Kim Cattrall Breaks Free From Her Most Famous Role

Sex and the City‘s Samantha Jones might be what most people think of when they think of the word "cougar." The character was an accomplished and aggressive New York woman who made public her liberal and healthy view of casual sex. And there was her status as the oldest in her quartet of single friends. Of the four main characters on the show, Samantha is the most associated with the actress who played her, which is why Kim Cattrall has made an effort to play different types of women.

It hasn’t always been easy to shed Samantha’s sex appeal and transition into other roles. "I was in a show in London… I was dressed in a hospital gown, and I had on whiteface makeup, and when I first come on I’m in a bed, on a trolley, paralyzed," she tells New York. "And when I come downstage, someone whistled. Like a catcall."

But since Sex and the City ended in 2004, Cattrall has picked roles very different from Samantha (well, with the exception of playing Samantha two more times in the feature-length SATC films). She’s done Shakespeare and Polanski, and now Cattrall is trying her hand at Noël Coward. Starting this week, she’ll be starring in Private Lives on Broadway as Amanda, a woman who discovers that she’s honeymooning in the same hotel as her ex-husband (who, naturally, is also celebrating his new marriage). It’s another comedy, but an understated and tame one compared to her typical lighthearted fare. The show and its star have already received positive reviews during its out-of-town production in Toronto. 

"It was scary, really scary. Because to step outside of what you’re known for is frightening," she says of the attempt to avoid playing her familiar "brassy" characters. "People say, ‘I just want you to do that.’ But I would like to do this, too." Let’s hope this means less attempts to extend the SATC franchise and more evidence of Cattrall’s broad range on screen. 

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