Sensitive Skin, in which Kim Cattrall plays a former model and actress in the midst of a midlife crisis, starts on Sky Arts tonight. Sarah Millican caught up with the Sex and the City star for a good old chops.
I met Kim Cattrall when she came to my show at the Glasgow Comedy Festival one year. Yes, I was as surprised as you. And stupidly excited. A woman who had made me laugh for more than a decade was now coming to have the favour returned.
Happy to report she enjoyed the show and we chatted afterwards like a couple of women. We’ve met up several times since then and she is a delight. Smart, funny and perfect, I thought, for Standard Issue.
Ahead of the start of her new series, Sensitive Skin, here is part one of my interview with her.
Sarah Millican: So, before we properly start, how are you? Are you well?
Kim Cattrall: I’m very well. Sensitive Skin is on Sky Arts.
KC: I’m excited about it. And we’ve been picked up for another series. The great thing is it’s only six episodes so I can do other things. We have to be really concentrated and disciplined within the six to get everything in. It makes each episode so much more enjoyable for me to do – and hopefully for people to watch, because so much happens. I’m working with three women writers this time and its chocka full of all kinds of twists and turns.
SM: That’s why I tour every two years rather than every year to make sure it’s always as good as it can be. I think creatively you need a bit of down time.
KC: I agree. Oh and I have big news.
SM: Oh really?
KC: I’m not pregnant.
SM: I have big news: I’m not pregnant either.
KC: You’re not? Oh good. A friend of mine sent me something from the British press that said that someone was observing that I have a little bump.
KC: Apparently in the article it said that I looked like I was pregnant. And they heard from the waitress who was serving me there that I wasn’t drinking any alcohol so I MUST be pregnant.
SM: That’s awesome. So you just have to like eating and not like drinking and you’re automatically pregnant. I must have been pregnant for years.
KC: *laughs* I thought that’s really fantastic considering my dating record. And also my age!
SM: Well, congratulations! A friend of mine and I use to do a daft thing: neither of us has ever wanted kids so whenever we got our period we would congratulate each other. Yay, still empty! I think it’s fascinating when a newspaper just sees a woman who isn’t painfully thin and says, oh well she must be pregnant. There must be a whole other person in there.
“A lot of men say, ‘I can get a lot of good points with my girlfriend or I can get laid, if I have my picture taken with you.’”
SM: Are you staying in a hotel or a flat while you’re in London?
KC: I’m staying at a friend’s house.
SM: Do you prefer that to staying in hotels when you’re on the road?
KC: For me, if I’m just going for a short period of time and I have a busy schedule then hotels are easier.
SM: Because you don’t have to talk to anybody?
KC: Exactly. It feels very anonymous. Sort of like speed dating. A casual connection.
SM: So what you’re saying is, hotels are like casual sex rather than a relationship.
KC: And what happens in hotel rooms stays in hotel rooms. But when you’re staying with friends, everyone gets to see everything. They’re like family to me and they’re very sweet. Even when I’m doing a play, I prefer to rent a flat because I love to cook. I like to get up in the morning and have my tea by myself. I don’t want to drink it out of plastic or cardboard. I like to have teacups.
SM: I don’t often have breakfast in hotels as I feel quite vulnerable.
KC: Yes. I spend so much time alone and the thing about being on a show like Sex and the City is that you’re never really alone.
KC: It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting alone or with a lot of people, someone will come up. Usually it’s lovely, sometimes not, but everyone has got a camera. I don’t want to disappoint anybody – I want them to come away feeling good. I really love people. But when I’m in my private life, I’ve come to the decision where I say to people, “I’m having the day off. I hope you understand.” Because everyone understands a day off. So I’m not going to do pictures with you right now, when I’m on a date. Or I’m having coffee with a friend.
SM: Or being pregnant in a restaurant.
KC: *laughs* A lot of men say, “I can get a lot of good points with my girlfriend or I can get laid, if I have my picture taken with you.”
SM: Urgh. That’s awful. Just be a nicer man and you could get brownie points all on your own.
KC: I know!
SM: How do you meet men? How do you avoid them just thinking you’re Samantha?
KC: Well, I haven’t had a date in a long time. Sometimes I feel that I live in this tower, you know. I think men think that the Samantha thing is so terrifying. I think sometimes they think it’s a glass tower and they’d just slide off. Then there’s the bulldozer type who just want to run into you and knock down the tower. So it’s really hard to let down your hair and trust somebody. So it’s usually through friends.
SM: That’s probably the best way. Somebody who knows you’re a person.
KC: Yes, exactly. But even then… I saw Mikhail Baryshnikov on Wednesday night. He was on Sex and the City and we have mutual friends and he’s so lovely and married and with kids and all of that. I’m sitting next to him at dinner and he’s probably the most famous dancer of the 20th, 21st century. And I’m still sitting there thinking, “I’m talking to Mikhail Baryshnikov” and even though I know him, and I’ve worked with him and feel a peer in certain ways, I wondered, “What must it be like?”
It’s hard to be objective about how you are perceived because you are so inside of what you do. And people have a scenario, whether it’s from films I did when I was younger, films like Mannequin or Big Trouble in Little China, or from Sex and the City. And I’m just me and I see it very clearly and concretely that it was a job and a fantastic job, fab time, loved it but now I get on with my life and they’re still stuck with these images that will never really leave their consciousness. And I get it – because when I’m with Baryshnikov, I feel that too.
SM: It’s almost like you need someone who’s in the same business or someone who’s never heard of you.
KC: I think it’s the only way. I can’t do online dating. So it’s mostly through friends. Sadly, I’ve met everybody.
SM: Yes, because your friends aren’t making any new friends. You stop making new friends at a certain age don’t you?
KC: You do, but an interesting thing I’ve done for myself in a very unconscious way is that I’ve been spending a lot of time in England. And I’ve met a whole different set of friends, in my work and personally. And also, when we shot Sensitive Skin, we were in Toronto so I met a lot of people there and made more friends there. I find a lot of men my age, they’re divorced and have kids or they’re interested in much younger women. Or they’re really hurt because of a marriage. It’s an interesting age because it’s mirroring what you’re going through when you’re a teenager. The hormones are going through a shift; there isn’t the possibility of getting pregnant.
SM: Regardless of the lack of booze.
KC: No matter how much alcohol you’re drinking. And there’s also a feeling of, “Oh my God”, you’re looking at your mortality. That’s why Sensitive Skin was such an important story for me to tell because it was a woman in this kind of crisis of not really knowing who you are any more. Trying to change who you are because time is running out. You’re thinking about time in a different way. Your parents are starting to get ill. My dad died a couple of years ago which was a huge event. Not just in the fact of him passing but how that related to me now feeling for the first time that I have to let go of being the child.
SM: I think when you don’t have kids, it’s a much harder shift. When people have kids, they’re the adult almost overnight whereas you and I, with not having children, you can still feel like a kid for a long time and I think you’re right that what we do is showing off for a living. The sort of thing most people grow out of when they’re about 10.
KC: Yes. Exactly.
Episode one of Sensitive Skin is on Sky Arts tonight at 10pm.
Part 2 of Sarah’s chinwag with Kim is in Standard Issue next week, and includes some interesting tips…5276 Views
Sarah Millican is a comedian, writer, reformed workaholic, feminist, cat and dog mam, wife and lover of food.