Kim Cattrall interview

by Victoria Young on Thursday, 4 April 2013

Alexandra Del Lago is a wonderful role, beautifully realised. Tennessee Williams was so adept at portraying characters who are both fallible and vulnerable. Women were a huge influence in his life, his mother and sister in particular.

Strong women influenced my life too, and shaped and changed me. My mother and my two aunts were a huge influence. Most of my teachers and mentors have been women – it's what I was exposed to. My father travelled a lot when I was young and my mother was always there – so that was where I got my values from.

But I was very close to my father. At the age of ten I wanted to do plays, and my father was very encouraging. When I applied to different acting schools he was right there and very supportive.

My father, who died last year, had dementia. You don't ever get over that. You celebrate your memories of them. You never let it go.

I'm a huge fan of Liverpool Football Club, which was his team. When I was there in 2010, I went to see a game and it was really exciting. My dad was still alive so I bought every piece of memorabilia and brought it back to his care home.

I identify myself as a Liverpool-born, Canadian-bred New Yorker. The reason I keep on coming back to the UK to perform is partly because they ask me! It's a great compliment to be asked to play a great role. But I have to admit, it's a bonus if it's in London.

I like to step outside of what people's idea of me might be. I suppose that makes me a bit of a rule breaker. I like to take chances. Such as coming to the West End in 2005 when I was thought of as a TV actress, then going on to work in some terrific theatres with great directors.

When I hit my forties I thought, "I can't play a sexy siren any more." Almost 20 years later, it's still going on. I think that's because I take care of myself, which includes dieting, exercising and minimising stress. I joke that I've been on a diet since 1974, which is basically true. I like to eat, and my body type is not naturally this thin, especially at this age.

I don't know if men are intimidated by me - you'll have to ask men!
If my accomplishments frighten someone, it's nothing to do with me – that's to do with them. But the men who are in my life see me as a person – as a woman – not as a character I've played.

I'm not really looking for a man. But the qualities I value are intelligence, humour and compatibility – someone who has a temperament that works with mine. I'm not volatile. My professional life has a lot of ups and downs, but in my personal life, I'm pretty easy-going.

My last big celebration was in January. I was home in New York for Christmas and I threw a cocktail party. Everyone was asking if it was my birthday but I said, "I haven't been home in a while, and that is the occasion." I just wanted to celebrate, and it was lovely. I loved looking at the photos of everybody afterwards.

Kim Cattrall is playing Alexandra Del Lago in Tennessee Williams's play, Sweet Bird Of Youth, opening on 1 June at The Old Vic in London. Call 0844-8717628 or go to oldvictheatre.com.

This is an edited version of Kim's interview. To read the full article, pick up the May issue of woman&home, out now.
 

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