Kim Cattrall Interview On HBO’s Sensitive Skin And Being Back In Canada

Kevin Spacey is Honored By The Museum of Moving ImageKim Cattrall is perhaps best known for her role as Samantha Jones in Sex And The City, and while she plays another woman in scandalous situations in the new HBO Canada dramedy Sensitive Skin, the two couldn’t be anymore different.  Based on the UK series of the same name, Cattrall plays Davina – a woman in her 50s who is going through all those things a woman in her 50s goes through. She and her husband Al, played by Don McKellar, have moved to a modern downtown Toronto condo to reconnect with the world and feel young again. Real Style spoke to Cattrall about her latest role, the pressure to stay young and bringing a Canadian feel to Sensitive Skin.

Real Style: How does your Davina differ from the original British version?

Kim Cattrall: I’m a North American woman, I’m not a British woman so our story, the way it needed to be adapted I felt to be successful and to have a really clear clear point of view was to make her North American, which I am. We wanted to get inside of her head. I realized my dream as an actress, this character Davina never did she had a different route. It was very interesting for me to think about the possibilities of what that would have been like for me, of not realizing my dream, to put that on hold to put my energy into raising a son and being with a partner. It was a very interesting journey finding that to get inside her head not just for me the actress but for the audience to get inside Davina’s head. It’s never really been told as a half hour comedy.

Real Style: Why is this an important story to tell?

Kim Cattrall: Well I feel that it’s part of life, I feel there’s a strong audience for it. Hollywood is making movies for teenage boys and there’s nothing wrong with that … but there’s nobody making programming for me and my generation the baby boomers. But it’s not just for middle aged people. It’s really about providing a point of view about being human, but this one happens to be a point of view of certain woman of a certain age. I think a woman at any point in her life can look in the mirror and say “what’s going on?” And it’s not just about the way you look, but what’s going on inside your head, it’s a reflection of your life. Very rarely on television do they allow a woman any space for contemplation or reflection.

Real Style: Although you’re still a sex symbol and still getting roles, do you feel that pressure to look young?

Kim Cattrall: Oh god yes are you kidding me. The scrutiny that women go through as they get older, especially being in the public eye. I can’t eat an ice cream cone walking down the streets of New York City where there’s not paparazzi and people writing blogs saying the most extraordinary thing about this photo is that we didn’t know actresses ate ice cream at any age. And you think really, really? The scrutiny is suffocating. Age in this time of living on the planet is considered a disease, it’s something  … you want to get rid of it it’s so abhorrent. We’re so brainwashed especially in the west in North America we only want to see beautiful people making love, we don’t want to see a little bit of a stomach. I think what is that about? It’s not real, even in the best of times it doesn’t look that good. So it’s an impossible situation where you have these archetypes, magazines covers and they don’t even look like that, so it’s futile really.

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Real Style: Some may say that you’re just playing a variation of Samantha Jones, so how is Davina different?

Kim Cattrall: I think that any woman I’m going to play will have spunk. She’s going to have a tail bone, I don’t want to play anyone that doesn’t. This woman, she’s on HRT or hormone replacement therapy, she’s getting her medication and this woman is giving her attitude. I think what I’m playing in that situation is Davina in a moment when she’s allowed to fight back … then you start to see the reality of what her life is and that she’s not so tough, or she’s tough in her own way. She has a spine but she’s not like Samantha Jones because she’s not in the driver’s seat; she’s in the backseat trying to figure out what the controls are.

Real Style: Why was using comedy so important for the story in Sensitive Skin?

Kim Cattrall: To use comedy to show inside a character’s head, to give these delusions a voice, that was really a great gift, it allows people in in a different way, it makes it more relatable. That was one of the things people said about the original series, that it was very sad and that there was a down tone to it. We’ve taken the comedy elements that were there and we’ve mined them in a different way. We’ve opened them up. Brits are different than North American; they deal with pain and suffering as a means of deflecting it but we want to examine it, sometimes we want to soak in it. It feels like we’ve struck the right tone between a British and a North American show, found a Canadian medium.

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Real Style: Sensitive Skin was shot in Toronto in 2013 and before that you were here in 2011, so how has the city changed since then?

Kim Cattrall: The great thing about working with people like Don Mckellar and Bob Martin is that they live in Toronto and they’ve grown up in Toronto. Don is not going to just put the checklist of Toronto architectural or natural wonders on his shooting list or locations, he’s trying to really present a city that has neighborhoods, and has life, and reality in it. Most filmmakers when they shoot in Canada unless it’s a Canadian project it’s nowhereville USA. I’m really happy that we are showing the city off, it’s a beautiful city. The city is a metaphor for Davina, it’s going through a midlife crisis it’s got all these condos happening it doesn’t know what it is. So it’s confusing but it’s confusing for our main character but also for the city she lives in.

Real Style: Will there be a second season?

Kim Cattrall: I hope so, the original series was two seasons – the complete amount of episodes was 12. We’ve done six. We’ve adapted the first six and we definitely want to make the next six and hopefully the next six after that. I don’t want to just make episodes to make episodes, if we continue to have something to say, and that’s really what it’s about, then we’ll make more.

Photos: Startraks, Corus Entertainment

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