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Getting Over Samantha

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One thing she doesn’t know is whether there’s a third SatC film on the horizon. (“If it happens, it happens. If it happens, it’s a lot of fun,” she says.) It’s been suggested that the franchise’s moment has passed, its shameless luxury-lifestyle ethosfar less on point today than it was when it went on the air back during the late-Clinton prosperity of 1998. “It was okay to be a consumer then and buy $400 shoes,” Cattrall says. “Suddenly it is not so hip anymore. Certainly I understand that. But we were talking about a set of women that Candace Bushnell was talking about. I mean, Kim Kardashian is getting married and then divorced, making $17 million out of it—I mean, come on, this exists.”

If the film were to happen, Cattrall would be approaching 60. She looks great (at one moment in Private Lives, she perches on a balcony railing, giving the audience a view of her rear, and it’s a nice view) and pleasingly un-Botoxed (her forehead scrunches when she emotes). But that’s a fraught age for any actress, especially one whose best-known role was defined by sexual appetites, and who won the devotion of so many fans and the compliments of all those copycats because of said appetites. (Cattrall kept working that angle in the early aughts, too, co-writing a book called Satisfaction: The Art of the Female Orgasm in 2002 with her husband, the audio guru Mark Levinson. They split up after the book came out.)

Ask her, though, and she seems blithe about how all of this will play out. “At 41 I really felt that I couldn’t do [the part of Samantha]. Now 40 is the new 35 or something—not even 35, younger,” she says. “When I turned 50, I sort of thought, Oh, shit, here it is, but I didn’t feel any different. It is like so anti-climactic. I get tired sometimes. But I did before, too.”

After we wrap things up at the Algonquin—Cattrall has just flown into New York, a day before the show goes into rehearsal, and she needs to go buy groceries—the maître d’, a young woman, runs up to me. “Why didn’t you tell me you were interviewing Kim Cattrall?” she asks, dazzled. “I never get flustered by celebrities. But I didn’t know it would be Samantha.”

Private Lives
By Noël Coward.
Music Box Theatre.
In previews for a November 17 opening.

Photos: 20th Century Fox/PhotoFest (Porky’s, Mannequin); Paramount Picture/PhotoFest (Star Trek VI); PhotoFest (Sex and the City); New Line Cinema/PhotoFest (Sex and the City 2)


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