Kim Cattrall Isn’t Samantha Jones!
SATC2 actress Kim Cattrall is receiving “buzz” for her new role as a faded porn star in the film Meet Monica Velour, and is trying to discuss the craft of acting, but apparently everyone just wants to know how many buckets of chicken she mawed down in order to get “fat”.
Bless, Cattrall for trying to side step the interrogation land mines in order to actually discuss the role, which sounds like a nice break for her.
Cattrall on questions about her weight gain:
He was very adamant about me gaining a lot of weight. He wanted me to gain like 35 pounds! Really, just for health reasons I couldn’t do that. I also didn’t have enough time to do it safely with a doctor’s care. But what I did was I put on fifteen pounds, and that was comfortable. I could do that. I just didn’t exercise at all.
Now what I like about this quote is how she debunks the myth that weight gain – for her and probably others – is not merely a matter of “chicken buckets in/no cals out” and if you’re going to fuck around with your body set point you might want to talk to a doctor (of course they aren’t always good about Health at Every Size, or HAES, but that’s not what I’m talking about here). And yeah, I don’t feel her comments scan as fatphobic, given she’s discussing her own body and not say, telling all of us gaining 35 quickly to play a washed up exotic dancer might be bad for our health. I could be wrong though.
Of course, the director could have simply hired another actor already the desired size, but let’s not even go there. But I guess then you wouldn’t have much use for those “KIM GOES FAT AND SLEAZY” press kits.
Enough about that. I was really interested in what kind of craft concerns she explored in the genesis of this character and I really liked what she said about this:
I actually spent some time with the specific person who Keith had in mind when he wrote the film, and also with this amazing stripper in New York named Julie Atlas Muse, who did a lot of burlesque and things. And I really used my imagination as well. I watched a lot of documentaries about porn in the seventies and how it came to be, which was quite fascinating and incredibly upsetting, really. I remember in one documentary this particularly disgusting individual was putting ads in small-town newspapers asking for models of a particular weight and size, and all of these very overweight women showed up with this dream of wanting to be a model and he would basically set up a camera and fondle them. So, you know, it was an unseemly world that I knew I was entering
I totally wanted to hear more about the exploitation side of things, particularly because it seems this is the framework from which the film seeks to address pornographic. I’m not interested in discussing the merits of this particular framing device, but I am fascinated by folks who utilized it, specifically men because I’m curious as to what experiences inform their examinations.
Kim on committing to the role:
But I felt the movie was very truthful, especially the strip scene: She’s not in her body. When I first saw the film I was in a bit of a shock because I didn’t see myself. I couldn’t find my spirit. Mine. Kim’s. I felt it was so totally someone else, and a lot of it was really scary to look at.
Cattrall has long struggled to get folks to understand she’s an actress – a damn good one – and not Samantha Jones or that Mannequin in Mannequin or any number of other memorable characters she’s inhabited on screen. Hopefully, this role will allow her many more opportunities to play “against type”.
Also, when an actor physically transforms themselves for a role is it too much to ask folks NOT to call it “going ugly” or overemphasis how much work such an attractive actor has to do in order to look as unattractive as us unfamous peasant folk.
It probably is!