And just like that, Kim Cattrall opens up about the power to say “no” — and why a “dk pic” storyline was the last straw when it came to passing on the third Sex and the City movie.
The 65-year-old became a household name playing publicist Samantha Jones on the HBO hit series Sex and the City alongside Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis. But after six seasons in the career-defining role, fans of the actress were shocked to learn she would not be in the recent HBO Max series And Just Like That reboot. And according to Cattrall, just like her fans, she found out about her absence from AJLT.
“I was never asked to be a part of the reboot,” Cattrall said in an exclusive interview with Variety. “I made my feelings clear after the possible third film, so like everyone else, I found out about it — on social media.”
But even if she had been asked back—or would be in the future—the result would have been the same: “Everything inside me was like, ‘I’m done,'” she recalled at the end of the second film. “That’s a no. It’s powerful to say no. There is great wisdom in knowing when enough is enough,” said Cattrall. “I also didn’t want to compromise on what the show means to me. The way forward seemed clear.”
However, the actress has no regrets about not returning to the show. “I’ve come to the conclusion that the truly greatest compliment I can get as an actor is to be missed,” she continued, adding that she has yet to watch the reboot.
Running from 1998 to 2004, SATC followed the story of four best friends as they brave the hustle and bustle of Manhattan — and all that comes with it. Dating, relationships, work, drama, and of course, sex made the show resonate with many 20- and 30-year-olds who dreamed of living the same glamorous lives.
While the on-screen friendships seemed so real, Cattrall admitted her expert acting was eye-rolling. When asked if she’s ever been friends with her SATC co-stars, she said it comes down to “how you define friends.”
“I think we were colleagues,” she said. “My colleagues are not my friends. It was professional.”
The reboot, Cattrall said, is “basically SATC’s third film” that was never made. She felt Samantha’s character wasn’t progressing as she reportedly received unwanted inappropriate photos of Miranda’s 14-year-old son Brady in the third film.
“Why not Samantha, the owner of your PR company – maybe she had to sell it because of financial problems? 2008 was tough. Some people are still recovering. She had to sell it to a guy wearing a hoodie and that’s the dilemma she has,” she said, criticizing the original storyline. “I mean, that’s a scenario that one of my sales reps kind of got out of their head, and I thought that’s a great idea.”
While it was “heartbreaking,” she said, it was also what she “wished for.” She wanted to play other roles and other characters, not just be Samantha Jones forever.
“And as difficult as it was and as scary as it is to get up and not be bullied by the press or the fans or whoever – to just say I’m fine. I’m on this route. It was so great working with you. I enjoyed it so much, but I’m over here,” she said.
But the show goes on without Cattrall being physically on the set. In the reboot, Carrie Bradshaw exchanges texts with Samantha, who is said to have moved to London.
“It’s strange, isn’t it? I don’t know how to feel about it. It’s so finite for me, so I can’t go on. I think I would think about it more if it didn’t have something like ‘Queer as Folk’ or ‘How I Met Your Father,'” she said. “That’s why I center myself. It feels like an echo of the past.”
While fans were desperate to see Samantha on screen in the reboot — and were subsequently disappointed when she wasn’t — Cattrall insists she did what was best for her and refused to be on a set where she was didn’t want to be.
“I didn’t leave anyone. Can you imagine going back to the job you did 25 years ago? And the work didn’t get any easier; It got more complicated in the sense how will you progress with these characters? She said. “Everything has to grow or it dies. I felt like when the series ended I thought that was wise. We don’t repeat ourselves.”
But SATC almost didn’t cast Cattrall at all, who turned down the role for the original series three times.
“At 42 I really didn’t think I could pull this off. I finally said, ‘You’re making a mistake here,'” she confessed. Still, she has appeared as the cult group’s sexually liberated older friend for all six seasons and two films in the franchise.
Now, at 65, Cattrall is working on other shows like How I Met Your Father and Queer Folk — but not in the way you might remember them. While she was once comfortable on screen as Samantha fully nude — especially with sushi barely covering her body — she said she just “don’t want any more.”
“I’m in top form. But I just don’t care. I feel like I’ve fulfilled my quota with that,” she said.
But as And Just Like That gears up for future seasons, no one can really fill the Samantha-sized hole that’s missing from the current trio. SATC creator Darren Star said he didn’t expect it to be as funny as it was on screen and now the show will never be the same.
“She wasn’t interested in a TV series,” Star said. “Now the show is unimaginable without her.”