that way. I was very sad when I found out that the TV series was ending and then I came to terms with all of that and moved on.
Then it was possibly going to be a film and they came up with a script idea but apparently nobody was happy with it. But they were going ahead because they just wanted to make money. The thing that was wonderful about the show was the ensemble. I felt the only reason to revisit it after finishing it so beautifully would be a fabulous script and a big lump of cash for the actors. Working seven years for a cable TV series is not like doing Friends for NBC. So I didn’t really understand why it wasn’t a moment for a lot of money for all of us as a thank you. We had all worked our asses off…literally. I thought if I was going to do this movie it had got to be a retirement situation.
When they were so mean I thought that I had to bow out from a script idea that no-one was particularly mad about. Peter Hall had offered me a play in the West End and John’s film was brewing so I thought I’d move on. I thought they would go ahead and do the film without me. And then for it to be said that I was the cause that it wasn’t being made was truly horrific.
That was my not my intention. My intention was to get more for all of us. So this time round when there started to be little calls of inquiry I thought that maybe his time we can do it right. But it has kind of stalled. Hopefully they will be smart enough to realise that The Devil Wears Prada would not have happened without Sex And The City. And there are three new TV shows that are just Sex And The City with different titles. So we will see about the movie. To revisit it with a great script and lots of money would be the best.
Have you been surprised by the roles you have been offered at this time in your life?
Yes but the time has come to play the mum in A Boy Called Jack. I’m looking forward to that because it is different. Working with John in The Tiger’s Tail was a great experience, he is so committed and passionate and intelligent and sensitive. When you see a John Boorman film you know that no-one else could have made that film.
Could a woman be confused by twins as your character is in The Tiger’s Tail?
Women are perceptive but there is something called denial. I see Jane as quite isolated and lonely…which was not the way it was supposed to be. This man has transformed himself to please her but he has completely alienated himself as well. You can see the relationship is not in a very healthy state. There is a desperation to feel something.
You look great. What is your regime?
I have to diet I really do, because I love to eat. And my boyfriend is a chef so it has got even more difficult since I met him. I exercise as much as I can. I do a lot of aerobics. My dad and mum were very athletic and I have an athletic build so I need to exercise. If I don’t exercise I don’t feel so good. I feel sluggish. My metabolism needs to be kick-started.
I try and do 30 minutes exercise a day. If I can’t get to a gym I walk. I find it a release. It has become so much a part of my life and when I don’t do it I feel different…mentally and physically. There is no secret recipe…I have some genetics on my side. But time is taking over.
Would you have plastic surgery?
I don’t think so. I’d be too frightened. There are so many examples of things that have gone horribly wrong. I live in New York in an area where it is all around me. I had a great time in my youth and I still feel very youthful but I have no desire to look as though I was in my 20s. I want to look healthy but I want to look close to my age.
You have been called a sex goddess which is a great compliment?
I guess so.
And you were voted one of the sexiest TV stars of all time?
Really! By whom! That’s something. I am going to be 51 this year so I feel very happy about that.
So did you have a big birthday party?
My 49th was a huge surprise party. I thought it would be a quiet little thing but when I got home all these people leaped out of the garden…which was great!
I was so shocked and happy. People had got on planes and re-arranged schedules. I was really touched by that. So when my 50th birthday came it was anti-climactic. We had friends over at my tiny beach house on Long Island There were about 10 people and they made a tea for me and it was really lovely.
You seem so happy that I wonder whether you are planning marriage?
Someone else asked me that! But no.
But you and the man in your life are clearly very happy?
I love him, he’s terrific. We have a really wonderful relationship. And he cooks…he doesn’t clean up, but he cooks. But no I am not getting married and I don’t think I will get married again. Never say never people say but right now I think that when that piece of paper gets involved that sometimes it goes south. So I am just having a lovely, lovely time.
What the favourite dish that you cook?
Vietnamese mussels…it is a very simple recipe. Spring onions and ginger and a little bit of olive oil and garlic.heat the pan, add that and a cup of white wine and a little red pepper for some zing…keep it at a low temperature and let the mussels open. Then you cut a French loaf in half, take a little olive oil and some very finely minced garlic, mix that and put it on the bread with Parmesan cheese. Add a bit of coriander and you are good to go. It is the most fantastic lunch.
Was it true that your Nissan TV commercial was too sexy for New Zealand and pulled?
Yes that’s true. The commercial was tame, harmless innuendo. I thought Aussies and Kiwis had a bawdy sense of humour, based on their English past. I was shocked. The commercial was really well written, not grotesque or inappropriate. I thought it was funny.
You seem very busy. Are you a workaholic?
No I am absolutely not. I am no workaholic. It is easier to become a workaholic if you don’t have a life and I do have a life. After doing the TV series the past three years have been catching up on a lot of things. It feels good to say ‘no’ to things. Frances McDormand once said that the power an actor has is to be able to say yes or no. I was pleased to come to the realisation that I don’t have to do everything that crossed my path. Fortunately I am financially comfortable and I am not desperate to work. If I am going to get on a plane and leave my home and my boyfriend and my family for any period of time it has to be for something that I really want to do…not something I have to do. That has come late to me and I am enjoying that. So I can say…I am just going to make mussels today.
You've always been very close to your mum, haven't you?
One of my great memories was when I was asked to perform at the Kennedy Centre when they were honouring Carol Burnett and I took my mum. Someone asked how she felt about her daughter playing this outrageous character. She replied…Are you crazy it’s not my daughter, she’s an actress! Do you think I’m crazy that I can’t tell the difference? Can’t you tell the difference!....And I thought – that’s my mum! She really gets it. I think she has enjoyed watching the whole progression from it becoming from a dream to a wish to hard work and bleeding for me through the pain and rejection. Now at this point in my life I can enjoy it and she can too.