Chances are, you probably haven’t seen Kim Cattrall’s turn on a stripper pole in Meet Monica Velour. The small independent film about a 17-year-old boy’s unlikely friendship with a past-her-prime porn star never made it to many theaters, despite some strong reviews and a presence at Tribeca. “We seem to live in an era where people don’t go to movies, movies come to people,” says Cattrall, who hopes that the film finds an audience on DVD. But the Sex and the City star has no regrets about exposing her decidedly un-glamorous side in the film. Cattrall spoke to EW about her desire to continue playing real, tough American women, but she really couldn’t wait to talk about her sexy role in a series of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! ads. See her thoughts and an exclusive clip from her too-hot-for-TV Butter spot below.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What appealed to you about playing Monica Velour?
KIM CATTRALL: First of all, it’s a character you don’t see very often because there’s nothing empowering and uplifting about her. She’s a narcissist and she’s in a real bind, and you see her in this very difficult time in her life where she needs to turn a page. Then she meets a young man who also needs to turn a page, and then they actually help each other do it. It reminded me very much of Harold and Maude, of two different people in two different points in this crazy world that they inhabit. For me, there were many dimensions to this character. Rarely do you see that in a film script. I’m not a personality actress. I never have been. I have been a character actress. You see it on my CV for theater, less in film because that’s just the way film is — it’s pigeonholing. I was pigeonholed very early on, and then that expanded with Sex and the City and then that was another pigeonhole. Now that is changing and evolving, and I’m very happy about that because to have longevity in this business is a real challenge. My curiosity and my appetite for evolving as an actor is one of the main components of me still working today in the business.
Monica Velour is far from Samantha Jones, but a lot of her character’s history is defined by her sexuality. Do you want to get away from sexual roles?
I’m really interested in exploring sexuality. Especially for women. Because I think that we have been mum for so long. There’s so many more stories to tell. The least important thing to me was the fact that she’s an ex-pornstar in the sense of where her given circumstances are at the beginning, middle, and end of the film. I thought of this as a story about a mother fighting for the custody of her daughter. That made her empathetic, and understandable for everything that she does. She’s not always likeable, and I didn’t want to play a hooker with a heart of gold. I’m bored with that. I wanted to play a person in these circumstances, and be as truthful as I possibly could. Not just with the look of it, the exterior of it, but with the guts of it. It’s scary to do, and when we did the strip, and I’m 20 pounds overweight and my ass is hanging out. I’m scared. Kim is scared, and so is Monica. In some ways, this set me free because I look like hell in it. I wanted people to see this character — not me, the character — and that’s the way she looks and that’s the way she is. Putting on the weight was glorious; taking off the weight was hellacious. That was part of the journey of it, too. To become something other than just you.
With movies like Bridesmaids and Sex and the City, do you think there are more options for playing female characters who aren’t in their 20’s?
I think it’s slow. I look at Sex and the City and Mamma Mia! and these movies with women in their 40s and 50s and 60s, and they were big box office hits. I think that’s really encouraging, but I just encourage women to take on projects that really speak of what it is to live in America right now as a woman. That’s interesting to me. The 3-D and the fantasty and the rom com, I think we’ve had enough of it. I think we need substance, and that’s why films like Meet Veronica Velour are important. Because they’re telling stories about American women. The rest of the world will see this film and see it as quintessentially American and hold onto it. It really reflects where are country is now. We don’t make enough things that we value. We used to, we don’t anymore. It speaks not just of women and being objectified. It speaks of sort of what’s going on in the country.
I know you’re asked this all the time, but do you think we’ll see Samantha in a Sex and the City 3?
I have to say, I really don’t think so. Maybe in a prequel. But I don’t know. I think that everybody who could make this happen in the sense of the script and directing has gone on to other things, and I really wish them all the best. I had a fantastic time. To play this character and be a part of this series that is so beloved is such a gift and I so appreciate it.
And now a look at Cattrall back in fighting form as the Samantha Jones-like lover of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter: