Best known as sexy cougar Samantha Jones on the Sex and the City television show, actress Kim Cattrall switches gears to political player in director Roman Polanski’s thriller, The Ghost Writer.
The movie sees 53-year-old Cattrall playing the chief of staff, Amelia Bly, to an embattled former British Prime Minister, Adam Lang.
Lang (Pierce Brosnan) hires a man to write his memoir, and the two hole up in a beach house with Lang’s wife and Bly where all of them become entangled in a web of mystery surrounding the death of Lang’s previous ghost writer.
Cattrall spoke to Reuters from London, where she is now on stage in a production of Noel Coward’s Private Lives.
How does a key actor in a pop culture phenomenon like Sex and the City come to do a Roman Polanski art-house film?
Roman saw me in Sex and the City and wanted to meet me. I was in London doing (interviews) for a television movie at the time. I took the train to Paris and had lunch with him. After the meeting, he offered me the part.
Roman Polanski watches Sex and the City?
He saw the movie, actually. But he has two fabulous women in his life (wife Emmanuelle Seigner and teenage daughter Morgane) who love the show. They have the DVDs at home.
Weren’t you at all nervous meeting him?
I can’t say I wasn’t! But I liked him immediately and we got along really well. My first husband was a Polish Jew from Krakow and he laughed like Roman and sounded like Roman. So there was a familiarity there. Roman has a quirky sense of humour, which I get and enjoy.
When he told of the role of Amelia Bly, why take it?
It was quite intriguing because it was ambiguous. I didn’t really know what she was about, and it wasn’t all spelled out. I asked a lot of questions, and the way he described her, her strength and inner reserve, was really fascinating and interesting.
He has been under house arrest in Switzerland since December. Have you spoken to him recently?
I sent him an email when I couldn’t go to the Berlin film festival. He won best director so I sent him a congratulations note. He sent me back a lovely email.
Were you shocked when you heard of his arrest last September in connection to the old child sex charge?
I saw him two weeks before he went to Switzerland and got arrested. I was in Paris with him and he had much of the movie locked by then. When (the arrest) went down I was filming Sex and the City. I thought it would be a shame if his movie didn’t get finished. We all put so much into it.
What do you hope for his future?
I hope he gets to go back home to Paris. What I saw in Roman was a real family man. He loves his children and his wife so much. It must be painful to be that far away from everything that has been in his life for the last 30-odd years.
This summer, you’re back on the blockbuster circuit with a sequel to 2004’s feature, Sex and the City.
There are some things that are so unexpected in this movie and the things you expect – you get it in spades. We were shooting in Marrakech for almost two months. I have a good feeling about this one.
There are some 1980s flashbacks in the film. In real-life, you rose to fame during that time in films like Porky’s, Police Academy and Mannequin among others. Was it fun to relive that time in the movie?
What an ugly time in fashion! (laughs) You see yourself in so much make-up and think, Jesus Christ, I look younger now! But the ’80s were also a fun time for me because I was in my 20s and 30s. I hear they’re doing a remake of Mannequin.
Has anyone approached you to be a part of it?
Not that I know, but I would love to be in the remake. It would be fun because I have a lot of fondness for the movie. It was so sweet. Maybe I’d be the Estelle Getty role.
Who do you see playing your former part, Emmy?
Oh God, I have no idea! I love Carey Mulligan. She’s gorgeous. But I don’t think she needs to do that!