Cattrall, though, sees this transition as an evolution rather than a sellout. And there’s something perversely charming, even shrewd, about her response to iconic fame. Prior to Sex and the City, Cattrall (and, for that matter, Sarah Jessica Parker) was a working actress but hardly a superstar. She was best known for roles as a lusty gym teacher (in Porky’s), a trophy wife (in The Bonfire of the Vanities), and a mannequin (in Mannequin). Now she is, and likely forever will be, Samantha Jones.
Having lunch with Kim Cattrall at Soho House feels like going to Ellis Island with the Statue of Liberty.
Most actors might bristle in that position—try to demonstrate their range or write a book called I Am Not Spock. But for every actor who reinvents himself, dozens (Scott Baio, George Wendt, everyone on Seinfeld) orbit that character forever, never reaching escape velocity.
Cattrall, however, sees no need to escape Samantha. “I only see a need for that if what I have done doesn’t feel right or useful. But I don’t feel that way about Samantha,” she says. If she’s to be cast as an icon, then she’ll shine her beacon as the Statue of Sexual Liberty. (Give me your randy, your frustrated, your nonorgasmic . . . ) And if, as a side benefit, this allows Samantha Jones to live on, then all the better. In fact, Samantha now seems to exist in Cattrall’s life like a popular friend who’s passed away but whom she can still channel from time to time. At the screening, she said of her winks and saucy double entendres in the film, “I’m not playing Samantha, but there’s a little bit of Samantha in there.” Later, to me, she clarifies. “Everyone wanted to push us in the direction of just me being Samantha. You know, doing my thing.” Then she corrects herself. “Or her thing.” Then she continues. “But I want to make it our thing.”