The TV and movie series Sex and the City was a fantastic portrayal of female friendship. That’s what won it so many fans. But were the actresses involved – Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon and Kim Cattrall – actually friends themselves? Rumors have circulated about that for a long time. And it turns out, unfortunately, that they may have been correct. Recently Kim Cattrall, who played Samantha, gave an interview which left fans of the franchise reeling.
Before being cast in Sex and the City, Kim Cattrall was already a fairly well-known actress. After graduating from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1974, she began appearing regularly on the small screen. Her roll call of shows included Quincy, M.E., Columbo, Starsky & Hutch and The Incredible Hulk.
The progression to movies soon followed. Prior to Sex and the City, Cattrall took on the high-profile role of Lieutenant Valeris in the film Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. During filming, she arranged a nude photoshoot in secret on the set – posing only in her prosthetic Vulcan ears. A very Samantha thing to do…
Cattrall received the script for Sex and the City in 1997, but she very nearly never chose to play Samantha at all. She actually turned down the role not once, not twice, but three times before finally deciding to go for it. “I think that was about me turning 40, and feeling, ‘I don’t know if I can do this,’” she told the Telegraph in 2012. “In 1998, people’s idea of a woman being sexy and powerful in her forties was, well, that she was past it.”
But, of course, Cattrall was far from “past it”. And when she finally accepted the role of Samantha, she fast became a modern-day sex symbol. Not only that, but she picked up multiple awards for her acting: five Emmy Award nominations; four Golden Globe nominations and one win; and along with her co-stars, two ensemble Screen Actors Guild Awards.
However, there were frequent rumors that though Cattrall shared awards with her fellow Sex and the City actresses, she didn’t actually get along with them. After the final series ended in 2004 and the first movie went into production, gossip spread that Cattrall was delaying work on it. It was reported that in the light of Sarah Jessica Parker’s promotion and pay rise, Cattrall wanted more money, too. Unsubstantiated rumors claimed that the rest of the cast had started to avoid her.
Other members of the cast claimed that they all got along fine, but the evidence of a feud was starting to stack up. During the September 2004 Emmy Awards, Cattrall sat conspicuously apart from her co-stars and didn’t join them partying after their Emmy wins. And a few months later, on The Jonathan Ross Show, she dropped the ambiguous statement: “I felt after six years it was time for all of us to participate in the financial windfall of Sex and the City.”
Yet the movie did go ahead in the end, and during promotion for it Sarah Jessica Parker frequently asserted that she was still on good terms with her co-star. “Honestly, we are all friends and I wish I saw more of Kim. She mentioned money and no one should vilify her for it,” she told the Telegraph in May 2008. “People made a decision that we had vilified her.”
For a while, it did genuinely seem like the discord had perhaps been blown out of proportion. “People don’t want to believe that we get on. They have too much invested in the idea of two strong, successful women fighting with each other,” Cattrall told the Daily Mail in January 2010, before the second SATC movie came out. “I think Sarah is fantastic… She and I are sick of this.”
SJP had similar things to say in a Marie Claire interview in May 2010. “When you’re on set, you’re working 90-hour weeks, you’re never home, you’re exhausted. There are times when all of us have been sensitive, and sometimes feelings get hurt,” she said. “But I don’t have any regrets about how I’ve treated people.”
It could have ended there, but it didn’t. Fans started wondering about when a third Sex and the City movie would hit. It would absolutely have an audience, but yet… it wasn’t forthcoming. “Everyone is doing their own thing and if it was going to happen, it would have happened by now,” Cattrall told The Daily Record in the summer of 2016.
Over a year later, the Daily Mail claimed that plans for the third film were canceled because Cattrall demanded that Warner Bros produce other movies for her too, something they were unwilling to do. Cattrall denied this on Twitter. “The only ‘DEMAND’ I ever made was that I didn’t want to do a 3rd film,” she wrote in September 2017.
But the floodgates well and truly opened the next month. Kim Cattrall went on the show Life Stories with Piers Morgan, and it turned out she had plenty to say. She was absolutely not doing another Sex and the City, and she was adamant that she had never made unreasonable demands. “I never asked for any money, I never asked for any projects.”
“To be thought of as some kind of diva is absolutely ridiculous,” she said. But she saved her most damning words for her former co-star. “This is really where I take to task the people from Sex and the City and specifically Sarah Jessica Parker in that I think she could have been nicer,” she announced. “I really think she could have been nicer.”
She didn’t mince words when explaining to Morgan how shabbily she believed she had been treated. “Another thing that’s really disappointing is that nobody ever picks up the phone and tries to contact you and say, ‘how you doing?’ That would have been the way to handle it,” she said. “That’s not what happened here, this is, it feels like a toxic relationship.”
Though Cattrall did assert that she had “genuine affection” for her castmates, she also apparently doesn’t really stay in touch with them. “They all have children and I am ten years older, and since specifically the series ended I have been spending most of my time outside of New York so I don’t see them,” she said. “The common ground that we had was the series and the series is over.”
Ouch. Cattrall did share some ideas, though, about what could happen if Sarah Jessica Parker and co wanted to make a movie without her. “I want them to make the movie, if that’s what they want to do. [Samantha is] a great part. I played it past the finish line and then some and I loved it and another actress should play it,” she said.
“Maybe they could make it an African-American Samantha Jones, or a Hispanic Samantha Jones,” Cattrall said, to rapturous applause from the audience. “Or bring in another character. It can be another character. This is what I really believe that this franchise needs another point of view and this could be it,” she went on.
In the days following the interview, the star’s twitter made it perfectly clear how she felt. On October 9, she retweeted a New York Post article about the affair which had the tagline: “On screen, they were best friends. Off screen, they were torn apart by jealousy, rivalry and money.” In the comments some SATC fans supported Kim and her decision.
Sarah Jessica Parker hasn’t commented on the interview yet, and perhaps she never will. Whether a third Sex and the City movie will ever actually go ahead also remains to be seen. Should they recast Samantha, kill her off-screen, or pretend she never existed? Nobody knows. But there’s one thing everyone agrees on: it’s a real shame it all had to end this way.