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Sex and the City 2 – Kim Cattrall on taking her character too far

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Sex and the City 2 - Kim Cattrall
Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall) © New Line

British-born actress Kim Cattrall recently was seen on stage at London’s Vaudeville Theatre in Noel Cowards’ Private Lives. But no matter what part she plays, she will always be identified with her role as the over-sexed Samantha Jones in Sex and the City.

In their new movie, Sex and the City 2, Jones initiates an all expenses paid trip to Abu Dhabi with her best friends Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Charlotte (Kristin Davis) and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) where, of course, she manages to get into trouble.

Cattrall spoke about the film and her friendship with ‘the girls’ at the press junket in New York.

In the movie, most of the scenes were the four of you together for a change.

Sex and the City 2 - Kim Cattrall
Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall) © New Line

It was fantastic. It was like going back in time when the series was four single girls as opposed to one single girl and three married girls with babies. So I really enjoyed it, I loved the fact that they were not on home turf, which is a little unsettling and also exciting because everything was new and different.

When you shoot in New York City you have millions of fans all over you. I would imagine shooting in Morocco nobody was bothering you.

Oh they did, there were paparazzi and there were a lot of people in Marrakech who knew the show quite well and enjoyed it. They keep calling me Samantha, so I knew something was up. But that was the thing that was shocking about it, because you think a Muslim country would not embrace a show like Sex and the City. But that’s why I think that we eventually came to Morocco, because I think it was much more liberal and much more open than other Arab nations.

They love Samantha, they love the show, they got the show, they understood what we were doing. Most of our extras had never been extras before, and they were fascinated but completely bored by it after awhile. But it was a totally different experience.

The four of you know each other so well are you finishing each other sentences now?

Sex and the City 2 - Cynthia Nixon, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall and Kristin Davis
Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon), Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall) and Charlotte York (Kristin Davis) © New Line

In some ways we are, definitely. And sometimes we do, on and off camera. We’ve grown up together, it’s been 14 years in our lives. I’m 10 years older than the other girls, so when we met they were in their early thirties and I was in my early forties, but that seems like a lifetime ago.

So much good has happened I think from the show. I think that it’s encouraged women to come together again in this era that we find ourselves in and I think that it helped redefine what being a woman is.

We still live in a man’s world, but we navigate it to our advantage, we don’t have to suit up and pretend that we’re men. We can be funny and sexy and real and smart and ambitious and brilliant in our own way, and compete with men as a woman.

I feel that Sex and the City has really given four women that make up one complete woman, and that’s why it’s so easy to relate to what’s going on for any given character.

Is there an art to riding a camel?

There seems to be and I haven’t conquered it. The camel Sarah and I were on seemed to want to go up and down a lot. They don’t call it ‘the ship of the desert’ for nothing, and we were in the turbulence.

We were just going up and down all the time, sometimes in the middle of the scene, and of course there was the bathroom break and the occasional spitting and the smell, and then the heat. But we did it and now I can say I crossed the Sahara on a camel.

When you get the scripts are you ever shocked where you think it is taken Samantha too far, or are you happy with that?

Sex and the City 2 - Kim Cattrall
Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall) © New Line

I felt that when we were doing the series, Michael (Patrick King) was asking things of my character that I had no idea how to do it, because it had never been done before.

I think the closest role model that I had would probably be Madeline Kahn in Young Frankenstein, but that was kind of it for this kind of comedy. Since Sex and the City there have been a lot of teen comedies, but those are male oriented, not female oriented. So this was all new territory and very exciting, but there was also a feeling of had we gone too far? Is spunky funk too far?

Is taking cancer and making it funny going too far? All of these questions, but I think we navigated it pretty well.

I think what came out of it was humanity instead of preaching or movie-of-the-week sadness. What you saw was characters dealing with it in a much more realistic way, but also pumping the humor that could be made from something like that, especially with this character.