“Putting on weight was the easiest part,” says Kim Cattrall.
MEET MONICA VELOUR written and directed by Keith Bearden, with Kim Cattrall, Dustin Ingram and Brian Den nehy. 98 minutes. An Anchor Bay release. Opens Friday (May 13). See listing
You may not recognize Kim Cattrall in Meet Monica Velour. As the sad but hard-ass ex-porn star and single mother, she's got significant midriff bulge, a really bad haircut and talks tough like white trash.
There's no better way to put her iconic role as Sex And The City's Samantha behind her. But when I ask if playing Monica was about getting beyond Samantha, Cattrall is clear.
"Not at all," she says flatly, from New York City. "Sex And The City is over. It lives in television land for eternity, and for me it was an amazing ride. It gave me a platform to do amazing things, and I learned a lot. But it's over."
Now she's doing what she has to do: work. Since the last SATC movie, her performance in Noel Coward's Private Lives in a West End production (which comes to Toronto this September) has gotten rave reviews. She stayed on that stage roll with an acclaimed turn as Cleopatra in Caesar And Cleopatra.
"When people see me doing other work, doing anything hard, they say, ‘My god.' They don't want you to step out of what they know, because that's their reference point for you. But I believe part of my job is to grow, because in nature, if you don't grow you die."
Cattrall is soft-spoken most of the time, but when I tell her I was personally insulted that her bio didn't include her stint in a 70s Toronto production of The Rocky Horror Picture show, she lets out a loud cackle.
She uses that same laugh for Meet Monica Velour, but does a huge physical transformation to make the character believable. Adding the poundage was the most fun.
"Putting on the weight was the easiest part. I got to eat whatever I wanted, and I loved it. I can't ever do that, because my body type is such that if I start I won't stop. The weight came on so fast, you wouldn't believe. Then I got the Polanski film [The Ghost Writer] and it was like, ‘Oy, now I gotta lose it.'"
She agreed to do Meet Monica Velour because she was impressed with writer/director Keith Bearden, who knew as much movie trivia as she did. And the script turned her on the moment she read it.
"It's funny, sweet and tragic. It's about a relationship, a woman in the winter of her life and a boy in the spring. It's not about women in the porn world or women in show business. It's about all women. When you're 50, you start getting retirement letters in the mail. And I think, ‘Already? I'm at my peak. I don't want to stop now.'"
So maybe she wouldn't turn down another SATC film.
"Financially, it would be tough to reject, because no one else is paying me that kind of money. We're all in our 40s and 50s, and we're leading ladies - yee-hah!" she shouts with that wild laugh.
"I've waited all my life to play the roles I'm playing now, but believe me, they wouldn't have hired me if I hadn't done Sex And The City."