By Maureen Lee Lenker
September 21, 2020 at 11:00 AM EDT
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Credit: Skip Bolen/FOX

On the surface, Filthy Rich's televangelist matriarch Margaret Monreaux and Sex and the City's sexually voracious PR pro Samantha Jones don't have much in common.

But Kim Cattrall, the actress behind both Margaret and Samantha, found an unexpected link between the two characters. While Cattrall has firmly closed the door on Sex and the City, she took inspiration from the show's legendary costume designer, Patricia Field. They say the clothes make the woman after, all.

After Filthy Rich (premiering Monday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Fox) was picked up for a full series, Cattrall found herself hunting for new ways into the character to help refine who Margaret is. She's a mother and a master manipulator, a woman trying to hold her family and her business together after her husband's sudden death reveals the existence of three illegitimate children he's included in his will.

"I called a dear friend of mine, Pat Field, and she said to me something that was really helpful, which was, 'You're not making a documentary,'" Cattrall tells EW. "Because I kept looking at these specific evangelical women. And she said, 'This [show] is heightened, and this character can bear it.'"

Cattrall compares Field's insight to the theatrical metaphor of a friend giving advice after seeing a show while still in previews. "That's what friends do: They come and see your show in previews and say,' You've got to amp it up,' or, 'You've got to quiet it down,'" she notes. "They're there for you, and she was there for me. She, being outside of it, saw an element that we, inside of it, could really embrace."

From this advice came Margaret's penchant for sequin gowns and flashy ensembles, hallmarks of someone who makes their money in show business. "She's a businesswoman, but she's in show business, and people are going to be talking about how wonderful she is, but also about what she wore and how she looked," Cattrall says. "She's all about what it looks like that, that kind of woman, that generation. [It's] about armoring up, that is protective."

All this was amplified by the production design, as well as Margaret's wardrobe. Part of the character's inner sanctum is her hair and makeup room, which is bursting with costumes. "That was really a delicious part of adding to the luxuriousness of the show and also fulfilling that aspect of what some people would call a soapy drama," Cattrall says. "What I love about this show is those facades that you see, especially with Margaret. You see her turn on a dime, and it shows such intelligence. She reads her audience immediately. She is a very seasoned performer, and she knows which masks to use for any situation."

A woman after Samantha Jones' heart.

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